Scuba cape jacket

Sometime last year, I saw a scuba cape jacket in COS which I fell in love with. But the price 1400 sek (~$200USD) and its impracticality (cropped sleeves), I couldn’t justify buying that jacket though I still think about it sometimes!

COS cape jacket

After seeing this pattern in a sewing book by a Swedish designer Jenny Hellström called “Sy! Från hoodie till skjortklänning” (Sew! From hoodie to shirt dress), I just had to try sewing my own cape jacket!

Fleur jacket

The line drawing of the jacket looked simple enough for an advanced beginner sewer (or naively ambitious complete beginner like myself!)
Fleur jacket line drawing

And it would have been easy, if I had chosen stable fabrics, but I didn’t make it easy for myself by using a hellish, slippery, form-shifting rayon lining.

All my problems challenges were a result of my inexperience in choosing fabric and not having a great selection of fabrics where I live (bought fabrics online and during a weekend trip to Stockholm). I found it pretty challenging picking appropriate fabrics, lining, interfacing (and interlining as I had chosen to do) to get the result I had in mind, though I guess that is the whole thing about learning! Closet case files Clare coat sewalong was really helpful for me.

What I had in mind was a navy scuba with hot pink lining using (non-polyester) fabric… I purchased what was labelled as Medium/heavyweight Telio scuba knit navy from fabric.com. The fabric color was much more near-black than I was expecting unfortunately 😦  This made the jacket look a bit too vampirish as my boyfriend joked but luckily the ribbed sleeves saved the jacket from feeling too Dracula.

The scuba fabric was also more drapey than I had expected, so I debated between interlining and interfacing the fabric for more body. After sewing the jacket with an interlining, I would recommend interfacing it instead.

For the lining, I had planned to use Kona Cotton Broadcloth in Valentine from fabric.com, but when it arrived, I realized it wasn’t really suitable (not slippery enough and too stiff), and didn’t really look good paired with the near-black navy either. I ended up using it as interlining for the collar and front, but I’m not that happy with the result, and wished I had interfaced instead. For the lining I used a lilac rayon lining.

Review of the book and pattern:
The entire book falls short of providing an easy way for beginners to construct the pieces in the book, which is a bit disappointing given that the book is aimed at beginners/advanced beginners. And there were some issues with the pattern and instructions, such as that the collar was to be sewn with 2 identical pieces (my collar doesn’t quite roll under) – so next time I would grade the under-collar to be slightly smaller. I didn’t agree with their method for finishing the hem and cuffs for example. I do love how the back of the jacket “kicks” out. I’m a bit unsure whether the sides of the waist were supposed to be cut higher as in my resulting jacket, or if it was supposed to be a level hem, which I think would look better (hard to say if it is the pattern or my less than perfect sewing skills).

There are a few other cute pieces in the book though, and it was still worth slogging through the difficulties with this pattern.

Front Fleur jacket

Back Fleur jacket

Construction/design/fitting changes:
Added side seam pockets, using lining material, though I wish I had used the outer fabric instead. I would recommend welt pockets though, since the location of the pockets is rather far back.

Lengthened the body by 2″ (the jacket is a bit too cropped in its proportion, and I’m short waisted to begin with). I had to shorten the sleeves by 1cm in order to finish the cuffs on my lining which mysteriously ended up too short, though luckily I received 12cm of ribbing due to the salesgirl’s generous cutting. I used twill tape around the armholes and neck to stabilize the scuba fabric.

I skipped the topstitching as shown in the line drawing, but maybe others could give their opinion as to whether or not I should top-stitch?

Details Fleur jacket

I had planned to start sewing this project in September, but saw that Pattern Review was hosting an Outerwear contest in October, so I delayed my start to the project! This project basically took me the whole month to sew, and unfortunately it’s a bit too cold to wear it now. But I think this jacket will fill a hole in my wardrobe as I don’t have a suitable jacket for late summer / early fall transitional type weather. If you’re a member of Pattern Review, I would appreciate a vote for my jacket 🙂 Voting opens Nov 1st.

Outerwear Contest 2016

I sewed pants! Simplicity 1887

After sewing (90% of) a button up shirt with so many STEPS, and nightwear, I wanted to sew something simple, that I could wear out of the house. A pair of loose elastic waist trousers should be easy right? And in a nice drapey viscose twill? Hahahaaha!! Yes, I am a naive, newbie sewist!

Inspired by these pants (love the pockets!)
pants
and these
pants
and strugglesewsastraightseam’s Simplicity 1887 pants I decided I wanted a pair of loose pants – maybe even a crop top?! (Even though I’m most self conscious about my stomach – but I still like the idea of sewing it one spring day.) I wanted proper instructions (in English and not Swedish) and flip flopped between ordering Simplicity pattern 1887 from the US (a $15 shipping fee, since the UK store was out of stock) and Named Peg pants.

Simplicity 1887 peg trousers

 

I read reviews that the Named patterns didn’t have very good instructions and that they were sized for taller people, but the Simplicity pants would need narrowing in the leg. The deciding factor was the flat front waistband on the Simplicity patterns, which I figured would be more flattering, and less like joggers. Plus I liked other people’s shorts sewn with this pattern.

This was the pants project that just wouldn’t end. The pattern itself is fairly easy with mostly good instructions (except how they did the waistband – I invented my own method of finishing it), but cutting and sewing viscose I was swearing fairly often, especially with the number of fitting adjustments I made. Our house is covered in rayon fray! And ripping black thread from black fabric is not fun…

Sizing
A lot of reviewers said they went down 1 or 2 sizes, but one reviewer didn’t size down and made her recommended size (12) and since my recommended size was also around size 12 (12 waist, 10-12 hip) I made 10 waist, and I think 12 hip (unfortunately didn’t mark down which size I cut!). I think I made a size 12 hip with the thought that I would take them in if necessary, which I didn’t need to do.

I took in the width of the legs from the hip down as many other reviewers did. I referenced the width of leg from a Burdastyle pattern I had borrowed from the library.

Fitting, design changes & construction notes
After struggling through sewing everything except the outer sides and hem (managed to sew the pocket upside, then two right legs by mistake) I saw how unflattering and horrible they were (no pics of that, sorry)! I had fit them as I went, but with the pants pinned higher than where they would sit with the elastic installed. The crotch was super baggy, halfway to my knees, the top of my underwear showed, and I looked like I was wearing a diaper. I couldn’t make the waistband smaller as I wouldn’t be able to get them over my hips!

But then I remembered strugglesewsastraightseam installed an invisible zip! With the pants sitting at my natural waist they looked much more flattering. Unpicked the waistband, I took a wedge out of the rear waistband (7 cm total taken out) and top of the back of the pants, as well as narrowed the inner back of each thigh to compensate for my skinny thighs as RTW pants are always too baggy under my butt (took a triangle from each leg 4 cm wide at the top, tapering 15 cm down the leg). After taking all that apart and resewing it, I realized I didn’t understand how Simplicity instructions wanted me to finish off the waist seam in a nice way – it just looked like a mess of unfinished seams that I was supposed to just leave like that?! – so I ripped the waistband completely off AGAIN and invented my own way of finishing by sewing the outer waistband to the top of the pants, and turning under the inner waistband, topstitching in the ditch. Why not?

Fabric
I ordered black twill viscose all the way from the US, from fabric.com. I do think the material has amazing drape – they’re a summer weight twill, almost look like wool or high end pants. I actually got complimented on my pants at work! (And got to brag that I made them myself!) I hung the pants before hemming and despite that, the pants seemed to have stretched a tiny bit with wear – the knees are a little bagged out but in the loose fit they aren’t so noticeable. And I needed to take in the waist again after wearing, so there’s a bit of excessive fabric gathering at the rear waist, so next time I’d take in even more.

Now, pics! I tried to lighten up the detail photos since black is pretty hard to photograph. The pants do look a bit unflattering at certain angles, especially the back, but I think the next time I sew them I could try to adjust this. I still love these pants somehow! From the side/angle view I love how slim they make me look 🙂

I learned a lot from sewing these pants. Fitting, interfacing, the importance of matching notches, installing a zip, sewing with viscose, thread tracing marks, baste fitting. I was nervous about the idea of a zip before, but when I needed to do it to get a better fit, it wasn’t a big deal anymore – it’s just a necessary step to get what I want. The zip is far from perfect (or invisible) since I don’t have an invisible zipper foot, and that doesn’t bother me too much, although I do kind of want to hunt one down now. Not so easy since I’m using a vintage Husqvarna machine.

But I loooove these pants! I made pants for crying out loud! The feeling of being able to make exactly what you envision is so empowering!

Garment #3 Flannel Nightgown – Sweet country girl meets 90’s grunge

So what happened with garment #2?.. It’s officially my first UFO (unfinished object). Right now it’s been sitting for a month waiting for buttons and buttonholes, but that post will come when I have pics. For my second garment I was a little ambitious, wanting to do a button up shirt, but my choice of quilting fabric was a bit unfortunate. Chalk that up to a (rather common?) fallacy of being drawn to novelty prints, though I also reasoned that a sturdy cotton would be a good choice as a novice. Now I wish I had sewn it in a plain cotton shirting, so it would be more wearable.

Anyhow, the idea I had for my nightgown was to do a plaid flannel slip dress style nightgown. Sweet country girl meets 90’s grunge! I wanted to do it in a red and black check (which I kind of still wish I had done), but the best fabric I could find in my local fabric store was a white and blue flannelette, and on impulse I wanted to sew it sooner rather than order fabric online. So now the nightgown is just “Sweet country girl”.

I also didn’t want to spend money on a pattern – I’m “only” going to be wearing it at home! Why spend money on that?? Although come to think of it, I wear it practically every day now that I’ve sewn it… Maybe it should be worth spending money on. I haven’t “Marie Kondo’d” my home wardrobe, so most of what I wear at home is old castoffs that are too worn to wear in public – is it any wonder I feel so dumpy a lot of the time? Hmm.

The pattern is from Burdastyle magazine (07-2013 #116) borrowed from my local library.

slip

My version

These photos were taken 1 month ago, when it still felt like the end of summer – right now it’s starting to feel like winter! I’m pretty uncomfortable with being photographed, and I feel even more self conscious standing out in our yard in my nightie, but I enjoy seeing other people’s sewing blogs, so in the spirit of keeping good karma going, I am uncomfortably putting myself out there on the int-er-net!

Fabric
Squeezed this out of 1m x 140cm checked flannelette, which after pre washing showed how NOT square the print was

Fitting notes
– Burdastyle really doesn’t have much ease to their patterns as I confirmed / found out. According to their sizing I should make a size 34/40/37 bust-waist-hips but then the waist of the garment would have been wider than the hips(!) I cut a 34 bust grading to 38 in hips, which I was glad I did since the garment is pretty tight in the hips… I think because of my fabric choice, there isn’t as much extra give with the bias.

– The cups are super small and widely spaced. I’m not busty in the least but I fall out when I sleep. I shortened the straps a lot since I took the photo for more upper coverage so now the under-bust seam sits ON my breast.

– Brought in straps at back to prevent slipping off shoulders

Construction notes
– The Burda directions were pretty useless for me as a beginner – some lines of brief text, and on top of that in Swedish, when I barely know English terms for sewing. I used instructions from SEW Sew Everything Workbook book.

Design changes
– Trimmed the cups in wide lace (which was fortunate since the cups are tiny!). I only wear this at home around my boyfriend because nip-slips galore. Now if someone knocks on our door I’d probably decline to sit down in the gown.

– I shortened the length by about 3″ (which despite pre washing the flannel is now too short) and added a split side seam.

– I also added a pocket for my iphone and a matching mask 🙂

mask

Make again?
I don’t know if I would recommend this pattern or make it again – maybe if I manage to hack the pattern to increase the cup size. I saw someone else on Pattern review made it as a slip for under clothing, and it might be better for that purpose.

I don’t think the flannel was well suited for this pattern (too stiff), and there is surprisingly little ease in the hips. After adding the split hem and shortening the length, the nightgown drapes a bit nicer on the body, as well as giving more ease when turning over in bed.

Despite these imperfections, I still love my nightgown 🙂

First garment!

My first garment is the famous Colette Sorbetto. I decided I would try a free pattern for my first go, to see if this sewing my own clothes thing was for me. I actually made this back in August, but after wearing it a few times (and making additional fit adjustments thereafter) I think I can actually evaluate it more objectively now.

When I first made it, I was absolutely thrilled – I made something that covers my body! Amazing! I wore it to work the next day and even wore it to a job interview the following week haha!! What I didn’t test with the fit was how it looked sitting down though, and with the stiff fabric, the neck would gape open… After I showed it to my boyfriend’s mom, she recommended taking up the shoulders and taking in the hips which were flaring out, which helped a lot with how it looks, though you can see there are still fit/fabric issues.

Looking at it now, I don’t like it as much as when I made it, but I’ve been wearing it pretty regularly.

I’m wearing it with (unhemmed) Simplicity pants which I just finished, and will blog about soon…

Sizing
According to the pattern, my size is 00 bust (smaller than their sizing) – 2 waist – 0 hips. As it was my first time sewing a garment, I cut a size 2 grading out to size 4 at the waist and hips, but ended up taking in the sides to about a size 0bust/2waist/0hips, and would start with the 0 directly next time. I think their sizing chart is true to size.

Fabric
I squeezed this out of 0.8 m of 140cm wide Python print “fashion fabric” cotton, though I think the fabric doesn’t work with this pattern.

Fit changes
– Kept bust dart location (many said it was too high but I didn’t find it so)
– Lowered the armholes
BUT
– Shortened the length of the shoulders (thus bringing up the bust dart and armholes)
– Cut straight down from the waist to the hips as it was flaring out

Design changes
Lengthened the hem to size 18, curving the hem

Construction changes
– Finished the armholes and neck with self bias, folding the bias tape under, top stitching armholes and blind stitching the neckline
– For the hem, sewed a line of stitching, using this as a guide to fold under the curved hem, top stitching.

Next time I would
– Use a fabric with more drape (silk?)
– Start with size 0, or size 2 with shorter shoulders / higher bust dart
– Cut straighter fit from waist to hips
– Lengthen, exaggerate curved hem
– Try a simpler version without the front placket