Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Final June Sewing

Sorry - no make up.
A hat. Yes, a hat. It looks quite silly on me but works for my daily walks. And I like that it's washable.

This is the Sorrento Bucket Hat. I admired it on fadanista for quite a while and finally purchased it.

It's a PDF download and almost free. I printed it right away. Then I let it sit around in my sewing room for a month or so. Yesterday, I finally traced the pattern pieces and made one.

There are 3 sizes contained in the pattern. I chose the middle size and love the fit.

It was so satisfying to make. Everything fits perfectly together like a quality puzzle. I did a lot more stay-stitching than the instructions indicated. There are two critical seams where the pieces need to be clipped and spread. I'm much more secure with lots of stay-stitching for any seam that requires slash and spread.

The fabric is kind of funny I think. I bought it from Louise Cutting at a Sewing Expo. I'm not sure what possessed me. It is travel themed with writing and pictures of old-fashioned satchels (grips, as my great uncle used to call them). The writing said *Go away.* Seriously.

Cut up and assembled as a hat, I like the fabric just fine. The pattern recommends sturdy fabric like denim. This is a cotton canvas and just right for a hat, I think.

The hat can be reversible but I put a label inside mine and used the same fabric for both the main fabric and the lining.

And now I see so many possibilities.

More June Sewing: the Nikko Jacket

If you're a Sewing Workshop groupie like I am, you may recognize this vintage pattern. It is called the Nikko jacket.

About 8 years ago, I made a muslin for it and decided not to make it. I guess that's one of the few times I've made a muslin and really used it to make a decision.

But I kept the pattern and found myself returning to it from time to time.

A while back, BSF found and purchased for me black cashmere from Gail K. I kept it for a while. It's gorgeous but I could not decide on the best pattern for it. And I have to be in a very patient mood to sew with such a deep dark black. It's like a black hole. Everything disappears into it.

I'm glad I decided on the Nikko jacket. Even though the temperatures have been topping up in the 90's (and it's humid), I know I'm going to love wearing this come winter.

The fabric was wonderful for this pattern, though, of course, I did not have enough. As usual, that was a good thing. I created a separate lapel and made that with black silk dupioni. I also used the silk for the back neck piece and all facings.

This fabric is so yummy and does not fray at all. I used this feature to make some of the seams overlapping and I did not hem the sleeves, instead just cutting the hem off carefully.

I could have left the body hem raw edged too, but I love the mitered corners on the side slits.

I have not yet added the patch pocket, but I may.

I had to fiddle a bit to get the welt pocket to be acceptable. Initially I tried it with the silk dupioni but it was too wimpy. The welt collapsed in an unattractive way. So I pains-takingly unstitched it and made it in the cashmere.

It is unlike any welt pocket I've ever made. In order to properly control it, I sewed much of it by hand. I'm rather fond of those little pick stitches that show.

I inserted the pocket backwards. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

June Sewing: the Archer Popover

Here it is the last day of June and I realize that I have not blogged in over a month. I'm not sure why. I've definitely had some enjoyable time sewing on various projects.

Inspired by Grainline's Archer Sewalong, I decided to make another Archer, this one as a *popover.* I did not actually follow along with her but I did enjoy sewing it.

The *popover* version is a purchased add-on that changed the front from a classic buttoned shirt front to a placket that only extends about 3/4 of the way down the front. So it slips over my head.

I found it to be completely satisfactory to make with one issue. Without the buttons all the way down the front, I found that my belly needed more space. Embarrassed to admit it, but I had already cut it out when I realized this might be an issue. Darned belly.

I finished it as planned and decided to work on the need for extra girth later. After all, I could not uncut it.

It was such fun to make 3 (!) plackets - one on each sleeve and the third down the front. I do enjoy making plackets when I'm able to pay attention and relax. I was so pleased that each was completed without any trouble at all.

I mostly ignored Grainline's instructions for plackets, but did use the pattern pieces included in the popover add-on. I find the placket instructions Louise Cutting wrote for her Blouse Perfected to be irresistible. If I am careful, they are fail-proof.

As I learned from previous makes of the Archer, I needed to shorten the sleeves about 2 inches. This still surprises me as my arms are proportionally long. But I do notice that the owner of Grainline wears her shirts with the cuffs extending well past her wrist bone where I prefer a cuff. She looks casual and I look sloppy with that look.

I also omitted the collar as I prefer a collar band, especially if there's a chance of wearing this during the warm summer months.

The fabric is a beautiful painterly light weight linen I purchased from Elfriede's in Colorado some years ago. A friend visited Elfriede's and brought her purchases to show at our neighborhood group meeting. Well, I just had to have that linen, and was delighted to realize I could order it online. I really like it made up as a classic shirt.

I finished and tried it on. My eyes went directly to the pulling at the belly. I thought, well, that's OK and hung it up in the closet. The longer it stayed in the closet, the more I knew I'd have to fix that. The fix was pretty easy in the end.

I unstitched both side seams, and inserted a long triangular bias panel of matching fabric. I really don't think it's visible and I know I'll enjoy wearing it now.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Reading and Watching Too

For watching, I've just started Mrs. America on Hulu recommended by my DIL. Cate Blanchett is brilliant as Phyllis Schlafly. I loved it from the first scene. I'm also a big crime drama fan, watching Baptiste on Masterpiece. In that genre, I highly recommend Rectify and Reckoning on Netflix, both starring the very intense Canadian/Australian actor Aden Young. 

For reading, I've almost finished One for the Black Bird, One for the Crow, a period piece about two strong women on the Wisconsin frontier in the 19th century. It's based loosely on the author's grandparents. I'm enjoying it but I think it's too long. Or maybe my attention span is too short. 

I like the back better than the front.
For a group my husband and I are in, we're reading Evicted, an eye-opening account by a Princeton sociologist. Also for my activist bent, I'm reading American Prison, the history of our penitentiary system. Every other chapter describes the author's experience as a prison guard in Louisiana. 

I may need to read something light now.

I have a baby quilt in process. So far, I've constructed it with fabric on hand. But this is the point when I realize that I don't like making quilts. The color scheme chosen by these new parents is gray, blue, white and a little gold. My design went awry and it does not read baby at all. I have an idea to fix that and I will finish it though.

Have you two been watching Linda Lee each Tuesday on FB live? I've been enjoying it. She's such a good salesperson and I'm such a good customer. 

Hope you are inspired to create during this time of #stayhome.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Tessuti's Simple and FREE Apron

This make was pure pleasure. It has all the components for satisfying sewing:

  • 100% linen, the good kind
  • simple lines and shapes
  • loads of top-stitching

Yes, I made an apron. And, as it happens, I need one. I find myself cooking way more than usual within this corona confinement. I think it's lovely enough to wear whether I'm cooking or not.

Last summer, we spent a week in a resort in the French Alps. The trip was designed by our son and his family, and we were invited to tag along. Most activities were of the outdoor kind. But we ladies did find some sweet spots for shopping.

One nearby village had two shops of note. There was a little shop where the entrepreneur makes handbags out of bicycle tires and other unusual materials. She had her workshop set up as part of the shop. I was charmed.

The second shop contained various small items, housewares and hand towels and the like. I noticed some lovely linen aprons for about 70 Euro each. There was something about the linen in such a simple item that was attractive to me. My reaction was of course, wouldn't that be fun to make? What sweet memories.
As we are all more-or-less confined due to the novel corona virus, Tessuti has issued a free downloadable apron pattern that is exactly this basic design. I think of it as the French apron. Merci, beaucoup!

view from the back with no hips
It is considered one size. But, of course, it fits me a little differently than it does their models. You can see the difference in the wrap.

view from the back with hips
The linen is from a shop in the fabric district of Paris, a shop with tables containing beautiful linen cut into 3 meter pieces. If only I had brought an empty suitcase...

The instructions are pretty straight-forward, if maybe a little verbose. The pattern calls for fabric that is 60" wide in order to cut on the fold. I decided to create a center front seam so as to use my 55" width fabric more efficiently. I am inexplicably happy with that center front vertical flat-felled seam. I like the effect of the intersecting top-stitching, on the front pocket and elsewhere.

On the other hand, I got tripped up with one phrase. Late in the instructions, there is a reference to matching a *finished* edge to a *neatened edge.* In order to attach the straps to the front edge, you are to align the *neatened edge* of the garment armhole with the finished edge of the strap. Hmm. I figured out what needed to be done way before I figured out what a *neatened edge* was.

Most of the edges are finished with a shirt-tail method I learned from Pam Howard. This is the perfect technique for a cooperative linen like this one. The idea is to stitch 1/4" from the raw edge, and then use that line to fold the edge under twice, creating a neat narrow hem. Some recommend pressing it in place first, but I find that just creates a crease I don't want. Instead, I finger-press it as I go, edge-stitching the final hem. It is very zen.

So, back to the *neatened edge.* This is the edge created by folding over that line stitched 1/4" from the edge, and then folding again. I think.

In the above picture, I'm trying to determine how to attach the strap to the front bib. You can see that the strap edges are finished and the armhole is not. This picture shows the wrong way to sew it. Below you can see the correct way to place the straps on the bib.


I guess that *neatened* means folded twice but not stitched. Anyway, I figured it out. Below you can see how the bib facing looks right after stitching it to the garment top edge, sandwiching the straps inside. The top edge is stitched at 1/4". The armhole edge is stitched at 1/2". And the bottom edge of the facing is turned under prior to stitching.

This is really a simple sew. I promise. I do not know why I obsessed over the neatened edge. I do really like the result.

It was so very satisfying to make. You know how wonderful a really good linen can be to sew.