Friday, January 25, 2019

Bleak Mid-Winter Sewing

It is that time of year when I decide I need warmer outer wear. It's mid-winter when the trees are black silhouettes against a gun-metal gray sky.

Winter in the southeastern US lasts about 3 minutes but I do love making a jacket or coat. Full length coats no longer really fit my life style no matter how cold it is, but I love a 3/4 length coat or even an extra-warm jacket.

So I considered the jackets I love wearing. First up is this super practical Tremont jacket. It's an interesting textured wool weave with a striped effect. I machine-quilted it to a medium-weight silk-cotton sateen blend. It's light but an oh-so-practical piece. It never wrinkles (or it's always wrinkled); it goes with everything; it resists rain.

Next is a caramel-colored, single layer wool jacket that I love. It's Vogue 8546. The color just makes me happy. It too doesn't wrinkle and resists rain, but it does not go with everything. Also the wool makes contact with my skin depending on what I wear with it and that's not comfy.

Lastly is another Sewing Workshop jacket - the Haiku II - in subdued plaid mostly navy tropical wool. It reads solid navy blue and so I wear it with lots of other items, even a pin-striped tropical wool pair of pants.

Continuing my 2019 theme of stash-depletion, I have selected a fairly heavy wool tweed. It's a remnant that Ley of Gail K had some years back. It's only about 2 yards but 62 inches wide. There was plenty to cut out a San Diego jacket, espeically since I'm adding a contrast in the front to protect my neck from the scratchy wool and just because I think it'll be nice.

There was a piece of soft black leather in my stash too. I remember buying it and I still feel guilty. It has a tiny hole in it for guess what. I finally decided that the best way to respect it is to use it.

I did not have anything in stash for lining this piece. I found this pretty piece of silk at Gail K. It's about the weight of charmeuse but not nearly as slippery. I'm hoping it will be cooperative. I'm considering sandwiching some cotton flannel between the wool and the silk if it's not too heavy.

Meanwhile I finished my 3rd in a series of PJs made from stash items. As with the others, the top is the Eureka and the pants are modified Hudson pants, both Sewing Workshop patterns.

The pants and trim are made from a piece of cotton interlock knit. It's a little heavier than the rayon jersey knit, of course, and I'm not sure I'm going to like it as much for PJs.

The top is made from a piece of cotton knit purchased at the Martha Pullen booth at the Sewing Expo. It is super soft and just right for PJs. It may be a little fragile. I've made PJs from this before and it developed runners, like panty hose. So far this one has survived two nights!

So what's on your sewing table?

Friday, January 18, 2019

More PJs!

I'm beginning to feel quite fancy with multiple new PJ sets, especially as I consider my old nighttime garb. Just finished my second set and a third set is cut and ready to sew. For each I'm using the Eureka top and the Hudson pants from the Sewing Workshop.

This set fits differently than the previous set because the fabric is a rayon jersey. I think. This red and white polka dot is one of those what-was-I-thinking pieces in my stash. I made the pants slightly smaller because of the knit and overlayed the totally-stright side seams to cut front and back pieces as one.

This was inspired by a visit to the High Museum with BSF to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit. It was fantastic. Every time I noticed this crazy red and white piece, I could not imagine why I bought it. Well, now I know. I needed Kusama-inspired PJs. And you do too!

Per usual I did not have enough fabric to make it entirely out of the red and white polka dot. And per usual that's a good thing. I had to add the panel at the bottom front piece of the Eureka. And so I also used that printed rayon jersey for the neck band and the sleeve cuffs.

The additional print made this project more interesting. By cutting it on the bias, the pattern is little squares you can see on the neck line. I like that a lot. It's the little things, you know. Cut on grain for the lower panel and the sleeve cuffs, it's little diamond shapes.

I feel like I'm really getting into knits at the moment. And I don't usually like knits to sew or wear. But they are perfect for PJs. I learned some little tricks at Sew Kansas like stabilizing the hems with this fusible stuff before top-stitching. It makes all the difference. No ripples.

These PJs make me inordinately optimistic.

"After all, well, moon is a polka dot, sun is a polka dot, and then, the earth where we live is also a polka dot." Kusama

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

the Ivy Top

I've been digging through my stash lately. Maybe this will be the year I reduce my stash in a significant way. I do feel a bit guilty looking at those boxes in my closet thinking no one should have so much.

This piece has been languishing. I cannot remember when or where I bought it so it's certainly not precious. And as I looked at it, I became interested in how best to use it and its 30" repeat. It's a rayon jersey in navy blue with a sort-of urban landscape print. Parts of it are skyline and others read stripes or reflections of the skyline. And there is the solid navy part.

After perusing my rather large stash of Sewing Workshop patterns, I came across an older one - the Odette and Ivy tops. I settle on the Ivy top because it has several interesting shapes for positioning the parts of the print.

Very few pattern pieces can be cut double. Even the sleeves are slightly different. This suited my fabric because I knew I'd need to cut out single layers in order to properly position the print. That was fun, truthfully.

I placed the skyline at high bust. Rather than continuing that line across the bicep area of the sleeves, I broke it up using mainly the strips on the sleeves. I also omitted the little angular piece on the left sleeve. So my sleeves, like the back pieces are approximately identical.

The stripes were also handy for a bias trim at the neckline and the sleeve hems. And I liked it enough to place a little square of bias on the back.

I do love stripes on the bias!

There are 3 panels that attach to the bottom of the shirt. I was able to make each a solid color. That's a good spot for a dark solid, I think.

I briefly considered omitting the lower panels but I am glad I added them. You can see in the above picture what the shirt looks like right before the 3 panels are attached at the bottom.It's interesting, but it looks unfinished.

I've made this pattern once before from a black cotton organic knit. It is still in rotation though it got that dusty black look after washing a few times. For some reason, I can't bring myself to dry clean knits unless they are very special.

It was fun to pull this from stash and move it into rotation. I like it with my navy wool pants that are subtly pin-striped. So I'm sure I'll enjoy wearing it.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

My Wildest Dreams

Today's post is about my new PJs. I made these using a crazy piece of rayon challis that I dyed years and years ago. It's been languishing in my stash because, let's face it, it's wild.

My plan for 2019 is to whittle down my stash of whole uncut pieces. And this is one of my oldest pieces. At some point I'm going to have to whittle down my stash of remnants but that is another story.

PJs are perfect for this piece. Rayon is a mess to control so the fewer seams, the better. And it's soft the way PJs should be.

As a side benefit, it sort of matches my last make - the flatiron jacket.

I used some TNT - tried and true - Sewing Workshop patterns. The top is the Eureka top. I lengthened it quite a bit and made a deep hem. The Cottage shirt taught me the value of a deep hem with fly-away fabric.  The pants are slightly modified Hudson pants. Instead of darts in the hem of the legs, I made tucks.

I hear that tie-dye is back on the runway. Not that I plan to wear these out anywhere...

The title comes from a joke I once heard at one of the many, many graduations I attended in my career as an academic. Sonny Perdue, our governor, was scheduled to be the speaker. At the last minute he was sick and so his wife, Mary, was the sub. What a gift.

She told of the day they moved into the governor's mansion. Sonny was going on and on.

Mary, can you believe we're actually living here?! Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, think we'd end up here?

But, Sonny, you are not in my wildest dreams.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Flatiron Jacket

No way! Two posts in two days. I'm on a roll now.

Today I'm reviewing the newest pattern I own - the Flatiron Jacket from the Sewing Workshop. It's also my first finish of the year.

OK - gotta be truthful. I like it. A lot. But I don't love it. But I will wear it a lot. I know that.

It's cozy  jacket without any real fit, except maybe through the hips. The fit there is only an issue if you add closures and line up the side seams vertically and force it to fully close at the center front line. This would create an overlap of maybe 10 inches!

I doubt that anyone will ever wear it this way. I won't.

It is described as a dropped shoulder line but I would call it almost a true kimono sleeve. The sleeve cap is almost flat and the shoulder seam hits me below mid-pectoral.

My fabric is interesting, I think. I bought it as a cut piece from Linda Lee's store stash some years ago during Sew Kansas. It is a medium weight cotton Ikat. One side looks and feels like flannel. The other side is quite flat and a little crisp. That side looks hand-woven.

I chose the flannel side as the outside so that it will be less likely to catch on my high hip fluff. Never a good look.

Gotta love those huge patch pockets!
It's got that signature Y seam at the shoulder, similar to the San Diego jacket. The front piece includes the collar. Seaming it and then attaching it properly to the back neckline requires that I pay attention.

I guess it's really more of a right angle seam, but I think of it as a Y seam.
I have to sew that seam in 3 pieces to avoid a tuck at the Y's. I start with the back neckline and tie off each end of the seam by hand so I can control for the point in the Y. Then I sew the front seams right up to the Y. Again I tie it off by hand in case I catch a little tuck. I can work it back out and then tie it exactly where I want it. I hope that makes sense.

Attaching the back facing also requires paying attention. I went to sleep the first time and sewed it on incorrectly. I had to rip carefully so that I did not stress the Y seam. A nail biter.

The rest was very simple. I finished the side seams by hand. That took a while but I find it meditative. And of course the sashiko is always zen.

So try it - you'll like it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What Happened to 2018?

I blinked. And now 2018 is gone. I am way behind on blogging. I completely skipped the month of December 2018.

As with any December, this one was super busy with travel to see grandkids in concerts and sports. That left time for just a little sewing. But I did sew. I always do.

Here's what happened in December, sewing-wise:

I made  a grand total of two pieces of clothing in December pour moi. And both were made using patterns from Fit for Art - the Eureka pants and a Tabula Rasa vest to match.

The pants are a dark brown, and like black, nearly impossible to capture in photos. It is a beautiful tropical weight with wonderful drape. I was sorely tempted to skip the lining because the wool feels so good. My better self prevailed and I lined them with a silk-cotton blend called Radiance. It's quite yummy.

Unlike previous lined pants, the lining does not hang free. I have always hated the way a free lining separates and shows when I cross my legs. Also a friend has been taking Susan Khalje's couture skirt class and showed an interesting hem on her skirt lining. It is very much like the lining on a classic lined jacket.

It's attached at the bottom but has plenty of slack for sitting. So far it is quite comfortable and the lining never shows.

Before adding the facing.

I omitted the waistband and faced it. I added a tab at the back to cover the zipper stop, an old Sandra Betzina trick that produced a pretty finish, I think.

Truth-be-told fitted pants are never as comfortable for me as elastic waist pull-ons (like Cutting Line Design one-seams). But I do love the look of slim trousers.

After finishing the pants I was anxious to make a matching vest with this pretty plaid wool. It was purchased as a remnant so I had one yard, 60 inches wide. That was plenty for a Tabula Rasa vest, particularly since I wanted a contrasting collar band.

I had enough of the brown wool to make the collar band out of that but decided it was too formal looking. Instead I used a remnant of linen in a deep brownish burnt orange. Actually this took more than one pass. My first pass used a remnant of fine wale corduroy. I added this sashiko to it.

It was fun to stitch and I like this picture of it but I did not like the look of it on the vest.

It looks  better in the picture than I remember it. I wore it once and removed it. With all that pretty plaid, I ultimately decided that I wanted less stitching on the collar band.

It's subtle and I like it.

For the lining I chose a piece of silk I dyed using black walnuts, folding it shibori-style. It's fun to open it up and see that.

I added a little paint with a Diane Ericson stencil
So that's how my selfish sewing finished in 2018.

As usual I made a few little Christmas gifts:

These are zipper pouches made for my DIL and GD. I silk-screened a red Eiffel tower to each. We have a special trip planned in 2019.

cotton flannel PJ pants

I had a special request from one grandson for PJ pants. I made a bag for his sunglasses out of the left overs.

This is the year of the unicorn for a granddaughter. As her grandfather tells her,

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then be a unicorn."

These are intended to be PJ's and are made in a soft cotton knit.

That's pretty much all the sewing for 2018. I've become addicted to watercolor painting and so I haven't sewn as much. Here are some Christmas cards I had fun making.

I don't know how 2019 will shape up but it's sure to include both sewing and painting. How about you?