Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sapporo Coat

Oh, my. This pattern. I've had my eye on it a while. I started following #sapporocoat over on IG, and it was just a matter of time before I would buy this one and make it up.

Local fabric store and sewing studio, Topstitch, advertised a class for making this popular jacket. I couldn't sign up for the class due to travel plans, but I contacted them and purchased the pattern. This pleased me because it's a New Zealand publication and I really wanted a paper pattern, rather than a PDF.

There are many things to love about this pattern:
  • the overall lantern shape
  • the cool slanted in-seam pockets
  • the way the neckline frames the face
  • bracelet length sleeves

Since I had waited a while to purchase it, I took my time making it. I read all the 4-star reviews on PatternReview. There are lots of 5-star reviews too, but I find that 4-star reviews often reveal issues more effectively than 5-star reviews.

One of the reviews included a link to a sew-along tutorial here. That was instructive because I could see what the intent was and make changes accordingly.

The instructions included in the Sapporo Coat pattern are cute but sparse. There are many curved seams that benefit from stay-stitching, not mentioned once. In fact, my outer fabric is a very firm wool and stay-stitching was required for smooth curves.

The cut-on in-seam pockets also need stay-stitching at the corners. I wish now that I had added a little interfacing to the pocket opening. Next time.

I also under-stitched at the neckline and the sleeve hems by hand. Because my lining is flush with the edge of the sleeve hem, I also used a Susan Khalje technique for steam pressing. It seems to be mostly working, though I may add some subtle sashiko stitching to make sure nothing rolls.

This fabric is a remnant purchased from local fabric store, Gail K, several years ago. It is similar to wool crepe. The base is brown wool and there is a thicker black thread woven in creating the look of a subtle pin-stripe. Because of this novelty weave, I thought it would be wise to cut with nap. A close examination of the instructions made clear that their layout was WITHOUT nap. Glad I caught that.

A significant and documented problem is the lining. Oy.

The pattern includes a separate front lining to be attached to cut-on front facings. The back piece is the same for both the outer fabric and the lining. But they are designed so that there is ZERO slack or ease in the lining. That is, you are to cut off all the extra vertical length in the back piece and the front lining piece is woefully short. At least one reviewer noted that her back hem was already starting to curl up.

I added inches to the front and back lining pieces to provide the needed slack for a conventional lining. I also added a center back pleat to the back lining piece.

The pattern calls for using outer fabric for the lining for the sleeves. The method for attaching the lining and outer sleeves together generates a lot of bulk, as can be seen in a number of reviews and pictures on line. I ignored those instructions and constructed my lining in a traditional fashion, mirroring the jacket.

I used many techniques for jacket making learned from Pam Howard. What fun to remember taking a very challenging tailored jacket class from her!

One technique was the slick handling of vertical slack along the lower front hem, as well as bagging the jacket lining, after hand-stitching the hems. I love that technique!

My lining was also from deep stash. I think it was in a mystery bag I purchased from Marcy Tilton during her last Design Outside the Lines workshop in 2013. I was sad to discover that it is polyester. I burn tested it more than once because I really wanted it to be rayon.

It is a polyester satin and so ravels like crazy. But it has wonderful drape and feels silky. And I like the way it looks with this rich brown wool. If it makes me uncomfortable, I'll just take it out and line with rayon or silk. But for now, I'm enjoying the look of the polka dots.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Goes With Everything!

I was delighted to see that my most recent make goes with so much that I have in my closet. This was definitely a hole that needed to be filled. These are the Pencil Pants from the Sewing Workshop.

These are yet another pair of pencil pants. This pattern is currently my favorite pull-on pant pattern for knits. There are so many reasons to make this a TnT pattern:
  • Elastic waist with a smooth waistline (no bunchy fabric at the waist)
  • Narrow cut to pants.
  • Sooooo comfortable
Like my previous pencil pants, these are made in a rayon-based ponte double knit. This is a beefy ponte, perfect for cooler weather, which finally arrived. They are a very dark brown, and so, difficult to capture in a picture.

After finishing them, I thought it might be fun to see how they fit into my current wardrobe:

The above picture shows these pencil pants with a MixIt tank, also in ponte, as well as an ancient silk tunic from Chico's.

The above jacket is one of those *five easy pieces* patterns from Vogue. This one is OOP 8546. It is made with a light weight textured wool that is delightful to wear. It has a hood, and I suppose it could double as a raincoat in a light rain.

This is a tunic made with a Marcy Tilton pattern. I love those huge pockets! This is Vogue 9171 in a cotton sateen.

This is a top made from the Sewing Workshop's Now and Zen pattern. It's the one with the double collar and hidden placket down the front. I shortened the sleeves recently. It is constructed with a Liberty of London cotton print and feels wonderful.

This top is made with the Sewing Workshop's Hudson pattern. The fabulous ikat cotton is from Stone Mountain and Daughter. 

Lastly, I think the pants look pretty good with my new Swing Tee dress, also in ponte. The dress is a rich teal color and pairs nicely with the dark brown pants.

I do love brown. So, next up, is a Sapporo Coat from Papercut Patterns. I have just the right textured brown wool from DEEP stash, and some linings that have marinated long enough too!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Ensemble Sewing

A dig through deep stash turned up two, coordinating fabrics. One is a double knit, a ponte with rayon (I think). The other is a cotton design by Naomi Ito (brand: nani IRO). It's a fairly beefy cotton, almost the weight of canvas.

So I decided to do something I don't do enough - make two pieces to be worn together. An ensemble is so practical but I rarely plan that far ahead.

First I made a dress out of the ponte. I used my favorite knit dress pattern - the Swing Tee from the Sewing Workshop (TSW), modified to be a dress. The Tee is fairly wide at the bottom, so making it into a dress was a bit more complicated than simply lengthening it. TSW included the measurements for this modification in a recent issue of Sew Confident. I've constructed and worn dresses from this pattern quite a lot lately. Maybe too many. DH has started to comment...

This dress was modified to include bracelet length sleeves and side seam pockets. I chose to make the pockets a single layer to avoid bulk.

This was such a simple make and I do love the color. I know I'll enjoy wearing it.

For my second piece, I chose the Brando jacket, also from TSW. One problem with deep stash is that I begin to imagine that I have way more yardage than I actually do have. As I laid this out, it was obvious pretty quickly that there was no way to get an entire jacket out of my precious piece of nani IRO fabric. I was really bummed about this, but soldiered on, deciding to make a vest instead.

Even a vest was challenging with my limited yardage. By piecing the collar, and making the pockets out of a remnant of Bemberg Ambiance, it worked!

The pattern repeat on this fabric was way too large to even consider matching it at the seams. Some time ago, I decided that large prints are often better used without matching the print. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I have convinced myself that I really, really don't want that huge continuous pattern across my body.

The Brando has princess seams and provided nice places to break up the pattern without losing the overall effect. I think.

The Brando has an interesting collar stand that only extend around the back of the neckline. My fabric was stiff enough that I did not use any interfacing. With the interesting collar stand, I like the way the collar can be folded up a bit.

My greatest challenge in making the Brando was the zipper. A separating zipper is required. I ordered one online but when I started to use it, I realized it was about 1/2 inch too long.

The zipper is fully exposed on one side, so I needed the finish on each end to remain intact. Of course, a separating zipper has a hard plastic stop at the bottom for feeding the two sides of teeth together. And this one had brass balls at the top.

I was lucky to find a fine tutorial online (*) that gave me the tricks I needed to shorten the zipper. One trick was to crush the extra teeth using needle-nose pliers. Then they fall right off. Another trick was to do that BEFORE removing the brass balls.

After removing the teeth, there's room to maneuver the stop off without destroying it. It was fairly easy to pry it open, move it down, and mash it closed again. I was so excited when this was successful!

I was not quite sure how to secure the ends of the zipper to the fabric. I did not see anything in the instructions to help with this. It was one of those times that I really wished to have a sample to copy.

I was doubtful that I could machine sew the lower hard plastic tab to the fabric. But I was wrong. In the end, using my zipper foot, I sewed a tiny square around the perimeter of it to secure it.

I followed the included instructions to add the lining. Too bad I didn't have sleeves to practice bagging the lining! The instructions looked great.

To finish the armholes, I created some bias tape from silk dupioni. Once I finished it, I tried it on over a plain white Tee. I was not terribly impressed with it. The armholes are a bit larger than I expected, and of course, there's nothing to be done about that now. Note to self for next time.

Also there was a bit of gap-o-sis near where the front princess seam intersects the armhole. I did my best to remove the gaps by taking a wider seam allowance there. Unfortunately I was not paying close attention and took in the princess seam in the back of one side, rather than the front.

Yep, this was one of those projects.

I'll have to wear the vest a few times to see how to style it. I'm not sure I love it with the dress.

To me, it reads frumpy with the dress. Maybe with some tights...

 So much for Ensemble Sewing.

I'm not giving up on the vest and I definitely like the dress. I tried the vest with a Liberty shirt and Helix pants here.

There is still hope for the little vest. I think I'll like it with a shorter shirt. I mean, it's kind of cute, isn't it?

* I wish I had made a note on the tutorial. If I find it again, I'll come back and give credit here.