Thursday, January 13, 2022

Now Sewing!

Happy New Year and hooray for 2022! 

DH helped reconfigure my sewing room to make sewing a possibility. It's still a bit challenging to maneuver knee scooter, crutches and/or a boot, but I'm feeling good about it all. And I'm making real progress on the healing of the ankle I fractured over Thanksgiving. Life is good.

My first make of the year was constructed using the Sewing Workshop's Quincy jacket. I made it when it was first published in a light weight linen, I think. It was the wrong fabric and moved into the donate pile pretty quickly. 

During her regular Tuesday FB live broadcasts, right before Thanksgiving, Linda Lee of TSW showed the first garment for her 2022 Sew Confident series. This is her extremely successful subscription program that I've been participating in for a number of years now. The new pattern is called the Sterling jacket and is a riff on the old Quincy. There are enough changes that I'm glad I purchased the new one.

While waiting on the publication of the Sterling, I decided to revisit the Quincy, using this cotton fabric that looks like it's quilted. It is not quilted exactly, but woven to look like it, a jacquard, I believe. The back side of this fabric is not pretty at all, kind of like a loose weave terry cloth, so I definitely had to line it. The lining I chose was one gifted to me by BSF. I think it is silk. I just love the way it looks peeking out.

I cut the Quincy out before Thanksgiving and cut out part of the lining. When I returned to it this month, I somehow forgot that I must have lengthened the Quincy, as my lining was too short for the outer pieces. I shortened the fashion fabric and actually like the result quite a lot. It reminds me of a cross between a bed jacket and Chinese peasant jacket. It's cozy but not too warm.

I added patch pockets but then realized I did not line them up correctly, so I removed them. I may add some smaller patch pockets later, as I do like something for a tissue or two.

I also added a simple placket to the left side so that when I close it, right over left, there is not a gap. I created bias tubes for button closures and used some fun buttons that read "Sewing Workshop." That must have been a party favor during Sew Kansas. Except for needing to add pockets back, I like it a lot.

Then the Sterling came out last week. It's a PDF download pattern, not a printed pattern. There are a number of options for printing these PDF patterns. I was stuck on the couch anyway, so I printed it at home and taped it together. 

I had seen Linda's Sterling mock-up at a sewing retreat - several of us there encouraged her to publish it. It is based on the Quincy but shortened, and a bias flange has been added to the hem. It also has a more narrow collar, extended center fronts for buttons, and appliqued front plackets. All edges have a 5/8" seam allowance with instructions to finish with a 3-thread serged rolled hem.

Kits were also made available last week. I had seen a preview of the kits and the various color choices. I knew I really, really wanted to make up the navy fabric. Ordinarily I resist kits, but this was just too good to pass up. And I'm so glad I did not. This navy fabric is just lovely with great drape for this pattern. Unlike the gray Jaquard, this one is pretty on both sides, with that positive-negative light-dark effect. I had trouble determining which side to use and marked it very carefully!

This is how it looked prior to adding the flange - cute, I think!

The kit included 4 spools of cotton thread, 3 for the serged edges, and one for regular sewing. I tested my serger with the fabric and thread, along with some edge finishes I like. The rolled hem was better than I expected, probably because the cotton thread is more beefy than typical serger thread. I was tempted but, in the end, I chose my more conventional finishing methods. This is an unlined garment, so I also spent time thinking about how I wanted seams finished, as well as the collar.

Seam finishes:

For the shoulders I used a mock fell seam. For the long sleeve seams, I used a French seam. I knew I'd like that best when rolling the sleeves. For other seams, I finished with a serger and then top-stitched so it has the outer appearance of a felled seam too.

Hem finishes:

For both sleeves and the lower edge of the flange, I created 3" bias strips from a light weight silk in stash. I folded the strips wrong sides together so that one edge was a fold. Then I attached the raw edges of the bias strips to the raw edges on my hemlines, graded the seams, and turned the bias tape completely to the wrong side. It looks similar to a narrow facing. 

For the lower front corners, I followed the excellent instructions in Linda Lee's old pamphlet on miters. It worked beautifully. I am very happy with the result.


Here I followed very traditional techniques used in shirt making. I sewed upper and lower collars right sides together along 3 sides, graded the seam allowances, turned and pressed. I machine sewed one collar to the jacket and invisibly stitched the other collar to the neckline, enclosing the raw neck edge.

All in all, the Sterling was a fun make and I think I'll wear it a lot. It works well as a shirt. It also works well as a jacket. I put my blue-black silk Now shirt under it and like that looks a lot. Unfortunately I do not think the photos show that as I see it IRL. 

I may add another button to collar so that it can be buttoned up higher. And I may add a patch pocket or two. I do like a pocket in a jacket.

This is really a good pattern with lots of possibilities. For this first one, I used size M. I added a little length to the back pattern to manage my rounded back (I did not want a CB seam  with this particular fabric). I also added a forward shoulder adjustment. Lastly I rotated the grainline on the side panels just slightly, as I noticed in the Quincy that there is a tendency for it to flare out too much in the back. 

I hope to explore this pattern quite a bit more. It is similar to the patterns from Fit for Art. Both are similar to a much older jacket designed by Jean Cacicedo, now published by Diane Ericson. I' hope to explore that one from Jean Cacicedo soon too. The square armhole is holding my interest for now.


  1. Love both your jackets tho maybe the Navy one a little bit more as am a huge blue fan. They both look so good on you. With all the details, they look like high end designer garments. Jean

  2. I love your blue Sterling it looks great, I hope to cut my wheaten one out this weekend but unfortunately my sewing machine is in urgent need of care, so the sewing will have to wait.

  3. I haven't been a Sew Confident member for a few years, but I am finding myself tempted this year. Your post has added to my temptation. (Enabler alert!)

    Thank you so much for your new (to me) way of adding a hem facing. I am a HUGE fan of using facings for hems and will be trying out your method pronto. (I also find that hem facings are a big fabric saver.)

    Lastly, could you say more about "rotating the grainline" of the side panel to prevent excess hem flaring. I often notice this issue of flare and am looking for ways to address it.

    A post from Martha makes my day, yet again!

    1. Thanks so much. The grain on the tissue runs parallel to the front seamline, and so it is attached to the back on the bias. I rotated that so that the seamline is slightly on the bias for both the front and back, rather than just the back. This means the fullness is equal in the front and the back. Email me if this doesn't make sense.

  4. It is such a treat to read your new blog postings! I love both your jackets. I have the Quincy pattern and you have brought renewed enthusiasm and useful information for sewing it up.

  5. Hi Martha! We used to go to church together at St. Aidan's, and I recall Camp Sew & Sew and your wonderful garments (coats especially). I'd love to get in touch with some sewing queries; would you please be able to contact me? 678-687-1684. Thanks! - Cara