Katherine Tilton Tunic

Mustard-Tunic-FrontThis top ended up a bit warmer than I had anticipated, but it will be welcome on a cooler summer day or evening. My BSF and I decided to try Katherine Tilton’s Butterick 6136 because we both like princess seam lines for flattery and fit. The decorative topstitch lines on the pattern are also a terrific idea for adding extra detail to a plain tunic.Mustard-Tunic-L-Side

We made quite a number of modifications to the pattern. The biggest was a change to the armscye and sleeve, since it was too generous for our taste. We used one of our TNT’s Vogue 8952 (view B) thereby producing a closer fit. We’re both getting more comfortable with changing patterns in this way to get exactly what we envision.mustard-Tunic-Back

I took Katherine Tilton’s simple yet brilliant idea of decorative topstitching, but didn’t follow her exact pattern. A thin ribbon attached with a zigzag stitch created a bolder line, but the top still seemed plain. It sat on Roxie for several days without the side seams, since I knew there was something I wanted to do. Finally I took a scrap of the patterned knit and draped it down the front between the two topstitch lines. Big improvement, and easy to do!Mustard-Tunic-detail

Finshing the top included a wedge-shaped collar that used previously on this Marcy Tilton dress. This time I tucked the short end under the long to give a little lift. This is such an easy collar finish.

That leads me to a question. I’m taking more time sewing these days in order to concentrate on details like the collar, and this is leading to fewer posts. Would my readers like some photos of work in progress, exposing more mishaps, fixes and other details? Let me know if you just want to see the finished product or more process.

Travel Maxi-Skirt

This is part of my fall coordinated travel wardrobe I started in this blog, about fabric and pattern planning. The series then continued with this coat. Now, I’m adding this maxi-skirt to the mix. Paisly-Maxi-Skirt_1

There’s not a lot to say about a maxi like this. You don’t need a pattern, and since it has an elastic waist you don’t need to deal too much with fit. The elastic waist is perfect for travel especially to places with delicious food! The top part of the skirt measures to the hip dimension with just enough added ease for comfort. This way there is less fabric gathered at the waist to bunch up under a top worn outside. I try to not bring a belt on vacation since it just adds more stuff to the suitcase, so in this case I will be making some tops that cover the waist.

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In addition, I don’t need to remember to pack a slip since there is a lining. Yes, the lining is all wrinkled up! I like to twist fabric like this as it dries like the old broomstick skirts. Starting with wrinkles works well for travel! I can’t wait to make a few travel tops, but next week I’ll be showing a wonderful new vest pattern by Diane Ericson.

Diane Ericson’s Ashland Vest

Ashland-Vest_1It’s always a treat to make a pattern designed by Diane Ericson, and the new Ashland Vest is no exception. Her patterns are just more than a typical pattern. More creativity, more ways of sewing up the project, and more detailed options to use on this pattern or others. Each pattern is a lesson in sewing and finding one’s own voice, and not just copying Diane’s work. She encourages fearless creativity, and with those thoughts in mind my BSF and I opened up the pattern last week.

After taking a good look at the pattern and dimensions we decided to make a medium, and I think that was the right choice for us. Another might want a roomier feel and make a large. We also chose to use the front piece with a dart. Thanks to Diane for providing this option! I went to my stash and found two wonderful woven Japanese cottons and then a lovely brick-red striped linen for the lining. The Japanese cottons are different but beautiful on both sides, so that made 4 coordinating fabrics! In addition I turned them 90° to emphasize the differences.Ashland-Vest_4

BTW, the cottons are a dark brown and the linen has a black stripe. They look great together! There’s no need to get out a magnifying glass to match colors.

The pocket is exactly from the pattern, and there are no alterations except in the lapel. One pattern option is a wavy edge fold-over lapel exposing the lining. When finished, my stripe produced an optical illusion and the wavy edge just looked crooked rather than wavy. I had trimmed, clipped and pressed, and eventually decided for more wave. The shoulders were now finished so I couldn’t easily go back in to sew stronger curves at the seam. I was almost out of the linen (a bias strip would have worked well), and no other fabric looked good. Ashland-Vest-DetailPlan B, I made several matching strips from the leftover linen (there are seams to make it long enough). Then I serged a rolled hem on each side and slightly gathered the strips.  I placed the desired curves on the lapel and stitched it down to the edge. Great…a tailored vest with a ruffled edge. Didn’t work for me. I then just stitched down the loose edge so there is more structure. I like it, and in fact now think the bit of pucker adds a strong edge to the lapel.Ashland-Vest

Lime Tunic – Marcy Tilton Vogue 9112

This dress (in this case, tunic) by Marcy Tilton is brilliant! First of all it looks great on and second, and equally important, it feels great on.  I’ve also worn it with a Sleevy Wonder when it was a little cooler out. A T-shirt could also be used to easily add sleeves, especially if it’s made from a slippery knit. Even though this pattern takes time with all the different pattern pieces to cut and sew, I’m already thinking of making a second version. Maybe I’ll try adding a sleeve next time, or I’ll make one of Marcy’s little cardigans that have been on my sewing project list for a while. It’s so cold in air conditioning and so hot outside this time of year!

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Mixing the pattern pieces of both linen and knit gives the tunic the comfort and ease that I desire in my casual clothes. Both of these matching fabrics right in my stash waiting to notice that they match! There really is nothing as joyful as a well stocked stash, and mine is looking good these days.

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The tunic is 4″ shorter than the dress pattern in order to look proportionate with leggings. Since the bottom band would almost disappear with the shorter length I altered it to attach higher up on the back. I hand top stitched the pieces where the seams press toward the linen, and stopped when the seams pressed toward the knit, hoping to achieve an interesting balance of lines.

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The only other minor alteration is a doubled collar which allows for the neck to sit up a little stiffer. While this linen is the same on both sides, the double collar also fixes the problem of a fabric with an unattractive wrong side.

Pockets, interesting details…what’s not to love?

Reversible Coat

I’m finally done with my first, and maybe last reversible coat.  I say, “maybe last” since the first coat came out so well! If you remember my Unintentional Wardrobe post, I have two more fabrics that I originally intended for a travel coat. The fabrics for this version were in my stash and I decided to use them for a first draft. I love how easy-going this pattern is. The out-of-print  Butterick 6269 goes together well and produces a simple roomy coat that I will be able to use as a blanket on the plane, and can easily fit over other layers.

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I still have some work to do on the coat. First, the coat is still not waterproof except for the natural water resistance that wool provides. I just don’t love the crunchy or slippery feel of raincoat fabric. The plaid looks like a raincoat fabric, but is actually a silk twill. A spray waterproofer would work well in this instance since they don’t seem to change the hand of the fabric. Will I use the reverse side of the coat with the plaid out?  I think I would if the plaid side is water-resistant.

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Second, a hidden pocket for documents would be a nice addition for travel, so I might add one into the side seam. This is easy and will only take an hour or so to complete, therefore I think that it’s a must do.

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Third, I may hem the coat shorter. I love a long calf-length coat, but I’m worried about the weight while walking  around Rome and Paris. A knee-length coat would suffice, but I want to get a few more pieces of my travel wardrobe together before I decide on the exact proportion.

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I’ll let you know what changes I pursue over the next few months! Next week is a summer top!

Another Lynn Mizono Shirt!

It’s been a few weeks, but  I’m still sewing with little pieces of time here and there.  The blogging keeps me enthused to keep trying new things, and it’s such a fun way to communicate with other sewers!Mizono-Top-3-Front

I love these Lynn Mizono shirts and this is my third one! Vogue pattern 1274 is a fun pattern to work with, since there are so many ways to manipulate the pattern. Both main fabrics are inexpensive but soft and comfortable rayon solids. The tan was boring, boring, boring, so the stencils came out of the drawer to make two different patterns. The gelli-plate i used for printing was fun, but not necessary for these designs. However, try one if you haven’t because there are lots of inspiring ways to use the plates.Mizono-Top-3-side-2The back panel is split up to add a little detail, since I decided to cut off the wings. If you’ve made this pattern you will know about the wings! They are cool, but just not my style, I also make the sleeves straight instead of having more fabric at the cuff.

Mizono-Top-3-sideThe split sleeves were a mistake. which I refer to as a GDO (good design opportunity). Instead of getting all worked up about a mistake I just try to think of a cool way to use it to improve the design.  I cut them backwards, but liked the harlequin effect at the shoulder. I just decided to get out my harlequin stencil to match,. The two different prints sure fixed the boring beige!

Mizono-Top-3-DetailAbove is a photo of both sides of the strip button placket. My BSF helped me with the buttons. She has an incredible button stash. We could not find the right set of buttons so we decided using mixed colors would be the way to go. The look is especially nice with the stripe button placket I decided to insert.

Colorado is having a wet cool spring, so I’m still waiting to wear this….can’t wait!

Unintentional Capsule Wardrobe

Last week I went to Elfriede’s Fine Fabrics in Boulder and had an unintentional fabric buying extravaganza! My patient husband just sat at a table and worked on his iPad, while the bolts were stacking up for cutting. If you have never been to Elfriede’s you are missing out on one of the great independent fabric stores that are too few already. She specializes in high-end natural fibers like liberty cottons, luscious silks, gorgeous wools, camel hair, cashmere, high quality knits and a small but wonderful selection of quilting cottons.

Next fall I need a raincoat for my trip to Paris. Colorado is rainy this spring so making the coat now makes sense. I had already picked out a vintage pattern that was reversible so I could have a raincoat on one side and wool on the other. A Marie Osmond pattern…I have no shame when it comes to getting the look I want!

Butterick6269frontThe helpful saleswomen convinced me that a tightly woven wool would do the trick rather than an actual raincoat fabric. I know I can waterproof the fabric if need be. The only problem is that Elfriede’s Fabrics had too many gorgeous wools to pick from. After narrowing it down to about 10 bolts(!), I told them I couldn’t decide and just wanted to browse around the store to clear my head. That’s when I found this rayon paisley fabric that was perfect for me. My colors: orange, brown, olive & black plus a few interesting accent tones like mustard and a grayish teal blue sealed the deal. It was instant love! I plan on making a maxi skirt (with a lovely blue lining) and will use the scraps to make a scarf.

Paisly-RayonI took the bolt over to the wools and the answer appeared. Two of the wools, a rusty orange and an olive green stood out instantly. OK baby, I was on a roll! (There is a twist to the coat at the end of this adventure.)

Coat-woolWithout intention, a capsule wardrobe was developing on the cutting table. I asked about bottom weight knits for some pants. Again, they pulled some out and it was easy to choose. I’m not sure if your computer is showing the colors correctly but these two stable bottom weight knits look great in the ensemble. The grey has a blue cast that looks wonderful with the print above.

Bottom-weight_webAll of us are having fun at this point and the saleswomen start pulling out more things for me to choose from. I picked this silk charmeuse for a blouse. At their suggestion, I’m going to sew it with the matte side out so it’s a little less dressy.

geometric-silkAt this point another employee, Melissa, stopped in and I discovered she had made a shirt I admired in the window. It was a pattern that I owned, but had never noticed the shirt.

2495178378_b5a1d5cfec_zWhy stop now?, I thought as I spied one last spectacular fabric. An olive-green embroidered silk. Not an everyday fabric, or could it be if made into a vest with casual details?

Embroidered-silk 2I have a pattern like that at home! I mean this is basically khaki green isn’t it? An embroidered safari style vest would be very wearable, but have a little pizzazz in this fabric. I’ll figure out a better solution for those stringy things.

Kwick Sew 3930The coat twist story: I couldn’t figure out what size to make the coat. My measurements said a size 16 and that just didn’t seem right. I decided to take a wool in my stash to make a wearable muslin. I can always make it shorter than the intended raincoat. This fabric also came from Elfriede’s but I also saw it a week later on Marcy Tilton’s site. Elfriede and Marcy both love quality fabrics!

squiggel-wool_webThe muslin (size 12) is going so well that I looked in my stash for the reverse side and found this gorgeous silk plaid that I was saving for a shirt. Yummy!

Squiggle-Plaid-coat-fabric_webThe problem is, do I even need the originally planned coat? Time will tell, but as a summary, I’m including two mood boards I made on Adobe illustrator with the above fabrics, the two coat options, and some additional textiles from my stash. A large portion of these items will go to Paris with me. I’m way ahead of my fall planning, but after all it is my favorite season.

Paris-Mood-BoardNotes: The zebraesque striped cashmere/wool is yummy soft and came from EmmaOneSock.com. A poncho or ruana is always a practical addition to my fall wardrobe.  The hip black plastic coated knit (no longer available) is from MarcyTilton.com and should make a great motorcycle jacket.   The pant pattern is Marcy Tilton’s slim pant Vogue 8859.

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Statuesque Dress

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I’m back! I’ve been sewing whenever I can, but I’ve had no time to blog. Love, love, love this dress. I found the fabric on Marcy Tilton’s site and ordered two repeats immediately! Good thing since it was gone the next time I looked.

It’s a digital print on the softest piece of medium-light weight french terry. Seriously, french terry…I could wear this dress to the beach and then a dinner party and not skip a beat. Yes it shows my dreaded arms, but my BSF has convinced me that it gets too hot to always cover up. I might make a little cover up jacket for cool evenings with Marcy’s Vogue 9081 pattern, but I hate to cover up the statue that is peeking out on my left shoulder. Statuesque-Dress-Frontclose

The pattern is self drafted from a knit dress I own, and then I modified it to have cap sleeves to protect my pale shoulders. The other modification is the asymmetrical neckline that helps emphasize Venus on my shoulder.

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Venus ended up on my left shoulder on the back too!

Joan’s Easter Purse

Easter Purse_2My husband and I planned on visiting his mom Joan last week. Unfortunately, I ended up sick and had to postpone the trip. Joan, this is in the mail for you, so the post will be a surprise before the present!

I’m at my BSF’s house complaining that I just can’t find the perfect spring fabric for this purse. I turn around in her sewing room, see this skirt hanging up and exclaim, “something like that!” SkirtSince Debra was using this thrift shop skirt for a refashion to fit her little granddaughter, she gave me a panel.

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Basically this is just a full length skirt panel that I lined. Then I added the gathering to the wide part (the hem). So the width worked with side seams. Before closing it all up just add a snap, any embellishments, and voilà, a cute special occasion purse!

As an aside, a fellow blogger made a nice courier bag with a leather skirt, the same week as I was making this purse. Check out the post here.

Happy Easter Joan!

Cool Summer Shirt

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I love this new pattern by Marcy Tilton! Vogue 9089, a tunic length shirt, is a fairly quick sew and feels fantastic on. My BSF and I got together and both made a version. Her shirt is out of heavier weight cotton, and she is wearing it often and getting tons of compliments! I made mine out of a cotton lawn so it’s a little early in the season. I did wear it yesterday when our temps hit the high seventies. I took these photos for the blog, and it was so comfortable that I just kept it on for the afternoon.

The only fitting change made was the addition of a FBA. A dart just helps the fit on my body type. In addition I made two minor design changes. I made the sleeve ¾ length, and then I made a crazy change! I like my obvious asymmetrical elements, so I re-drafted the top of the center back panel to land a couple of inches further off-center where it meets the collar. Marcy-V9089-Shirt_3Marcy-V9089-Shirt_2Since I’m new to pattern drafting this probably took me over an hour to figure out and get right. Was it worth it? I like the result, but it was a little picky, and I’m not sure anyone but Marcy Tilton herself would notice. In order to show off my little change the seam is hand stitched.Marcy-V9089-detail

Am I making this again? Definitely!