Soft Coat


I had bought this fabulous woven ombre stripe from The Smuggler’s Daughter. It’s attractive on both sides so an unlined jacket seemed a good fit.

I think most of us looked right past Butterick B6244 with the incredibly plain dress, but the coat caught my eye. There are many similar patterns out there, but I liked that the shoulders were fit and despite all of the fabric it looked slimming on the model. The bonus is when you find that there is actually a dart under the draped collar. There are just 3 pattern pieces, which made matching stripes easy, however I had only ordered 4 repeats (less than 4 yards) of the fabric. After close inspection I discovered that there was absolutely no nap and the stripes were symmetrical so the back is cut one direction and the front is opposite! After laying out the front and back pattern pieces and matching the stripes I still had some fabric left, but the sleeve stripes wouldn’t match, or they would be too short.

b6244-jacket-orange-stripe_2Knowing that there is always a solution I cut out and stitched together the body of the coat. Then I draped the fabric at the arms and decided that it looks even better with the stripe running down the arm. I love that the inside seam is orange against tan. I’m so glad I didn’t have enough fabric! By cutting the sleeves cross grain I gained enough scraps to make two perfectly matched patch pockets lined in a different fabric.b6244-jacket-orange-stripe

The best part of this project is how well it fits into my existing wardrobe. Buying fabric I love and then finding the perfect pattern seems to be a good way for me to sew. The patterns are out there or you can alter them, but finding fabric you love is much more difficult.b6244-jacket-orange-stripe_3

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.

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 A poncho or ruana is always a practical addition to my fall wardrobe.  The hip black plastic coated knit (no longer available) is from and should make a great motorcycle jacket.   The pant pattern is Marcy Tilton’s slim pant Vogue 8859.


Summer Clothes are Here!


My BSF Debra has been pushing me (I needed the push) to start on summer clothes. There are several patterns we have wanted to try, so we pulled them out and chose Butterick 5891 by the uber talented Katherine Tilton.

Side Note: My BSF and I are going on a tour of Paris in the fall with Katherine and Marcy Tilton! We’re so excited!!!!

Both of us agree that this is NOT an easy pattern (as stated on the pattern envelope). A typical shirt would have from 4 to 8 pattern pieces and this pattern has 15! Then there are some funky folds and an unusual collar finish. Top that off with 3 different fabrics and this baby took several days to finish.Katherine-top_3

It seemed early in the season to make a sleeveless shirt, but I solved that by making the arm opening a little larger so I could wear this as a vest or shirt.

I made a muslin and added a dart for my very first time! The dart came out fine, but will be better next time. I need to perfect this skill so woven tops fit correctly. The size I choose was to big on me (despite the muslin). This pattern doesn’t have full length side seams to adjust fit, but it does now! Not an afternoon project, but it did come out pretty cool in the end.Katherine-top_2

I’m very happy with the project, and it will feel great on a super hot day.  Several fellow bloggers have made fabulous versions of the jacket, sometimes as a jacket, vest or shirt. I may have to make that one very soon. Katherine-top_1

Seriously? Another Black Vest


I know I just posted a black vest refashion. While it came out well, it isn’t an everyday throw-on piece. This vest started out with an embroidered stretch denim fabric that should, in theory, work for everyday. Of course my copper silk scraps looked so good I had to make the cool button band detail. In addition the only lining fabric in my stash that looked perfect is a        dupioni silk. I did wash the silk first so I can still throw this vest in the washer.Black-Denim-Vest_2

I used Butterick pattern 5468 with the buttons being the only alteration. I think I will make this again. It could have been a size smaller and I would like a slightly softer fabric next time, for example wool would be nice. It’s a versatile pattern that has a sophisticated silhouette.Black-Denim-Vest_1

Believe it or not I have another vest soon to show in the near future. This is the year of the vest for me!