Monday, October 10, 2016

StyleArc Stevie Jean Jacket - a keeper!

What a fun project! I've been looking for an oversized jean jacket pattern for ages. One that looks like it was purchased in the men's department. Know what I mean?

In my wildest dreams, I never thought StyleArc would come up with one. But recently, clothingengineer posted a super cute version on Pattern Review, actually the first review of the pattern. I've no idea when StyleArc released it, but I took a look at it right away.

And lucky me, I just happened to have a bunch of wildly green 8.5 oz bull denim just waiting for its turn.

My relationship with StyleArc patterns has been so iffy, more disappointment than success. After my recent Designer Daisy wadders projects, I had no plans to even think about StyleArc patterns. But I have to hand to them on this one. It's a great pattern that delivers the promised boyfriend jacket look.

I really wanted my jacket to mimic the classic jean jacket style, so I did a bunch of looking around on the web - Levi, Wrangler, and Lee. And I checked with one of my favorite fabric/sewing databases, just to be sure I handled the denim in a classic way as well. I don't remember how I originally found the 'Historical Materials from the University of Nebraska' site, but it's a absolute gem.

Some sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size 10, and it's a great fit.
  • No welt pockets, just because I don't like pocket bags inside short jackets. I thought about adding a faux welt, and I still might, on a rainy boredom-filled day...
  • My upper/flap pockets are faux - I didn't use the pocket bag at all. I'm not going to use it these pockets, and I didn't want all the extra fabric in the yoke seam.
  • My only whinge on this pattern is the seam allowance. It's 3/8" everywhere, but the neckline/collar, which is mere 1/4"! But I used the PDF pattern and simply drafted the entire thing with a 1/2" seam allowance. I cannot imagine working all these small pattern pieces, most of which are meant to have a felled finish of some kind, with less than 1/2" in play.
  • I wanted to keep the jacket loose and supple, so I serged all my seam edges and used a faux-fell finish.

  • I love all the topstitching! and used regular sewing thread for mine. I'm just not a fan of the thicker topstitching thread that's available.
  • In a deviation from the sewing instructions, I sewed my pocket on top of the bodice, rather than behind it. The difference? The Wrangler jean jacket has it on top, while the Levi trucker jean jacket has it behind, as below. Choices!

And mine, with my first set of buttons. I later changed these to some nice nickel buttons from Holly Lobby.

I love it, and I'm working on a second one in marigold - got to keep those tropical colors coming.

Parting shot: 
Tomorrow I'm off to Ft. Myers to kitty-sit while Ashley and Darrin go to Salem, MA, for their annual Halloween fest. And I'll get to meet two newbies that they recently brought home from the shelter. Willow and Thor! A total of 4 now - I'm dosing myself with Claritin :-)

Ciao! Coco

Saturday, October 8, 2016

You are the best...

My heartfelt thanks to all for the support and good wishes during the hurricane event this week. I cannot possibly express how much it means to me, how sustaining your messages have been, how much I treasure each and every friendship with you.

Con carino - Coco

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

And here comes Hurricane Matthew...

Waiting is the difficult part for now. This is the 4th hurricane in my territory since I move to Florida in 1978. The first one, Hurricane David in 1979, missed the coast by about 15 miles. It was stormy - but my house, 10 miles inland, came through just fine.

The second one was awful - Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Few people in South Florida came through that storm without damage. I lost a friend. I had friends that lost everything short of their lives. I had to find somewhere to live. That was a tough, tragic storm on many levels, and even now it's hard to talk or think about it.

The third storm, Hurricane Wilma in 2005, was the first one that I experienced by myself. It came through Weston as a strong Category 3, and destroyed or damaged almost all the trees and landscaping in the area, including mine. Only a few roofs were left intact, from south of me, all the way up the coast past West Palm Beach. With roads only partially open, and the entrance to my neighborhood blocked by fallen trees and debris, I rode my bicycle to get out and about. I was without power for a couple weeks, but the storm hit in late November, and the temperatures were bearable. I had water!

But go figure. There I was with all the damage to my house and community, no electricity, A/C, or cell phone service, and the only thing that really bugged me was the sound of generators running all over the place.

So, Hurricane Matthew. I'm tired of watching the Weather Channel and wondering what might happen. And I'm so sorry for the people who've been dealing with this in the Caribbean for the past few days. I know I'm safer than many of them.

I've been ready for days - gas, groceries, batteries, duct tape. Yard checked for loose branches. Battened down. So this morning, I checked on a couple neighbors, and then I went to Holly Lobby. I just had to get out of the house for a while. Sort of sniff the air and be around some people.

This afternoon I prepped some hand sewing that I'll welcome if the power goes out.  I'm starting a Kantha quilt-inspired project with two pareus I've kept folded away in my wardrobe. I'm so sentimental - I haven't wanted to use them as apparel, because they are precious memories from travel with my kids.

Tonight I'll go to bed (or fall asleep on the sofa) with my little radio and lantern nearby.

Hoping for the best outcome - Coco

Edited Thur. 10/6 afternoon: Hi! I'm so bad - this thing was fine last night, it's late today/tonight that we'll feel the most impact. Thank you all so much for the caring thoughts and encouragement. So far so good! I think my son - he's in Orlando, and has a second home at Wilbur Beach, just south of Daytona - will be more challenged. All digits are crossed. My current worry is the dozen coconuts in my very tall palm. They're like missiles in a high wind. I have forefingers pressed to my temples, eyes closed, and I'm chanting "just fall straight down, right now" :-)

Friday, September 30, 2016

McCalls 6987 - just had to try this...

This little adventure has taken most of my time for a week!

I've really enjoyed the tunic version of this pattern, and I've been so curious about the longer view. Earlier this week Birdybooo posted a darling version on Pattern Review. Which led me to Fabricsofcolor's wonderful version in an African waxed fabric.  Such inspiration!

This rayon challis from Girl Charlee has been hanging around in my stash since last October. I haven't used it because I knew that the pattern matching would be a beast. Sure enough, this thing kept me so busy. I drafted full pattern pieces so that I could lay them out flat (rather than on the fold) and have more control over the fabric and print. Challis is so shifty! I was pinning it to itself, the tissue, and my cutting board. Five hours to draft and cut...

The only change I made was to lift the back aspect by about 3". I just knew I wouldn't want quite so much 'hi-lo'. And I used the sleeves from the tunic, View A - they're really interesting and fun to wear.

 Check out all that pattern matching. The print has about a hundred things going on. Patting myself on the back...

So - one more pic of this version, in the light of day. I think this dress is unique and interesting. It just doesn't make my heart sing, which means I wouldn't wear it.

However, I knew going in that I could always chop it and make it into the tunic. It was super easy to do, and I like the result.

I'm glad it's finished! but looking forward to wearing it. Challis is a perfect fabric for Florida, and these colors just say autumn.

So, it's almost the weekend. I like a weekend project, it just feels right, and I've decided to give StyleArc a reprieve :-) In progress today - the Stevie boyfriend jean jacket. The one that the clothingengineer made for her mom snagged me!

Parting shot: how about a toad in a frog pond. This big guy has been spending all his time in this bird bath, making an awful mess and keeping the doves away. He's cute, but not a good housekeeper. So I emptied it. A few holes in the bottom, and it will be a cute flower pot.

Hope the weekend is nice for all - Bye for now. Coco

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Morris and Sabrina...

Or what to do with 5 yards of ponte de roma! I picked it up at a very good price at Fabric Mart earlier this year, thinking I would make a long cardigan for the change of seasons. But I've been on the fence about it. A long cardigan would be an almost zero-use item for me, wearable on maybe a few days in January or February. So it's been sitting in my stash, while I've been sewing down the fabrics around it. (I've been on a bit of a fabric fast for most of the year - my stash was getting out of hand. I will totally break out during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday sales!)

So, I decided to go with a second Boyfriend Cardigan as a compromise. Only one pic, because I just don't love it. I do have other plans for it - hopefully I won't re-cut and sew it down to nothing. 

A note here about my hair: it came up blonde in this and two more pics because I took them with the settings I had been using to photograph the moon. Clearly my camera still has the upper hand. I've become very vain about my gray hair - I love it!

With the cardigan behind me, I decided to make another Grainline Morris Blazer, but with a concession - I sewed it to the original drafting, with none of the little changes I made previously to the bottom edge. And I cut it with long sleeves, a simple change. I thought I might like it better than my two previous versions. It's such a cute jacket, and I've seen so many terrific makes of the pattern - the Grainline Flickr group is a lurkers heaven...

 Actually, this one's pretty nice. The fabric works really well, and the fit is spot on. On Emile, pending sleeves:

To keep the facings - neckline, front edges, and hem - nice and fluid, I used tricot knit lining for all my interfacing. The pattern suggests fusible tricot interfacing, but I did not want to risk 'freezing' the fabric, as fusibles often do. 

I hand-basted the interfacing/facing just outside the seam line and removed the basting once the facings were in place. I enjoy hand-sewing, so basting is right up my alley. I baste all the time!

I'm really happy with the result. By the way, as before, I top-stitched along the edge of the front facing. This seems to prevent the fabric drag, between the shoulder and bottom point, that haunts so many Morris blazers.

Added top-stitching, red lines

I could not believe I still had enough fabric to make one more thing. An easy choice - the Love Notions Sabrina Slims are one of my favorite pants. Absolutely like wearing PJs.

And the ponte is all used up, gone, done!

Ciao! Coco

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The slippery slope...baggy pants!

Persistence pays off - I love my new baggy pants!

And the path was anything but straight and level. Pants are hard. I was thinking about it last week, sitting on the floor in the loft, culling my pattern stash. House cleaning. I was tossing pants patterns left and right. It seemed like every other pattern in my stash had some variation of loose leg or wide leg, pleated waist, drawstring waist, elastic waist...I had a bunch of these things.

The house cleaning moment was brought on by completing my muslin of the Style Arc Daisy Pants. They just didn't work. I put a lot of effort into them - redrafting, fitting, ripping, sewing - but I felt like I ended up with a butchered pattern that didn't really work magic for me.

And then I got to the Vogue section of my stash. There it was - Kathryn Brenne's pants, the ones with the upside-down pocket on the leg. Those pants fit me better than any I've ever sewn. I've done them 3 times and wear them constantly. How about just modifying the lower leg?

Vogue 9114

Easy, and I love them.

They fit me so well through the waist, bum, crotch, and hip that I could wear them with a cropped top. The waist is fairly narrow, actually an inch or so less than my hips. But I just do that little wiggle thing when I pull them on, and it's wonderful not to have a ton of gathered fabric around my middle. 

Front view,


And side. No pulling at the pockets.

Just a couple sewing notes:
  • My fabric is Robert Kaufman yarn-dyed Essex linen, purchased from Craftsy. This is a fantastic linen/cotton blend, a perfect weight for pants at 5.3 oz. After prepping it with 3 passes through the washer and dryer, it has a lovely soft, pebbly-textured hand.
  • I used cotton broadcloth for the pocket facing, to keep the weight down in the side and waist seams.
  • A couple pics of the waistband detail:

    Inside and outside. The space on the inside center back is for insertion of the elastic. The seam allowances are basted down so that my elastic insertion gadget won't catch on them.
         Outside, with the elastic inserted and topped with triple-stitch zig-zag - no rolling allowed!

I'm making more of these for sure :-)

Tunic: Butterick 6024

Parting shot: I've been making glass seed bead necklaces, 32" - 34" long. I can't wear most jewelry findings, so I knot mine and use E6000 to secure the knots forever. Here they're hung over my work tray while the glue cures. These are fun. 

Ciao! Coco