Saturday, July 20, 2013

Simplicity 2057 Coat

My Chenille Coat Experiment

Front view showing in-seam pockets

This coat started out as a bit of a disaster.  I found some beautiful chenille fabric in the back of the store, clearance room, dig deep in the pile, "We really need to get rid of this fabric" table at a local fabric store for a whopping $1.00 a yard.  So, I splurged and bought 10 yards of it.  It had a wonderful feel to it, very soft and pliable.  I had no idea what I was going to make with it, but it was such a good deal, I couldn't pass it up.

Upon arriving home, I immediately threw it in the washing machine to pre-shrink it.  It rumbled and tumbled in the washing machine making lots of noise as the machine finally came to the end of it's cycle.  I think the fabric was actually crying "Help!" while being tumbled around in there.  I opened the machine and gasp at the wrinkled, shriveled up mess my "very expensive" fabric had become.  I threw it on the washing line to dry while I decided what to do with my now permanently wrinkled mess.  I figured anything else I did with it couldn't hurt since it was pretty much already ruined. 

Close up of coat front
I decided to embrace the new texture of my fabric and work with the wrinkles.  I ironed on some inexpensive Pellon interfacing to the back side, manipulating the wrinkles as I went.  And actually, it was turning out to be quite a nice surprise.  The picture above shows a little bit of the new texture.  I was now glad I had purchased so much of the fabric since it had now shrank to about 1/2 it's original size in width.
I then proceeded to make the rest of the coat.  It's a fully lined, knee length coat with in-seam pockets, a waistband, separate mock flaps on the front and a flap on the upper back.

Close up of jacket front with pocket flaps

The mock pocket flaps on the front I backed with a nice oriental satin fabric - this helped reduce the bulkiness of my now very heavy fabric.
Oriental lining on mock pocket flap

I used the satin for the undercollar and the back flap as well.

Oriental lining on undercollar

Of course I had to add in a wild print for the lining as well.  This fabric had been in my stash for about 10 years and I was glad I could finally use it!
My crazy lining!

All in all, I think my coat turned out very nice.  It's definitely warm with all of the additional interfacing and polyester lining!  

Back view

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Abbey Coat by Jamie Christina

This is The Abbey Coat by Jamie Christina.  A wonderful pattern for a fun little coat.   The fabric I selected is a sea green herringbone Pendleton Wool I purchased at the Sewing Expo in Puyallup a few years ago.  When I first saw this pattern on-line, this piece of fabric immediately came to mind. 
I did make one change to pattern.  I didn't want the 3/4 length sleeves that are standard on the pattern, so I lengthened them to full length sleeves instead.


As for the lining, I had some cheap polyester lining already in my stash with some wonderful Japanese inspired cranes printed on it.  I know, why would I pair a cheap polyester lining with a fabulous Pendleton Wool, but the colors were perfect and I hate to have a boring lining inside anything!

This was my first time using a Jamie Christina pattern and it won't be my last.  The instructions were very well written with lots of pictures along the way. This is a fun little coat that I'm sure I will make again.  I highly recommend this pattern.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sewing Workshop Olive Top

This blouse is the Olive Top from The Sewing Workshop's Alex & Olive Tops pattern.  It is a scoop neck knit pullover with diagonal side seams and an exposed decorative back zipper placed on the diagonal. 
The knit fabric I purchased at the Puyallup Sewing Expo a few years ago from The Sewing Workshop's booth.  I liked both sides of the fabric so much, I decided to use the wrong side for the sleeves.  Laying out the pattern took a little thought as I wanted to have the stripes going two different directions on the back piece. I did a quick drawing to reference as I laid out the pattern pieces and this helped out a lot. 
For the back zipper, I decided to highlight it by placing a bold red plastic zipper with red rick rack and a black and white ribbon on each side as well.  I think it looks quite nice!  It is very comfortable to wear and I receive a lot of compliments each time I wear it. 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

McCalls 6400 Knit Top

I love this blouse.  It's a simple knit top that is easy to make in an afternoon or evening. It uses one pattern piece - same piece for the front and the back and only requires a little over 1 yard to complete (size Medium).   The pattern itself looks a bit wonky when you first lay it out, but it ends up hanging on the bias and is very comfortable to wear.

This is view B from the pattern envelope.  It has one elbow length sleeve and one 3/4 length sleeve.  The hemline is asymmetrical and the lengths under the armholes are different depths as well.  Since it's the same pattern piece for the front and back, the boat style neckline makes it easy to change your mind on which side you would like to wear in the front.  Comes in handy if you spill something on the front of your blouse!   I will definitely make this pattern again.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Anthropologie Inspired Pants Alteration

I love shopping at Anthropologie just to get ideas.  I am inspired by their fearless use of materials, prints and trims that sometimes makes my sewing mind just cringe at the thought - "You can't pair that fabric with that trim, it's just not right".  But Anthropologie frees you from the sewing rules of yesterday and gives you the power to say "Yes you can" and it looks great!  So I thought I would give their style of fabric mixology a try and here's what I came up with. 
I decided to experiment on a pair of lined wool tweed pants I picked up at my local Salvation Army a few years ago. Yes, they have been hanging on my "to do" rack for quite awhile just waiting for the right bit of inspiration.  I starting looking thru my scrap box to see what I could find that would compliment the black and white tweed.   I found a leftover wool sleeve with a herringbone pattern and a piece of a pant hem from a prior alteration. These would be perfect! 

The pants already had in-seam pockets in the front, but I wanted to highlight them a little.  I measured the length of the pocket and designed a flap that would work. A picture of the pattern for the flap and the back pocket is below with seam allowances added.

I also made a tagboard template of the pocket without seam allowances.  Tagboard templates are very helpful when you need to sew curves and points.  Simply pin (or hold if you can) the template in place and sew right next to the edge of the template.  This way you aren't guessing where you should stop for the point of the flap and both sides will turn out perfectly. 
After making 4 pocket flaps with buttonholes and two lined pockets, it was time to sew them on!  The front flaps weren't behaving well under the machine so I ended up finishing them by hand in order for them to lay correctly. 

Sew on the back pockets, add the flaps and finish them off with handmade clay buttons and Voila!  A nice pair of wool lined pants with a little "Anthropologie" flair to them. 

I hope these pants will inspire you to create your own version of Anthropologie Inspired Pants. 

Happy sewing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Upcycled Christmas Tree Garland

How to create a Christmas Tree Garland from felted sweaters.

Start with a few previously felted sweaters. I used 3 sweaters for this garland.

Cut out two circles from cardstock or tagboard to use as a template.  I used a 1.5 inch circle for the outer circle and a 1 inch circle for the inner.  Use this template to cut out lots and lots of circles from the felted sweaters.  I kept these circles in glass jars until I was ready to start sewing.  This is a great mindless project to do in front of the t.v. 

Next, decide on what color thread you would like to sew the garland together.  I chose a red, polyester thread.  A topstitching thread would be a great choice as well.  Then, line up your circles edge to edge and start sewing them together in a continuous line.  I like to stack a small circle on a large circle to add a little more color, but you don't have to.  Just simply line up the circles assembly line style and sew them together in a straight line. 

Note: you may need to slightly lift up the presser foot to accommodate the increased thickness of two circles.
The finished product!  Since it's July at the moment, I don't have a Christmas tree up so I decided to use one of the bushes in my front yard as a model.  Can't wait to see what it looks like on the Christmas Tree this year!

Happy Sewing!