Friday, November 30, 2012

Gift: Kwik Sew 3422 - A Shirt for The Preacher*

Hey, thanks for the lovely comments about my coat. I was down and out with a stomach bug for three days this week and your kind thoughts were a very welcome bright spot!

Three years ago I made a shirt for The Preacher. At the time I wasn't sure that it was a success, but he really liked it and continues to wear it often and really appreciate it. Decent quality shirting fabrics are really hard to come by locally so I don't do a lot of sewing for him. Okay, that's just an excuse. I bought a nice piece of shirting cotton in NY with him in mind more than 18 months ago and didn't do anything with it until now.

Kwik Sew 3422

It was The Preacher's birthday at the beginning of November, so I did some stealthy sewing and worked on this without him knowing. The sewing was stealthy, I guess, but the idea of this shirt wasn't really. He knew about the fabric when I bought it and had talked about making it a couple of times. I had tried to talk him into a trimmer fit and I thought the sleeves were too long, but he really didn't like those ideas. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized that if you're going to have the luxury of a "custom" shirt, then you should get to have it how you want. So this was made just like the first one.

Kwik Sew 3422

I had to give it to him without buttons because I didn't have any on hand that would work. I also wanted his opinion about which kind he would like. Then after I got the buttons, my machine needed some professional attention so the buttonholes had to wait. The Preacher waited patiently, but was very happy to wear his shirt when it was finally finished.

Kwik Sew 3422

I know not everyone feels the same way, but I really love sewing shirts like this - collars, cuffs, plackets, etc. I linked the various tutorials I use in this post. This fabric was really nice to work with and was certainly worth investing my time in. Knowing The Preacher would really appreciate it was a bonus, too.

*If you haven't been following along very long, The Preacher is aka my husband.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Simplicity 2508 - Orange Coat

I have more fabric than will fit in my fabric closet. It seems that a purge and reorganizing effort is on the horizon. But, before I get to that, I've queued up projects for some of the bulkier fabrics. I need the space that they take up. The first of these projects is a new coat for me!

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The fabric...
I purchased this orange coating fabric over a year ago when all the clearance fabrics at Fabricland were $1.00/meter. However, this is not a high-quality piece of fabric. It is mostly polyester and I don't expect it to wear well. I suspect it will pill. For that reason, I didn't invest a lot of time in the construction. Also, I'm thinking that I might get tired of an orange coat more quickly than something neutral, so I didn't see the need to use lots of elaborate techniques on this project.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The lining fabric was given to me by a destashing acquaintance. It isn't particularly fabulous, but it was on hand and perfectly serviceable. The entire coat is underlined with flannel for extra warmth. I should have taken a picture of the underlining. There are three different types of flannel included. No one piece was large enough. Stashbusting! I'm impressed with how much the flannel helps with warmth. Warm is good. We're getting snow and it feels like winter is definitely here.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The pattern...
Simplicity 2508 was the pattern I was originally going to use for this coat, so I had already made a muslin. Thankfully, I still had it. I had not made any changes to the muslin, so that's where I started. I'm 5'8" and everything about this coat was too short. I lowered the bust point, lengthened the sleeves, lowered the back tab (which originally looked more like it was spanning my shoulder blades than my waist) and added overall length to the jacket at the hem.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The raglan sleeve style is easier to construct than a set-in sleeve. There are many options included with this pattern and I think one could make a few very different looking coats from the same pattern. I particularly like these wide buttoned sleeve bands.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

The construction...
I didn't really use any tailoring techniques on this coat. The fronts and front facings are fully interfaced with a lightweight fusible. In hindsight, it seems that it would have been smart for me to interface all of the main pieces. My biggest concern was whether or not the buttonholes would turn out to be any good. A plane ticket to NY for a visit to Jonathan Embroidery is not an option right now. I tried a few different settings and they turned out pretty well when I stitched them twice.  The first pass was at a lower density and then I sliced them open. The second pass was done with both an increased width and density. They aren't perfect, but they did work pretty well.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

I highly recommend this series of tutorials from Kathleen Fasanella at Fashion-Incubator for joining the jacket lining, hem and facing all by machine. It feels a little like a puzzle the first time, but it really works and her explanation is excellent.

The final verdict...
I really do like this coat (and the space that it has created in my fabric closet). I think I could have gone down a size, but I really like the full range of motion that the roominess allows.

Simplicity 2508 - Coat

Even if this isn't a coat that I'll be wearing for years and years, I'm happy to have added it to my outerwear options for now. I don't go to work each day and am often at home, so people see my coats (school runs, grocery shopping, errands, etc) more than my winter clothes. The Canadian winter is long and bleak. Perhaps this colorful option will add some warmth for me in more ways than one.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gift: Clutch Handbag

At the end of the summer I shortened a dress for a friend. It was a dress she had worn as a bridesmaid in a wedding. Shortening it meant that she could wear it again and she did - as a wedding attendee. I was left with a pretty good size swath of fabric that was cut off the bottom of the dress. I didn't really have a plan for it, but thought it would be best to hang on to it.

Fast forward a few months....and I turned some of the fabric into a matching clutch:

Clutch Handbag

I drew up the pattern, but copied the shape of the bottom from one of my daughter's purses. The bag is underlined with a pretty heavyweight upholstery fabric. It gives it some heft and stability. The fashion fabric actually has a lot of stretch.

Clutch Handbag

The flap is finished with a bias binding and the bag closes with a magnetic snap. The inside is lined.

I actually made this gift using her sewing machine! She loaned it to me when mine needed some attention in the shop. She's a good friend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gift: Knitting Needle Case

Knitting Needle Case

I made this knitting needle case for my mom's birthday. It is intended for double-pointed and circular needles and I really like the zippy pouch to hold all the other knitting tools.

Knitting Needle Case

It folds up in thirds and ties with a ribbon. It's hardly visible in the picture, but I quilted the outer layer with a large diamond grid. The pattern called for fusible fleece, but I didn't have any on hand. Using regular batting worked pretty well.

Everyday Handmade

The pattern is from this book, Everyday Handmade by Cassie Barden and Adrienne Smike, which I picked up at my local quilt shop several months ago. The instructions were good and there are a number of other cute projects that I'd like to try, like this lady bug coin purse...

Project from "Everyday Handmade"

This Weird Science lap quilt is actually what made me want to buy the book. Love it!

Project from "Everyday Handmade"

But, actually, I should probably first make myself one of the knitting needle cases. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I had to pull my dpns and circulars out of a plastic bag for the picture up top. Not cool.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

(Incomplete) Black Wool Pants

For the most part, my blog posts are about finished items. These pants aren't finished yet. They need to be hemmed and I think I need to completely redo the waistband (a real bummer since it is totally completed). So, I wish this was a post about a finished item, but instead it is just a post where I am excited about something new to me.

SILK-LINED PANTS! Whoa.

Black wool pants

I think redoing the waistband will be worth it. I'm going to want to wear these all the time. So, of course, I want them to look good.

Both the silk and the black wool are from a trip to NY and I'm confident using them now since it's been awhile since anyone spit up on me or wiped their nose on me (thanks, kids!).

Black wool pants


I'm happy with how the welt pockets turned out. The wool was really nice to work with. My local Fabricland rarely carries high quality fabrics like this. These were a treat to work with.

Now, where's my seam ripper...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

McCall's 6603 - Grey Oversized Sweater

McCall's 6603

Hooray for busting some fabric out of deep stash! This sweater knit has been with me for a few years. It survived a couple of purges, but I always had a hard time deciding what exactly it should be. At some point, I bought a piece of matching Ultrasuede. I assume I had a plan in mind then, but it never happened. When I saw McCall's 6603, this fabric came to mind.


When I actually got around to making this top, I struggled to remember what I was actually thinking when I ordered this pattern. After a quick-and-dirty muslin, I ended up combining views A and D and significantly shortening the length.

McCall's 6603

I used the Ultrasuede for a hem band and the sleeve bands. Getting the corner mitered appropriately was done without any precision or calculating - just guessing and testing. I did have to do a wee bit of trimming after the stitching was done to get the edge sharp.

McCall's 6603

The pattern for the hem band in View D is a separate piece added on to the bottom. I didn't want that much bulk or the added length, so I just stitched the band on top of the bottom edge. 

McCall's 6603

The sleeve bands, however, did require self facing so there is a little more bulk there and the armholes are a little more rigid than I'd like. I just trimmed the extra off near the stitching on the inside.

McCall's 6603

Other random notes about the pattern:
  • The cowl piece has some shaping along the back seam.
  • I sized down one size from the envelope recommendation, but with this oversized style fit isn't much of an issue.
  • Assembling the pattern is very quick and easy. I spent way more time deciding what to do with the pattern options/fabric combos and how to do it than I did actually sewing it up.


McCall's 6603

I received a few compliments the day I wore it and people seemed genuinely surprised that I made it - not something that happens all that often anymore with people who know that I sew.

McCall's 6603

I also made the black long-sleeved T in the photos. From two short-sleeved mini-dresses. Because I thought that would be simpler. It wasn't. And that's all I've got to say about that.