Green Suede Jacket!

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It’s finished! This jacket is one of my favorite projects of all time. Despite often sewing projects requiring more skills than I possessed since 2009, I never made a real jacket (not counting Grainline’s Morris). I was intimidated, and also thought I didn’t really like wearing jackets. Well, lately I’ve been gravitating to the jackets in my closet, and when nothing else called to me in the January 2017 Burda issue, I decided to give it a go.

 

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What really sold me on this design was the top stitched elbow patches and back panel. What almost stopped me was the thought of sourcing all those zippers. I ended up just buying the one zipper for the front and leaving the rest off. It’s made in a sage green faux suede that has been in my stash for some time. I’m glad to see it go!

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Part of the joy of this project was all the topstitching. Having an edgestitching foot makes all the difference! So easy and SO satisfying.

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The color is nearly impossible to photograph, and ugh, photography. I have finally figured out a good set up to take my own photos, but they turn out terrible. I’m not sure if my phone isn’t focusing right, or light is bad, or what it is. When I take the photos on my dress form they turn out okay. When I take them with a remote they are grainy and out of focus. Sigh.

Photos aside, I’m so pleased with this jacket and the process of making it! There will be more jackets in my future, I’m sure!

The perfect work dress

Well, I’m still working on that jacket, with just the hems to finish! I swear I’ll finish this weekend. In the meantime, I finally wore this dress, which has been almost finished since August and finished since December. I knew it would make its debut at a board meeting, and it finally had its chance in February.

 

I love this dress. The fabric is interesting but subtle, the fit is spot on, and it has stretch so it’s also quite comfortable. The pattern is Burda 9/15 #116. I caught my breath when I first saw it in the magazine, and knew I had to make it. Now I have to make it again in a fabric that actually shows the seaming! This fabric is by Halston, via Fabric Mart, a stretch poly suiting with an interesting pebbly texture.

 

Okay, after all that praise, there is one thing I don’t like, and one thing I acknowledge isn’t perfect but I don’t care about. I flat out dislike the flare in the skirt back. I had a RTW dress with this shaping years ago, and didn’t like it then either. Totally forgot about that! If/when I make this again, I will change the back to a plain straight silhouette with a vent. The other quibble is that the color isn’t the most flattering, but it’s not too terrible.

In the end, it doesn’t matter and I love the dress anyway. It’s sure to be a go-to for quite some time!

A Cape to Match Aster

Here it is, the December Burda Cape! The cape that may have pushed me too far into crazy pet lady territory. I made Aster’s rain jacket first, in desperation, last winter after we brought him home and life was endless puppy walks in the rain. I used a coated cotton that had been in the stash a long time, and had enough left to make me something as originally planned.
I debated making the long version of the cape, but ultimately thought it would be too much lightweight fabric blowing around. I think that was the right choice, but I do wish I had added a few inches.

I left off the patch pockets and did not seam the arms, though I think I may go back and do it. I envisioned wearing this to work with my bag tucked up dry inside, but it’s really too short (my sweaters poke out!). If I’m not wearing it to work, a bit of anchoring would help–it’s windy up here on the coast! The other major design flaw is that the roomy hood blows off in the slightest breeze. I’ve put another snap right under the chin, which keeps it on pretty well.

This was my first time sewing with a plaid. I didn’t do so well. The pattern did include helpful match lines, but even then I wasn’t careful enough and there is some unfortunate seaming at the back and front bands. I hated it at first, but now barely notice!

I lined Aster’s jacket with a cheerful floral, and added a bit of bias at the cape neckline for a little more subtle matching. But the matching. I love it in theory, but was pretty self-conscious outside the house. It’s a little crazy, right? I think it will work, though. Aster doesn’t like his jacket so I only use it if it’s pouring, and in that case I would probably wear something heavier.

All together, I think it will be a great cover up for dog walking and running, particularly during the foggy days of summer. The fog can be so thick that you can’t really tell if it’s raining or just foggy, but with temps in the 60s it’s too warm for a jacket when exercising.

Side note: The amount of beige in these photos is alarming. This appears to be my photo spot, so I’d better figure something out! Curtains instead of closet doors, perhaps. The cat would like that, too!

Ogden Cami

I love camisoles. I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect thing, both in stores and with patterns. So far, I haven’t had much luck making camisoles, for various reasons. Usually there is something wrong with the neckline, or the finishing, or the shape. There was a camisole in a recent Burda issue that I meant to try, but then the Ogden Cami was released and everyone started making it and it looked great… I couldn’t resist.

I actually like it quite a bit! For this mock-up/test version, I used a loosely woven fabric that I think must be rayon. It was one of those online orders that doesn’t look very good in person, and I assumed this camisole would be pretty much unwearable. Turns out, it looks fine in the finished garment, maybe even a bit elegant! Since the fabric is a little sheer, I made a full lining rather than a facing. By the time I sewed the hems, though, I was running on autopilot and still didn’t believe this was a wearable garment, so I didn’t make any length adjustments. The lining peeks out a bit where the hems aren’t perfectly even, but I don’t really mind it when wearing.
I raised the neckline about an inch, based on photos of others’ projects. It’s the perfect depth now, and I absolutely love the soft v-neck shape. The rest of the camisole is rather swingy, which I like for the most part.
Excuse the rather lousy hemming job. I didn’t think the fabric would work out as well as it did! In a “real” version, I would hand roll the hems.
The project turned out well, however, if I’m being honest with myself I must do an FBA on the next one, as well as most other things I make. I don’t really understand what’s happened over the last couple years as my measurements haven’t really changed (slight bulking up from yoga pushed it over the edge? is that even a thing?), and I’m dismayed, but the truth is that my clothes don’t fit right anymore. I don’t really make resolutions, but a 2017 goal for sewing is to face facts and learn how to do an FBA.
Overall, this is by far the most successful camisole I’ve made, and I’m super excited to make a few in silk!

Burda Wrap Dress

 

I started October sewing with the wrap dress from last year’s October Burda Magazine (#112) that I’ve had my eye on. It’s one of those designs I wouldn’t normally go for, and I’m not sure how I feel about those puff sleeves. The rest of the dress is quite good, though.
Look at the photos! I know they are terrible, but it’s actually me in them and I am using a remote! Big step forward. Now I need to find a place to stand up my phone that doesn’t require climbing on a chair, although, honestly, I think it looks better on my dress form and am considering just giving up on real photos.
I didn’t have suitable fabric in the stash for this dress, and got this poly crepe on sale at JoAnn. It’s a good weight for this dress, but all the details totally disappear. I’m not happy about the visible print repeat either, but it’s most noticeable from the back and I won’t see that part in day-to-day wear.
The sleeves with the inset drew me to the pattern in the first place, but I don’t know. I had trouble setting them in because burda did not provide enough notches. Just one for the shoulder seam and one in the front. There was no indication that you should or should not ease the sleeve in aside from the gathered sleeve cap, and I’m pretty sure my gathering/easing is too centered, leading to bigger puffs than intended. I’m going to try wearing it with sleeves, but I predict they’ll come off before too long.

October Flowers

October is a summer month in San Francisco, so I made a skirt to match. It has been such a cold, gray, foggy summer, I am really looking forward to some warm sunny days (hopefully)!

 

I used Sewaholic’s Hollyburn pattern, and I love the way it turned out! I had doubts; I’ve never really liked the way circle skirts look on me. This pattern hangs very nicely, though, probably due to the grainlines. My measurements put me into a straight size 8, but I found the waist a little snug for my liking and used a smaller SA for the back seam to accommodate.

 

The fabric is a designer pick from Fabric Mart. I think it was Ralph Lauren, but not 100% sure. It’s a lovely cotton sateen that was so much louder in person than I thought it would be! For my shy self, it only barely works as a skirt! I did use some of it last winter to line my puppy’s raincoat–it worked beautifully for that and matches his personality perfectly!

 

Anna, a new favorite

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Months and months and months ago everyone was making BHL Anna dresses and raving about them, and I always thought hm, that’s a nice dress, nothing special, but nice. Then I caved and bought it, and last month I finally made it up. The, oh, it’s nice I suppose, thought persisted, even when it was on my dress form, but then I tried it on. Oh my goodness! There’s something amazing about the proportions of this dress. I feel wonderful in it!

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The dress you see here is actually my second Anna. The first is made out of a navy cotton/poly broadcloth and it looks like a faded, sad thing with stiff sleeves in photos, though I love the way it looks on. The success of that dress made me pick up the same pattern almost immediately to make this dress for a family wedding. It was a fantastic wedding guest dress – simple, comfortable, flattering, just so easy. It performed well when I had to run (seriously run) around helping my husband put hundreds of beet tarts together too!

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The fabric is one of my beloved J. Crew floral chiffons that I got from Fabric Mart about a year ago. It’s not a very sheer chiffon, but I underlined with black to make things simple. I could take the waist in about an inch, but decided to leave it as is for now. I knew this wedding was going to be more stressful than usual, and would rather have my dress feel a bit big than the other way around!

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This dress actually almost didn’t get finished in time. I still had a hem to do the morning of the wedding, and while I thought I would have enough time before we left my help was suddenly seriously required for the tarts and it got pretty iffy. Without even realizing it was the same dress right away, I assigned my blue Anna as a back up – I think that proves that this is a good pattern for me!

Finally, here is the assortment of desserts Eric made for the reception: beet tarts, bouchons, and green tea sables. This big tart was for his sister the bride – the others were just about 2″ in diameter and didn’t have any flowers. It was a lovely, fun day, and a week later we’re almost recovered!

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