Coppelia pullover

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Papercut Patterns is a brand new company for me, but here’s two in a row! I’ve enjoyed both patterns quite a bit, and this one was one of those magical knit projects that goes together beautifully. The fabric, a cotton sweater knit from Fabric Mart, certainly deserves some of the credit for this sweater’s success, but I want to make up the pattern again too!

I made the long version straight version. A dreaming cat is on my lap at the moment so I can’t get up to see what sizes were used, but as always I graded from a smaller size to a bigger size that happened to match my measurement perfectly at the hip. While I think it fits as intended, next time I will add a little more room at the hip and lengthen the top a bit more. I think this top will work great with dresses and skirts that sit closer to the natural waist, but it’s a little too tight and/or a little too short to be totally comfortable with pants.

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My very favorite thing about this pattern, which would make it worth it to me even if the rest of the pattern didn’t work at all, is the sleeves. They are absolutely perfect. I have an ancient tee from Target that also has the perfect sleeves, and while I should have been able to figure them out myself there’s always been something not quite right with my own attempts. Coppelia’s long, narrow cuffs are my dream come true and the lower sleeve and cuff shapes will be added to every other knit pattern I own from now on!

The one thing I’m not totally happy about is the bulk of the seams and the resulting ridge that you can see in these photos at every seam. I graded and used the clapper, but there’s still a bit too much bulk. The fabric is somewhat thick and dense, though, so I guess I understand…

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Finally my little cat. I think he’s been cuter lately, somehow.

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Cat and moon sweater

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I am absolutely terrible at social sewing challenges and sew alongs, but when Erin announced the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge I knew I had to participate. I looked for cat fabric all over the internet, and settled on a Japanese print with little cats peeking through fields of flowers for a flowercat western Archer. But then I saw this double knit and decided to go ahead and get it too, just in case October flew by and I didn’t have time for a more involved project… and it’s a good thing I did because October is flying by. I may still get that Archer done, but it feels good to not have a looming deadline on something that’s supposed to be fun.

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These photos were taken in a southwest-facing room on a foggy morning. Even dress form photos are difficult in this house!

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I had visions of a cozy Cation Dolman Top, and ordered two meters of this 60″ wide cotton fabric to be absolutely sure that my sleeves would be long enough. Clearly that’s not what ended up happening – when I pulled it out of the dryer it had shrunk to half its original size! I ended up making a Renfrew instead, and made the sleeves as long as I could. I like the finished sweater, but I’m still a bit disappointed. The fabric is thick enough that I can’t wear anything over it, and with sleeves this short I’m worried about being too chilly…

For a knit tee this was also a difficult sew. The fabric has that double layer, and is so thick that the bindings are bulky and look homemade. The fabric also has a huge amount of stretch and near-zero recovery, which resulted in a seriously stretched out neckline. I added a hefty pleat center front, and I think it looks okay in the end, but ugh, this was not the breezy project I expected!

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I do love the print, though, and it’s very soft and cozy. I’m sure it will get wear, either like this or as a sleeveless tank under cardigans if this sleeve length proves to be too awkward. Hooray for cats!

Floral scouts forever

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I’ve been sewing a lot of silks, synthetics, and soft knits lately, and despite the common assumption that these fabrics are tricky to sew I really wasn’t having much trouble. But then I made up this Scout tee in a cotton voile… oh goodness. I forgot what it was like to sew cotton! The insides of this top display perfection I forgot I am capable of!

This is my third (floral) Scout and I actually remembered to size down, which resulted in much better fit everywhere but the arms. They are comfortable as is, but I prefer just a bit more ease. I really love this pattern – it’s just right for my life!

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The fabric is from Gather Here, a sweet little store in Cambridge, MA, acquired a couple years ago when my mom and sister visited from California. I wanted to make something special with this fabric, but ended up with the simplest pattern that I already know and love. That’s probably for the best!

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I’m writing this with a warm catball on my lap. Now that he’s a grown cat he only barely fits under the table and doesn’t often join me for breakfast. I am ready to go sew, but it’s just too special!

Finished: Scout in silk chiffon

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This top was inspired by my work friend, Martha. She invited us over for brunch a couple weeks ago, and as we explored some of the shops in her neighborhood she started describing a lightweight chiffon top that would be ideal to wear to her son’s wedding in Chicago this summer, which inspired me to cut into this Anna Sui silk chiffon that afternoon!

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Yes, it’s still a size too big. What’s the point of taking notes if you never look at them??

I chose the Scout tee and just got started, despite being pretty intimidated by the fabric. Really, it went just fine, aside from a bit of trouble with the hems. In general, silk just isn’t as hard to sew as I thought it would be, even of the chiffon variety!

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I used french seams throughout, even on the sleeves, which was terribly exciting until I tried it on and found that I had definitely stitched the underarm seam too tight and couldn’t get the top off. Seriously, I’ve been in tight situations before, but this was by far the tightest. I came very close to cutting myself out before managing to wriggle out and survey the damage. I ended up just cutting off the sleeve and finishing the edges with bias. It’s sloppy, but without sleeves I don’t intend to wear it without a cardigan anyway, as if I even had a choice in this chilly climate.

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Cat patches, take two

For anyone who saw the previous, now deleted, post on this top, I’m sorry. I know I’m not alone in this, but I have the hardest time taking photos. It’s hard enough to actually take them, but then what do you do when you finally do take them, you’re excited about the garment you’re showing, but there’s something really wrong about your photos? In this case I just felt really dumpy. I hadn’t quite finished the top, and putting up the post gave me the last bit of inspiration needed to let the arms out a quarter inch and hem it. And then I took some mirror shots, because, realistically, I don’t think I’m going to get around to dragging Eric into the backyard to take photos of this weekend tee again. These mirror  photos are not good. They’re really worse than the original photos, but somehow I’m not as embarrassed to post them, even though this rayon double-knit wrinkles like mad, lighting is weird, I haven’t even brushed the hair I slept on wet, and I can’t take non-blurry mirror selfies to save my life. I feel like the tee is better represented in these terrible photos. I feel more like myself in them.

So this is what Saturday mornings in the Flowercat household look like, and this Deer and Doe Plantain tee fits in just perfectly – comfy, relaxed, and mildly cat-obsessed.

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“Oh, what’s going on here?” said Eric as he came in to say goodbye before leaving for work.

Doldrums. And a finished top from 2013.

Do you ever go through periods where you’re inspired, you make something, you’re excited during construction, and then it just doesn’t turn out quite right? And then that happens again and again and you wonder why you sew anyway? For the last few months, that’s been me. I have no fewer than six garments hanging around my workstation that just need hems or neckline finishing, but I just can’t seem to get it done because I don’t really like them. None of them are unwearable, either! They’re just not quite right.

Well, this post is getting depressing quickly! Not all recent makes have been disappointments. I have made a few Renfrews and a Plantain tee that I was so happy with I had to wear it before it got hemmed, so make that seven garments that need hems…

And then there is this sweater, which I made when my mom visited last Thanksgiving. It’s another Cation dolman sleeve top, made from a JoAnn sweater knit that I just had to buy when on a zipper run. I had only just decided to avoid synthetics, but couldn’t resist this print. I always have trouble saying no to an abstract but vaguely natural print in blues and neutrals.

ImageI raised the neckline a bit so that it would cover straps, but I think it was too much. I feel a little closed in at the neck and next time will either go back to the original pattern or lower the neckline at center front. There’s not really much else to say about this top. It’s the kind of simple, flattering garment that makes you feel elegant and put together with hardly any effort. I imagine my next version being made from some really luxurious knit, a silk or super-soft wool.

Well, I’m off to sew for another weekend! Despite my disappointments I suppose it’s garments like this and dreams of future versions that keep me coming back!

Finished: Tan Silk Top

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This is one of those garments that isn’t really special enough for its own post and I always meant to take better, more detailed photos, but I’ve accepted that just isn’t going to happen. I made this simple tan blouse out of a yard of tan silk purchased on super sale from Fabric Mart. It’s nothing special, but the color is perfect and I just love the feel of silk. The color actually matches Dandelion’s paws exactly but sadly he wasn’t in the mood to pose for a photo with me…