Muslin of Paco Peralta for Vogue Patterns V1527 Coat – and binge watching

Before anything else, a disclaimer. Paco is a close friend, and I am thrilled beyond belief that he has secured a license for some of his patterns with Vogue Patterns. Bravo, Paco!!!!

That said, I bought this pattern with my own money with no expectation of recompense neither.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can see that I started this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and I want to do this right, so I made a muslin. For my first muslin (yep, there are more than one) I traced off the pattern as-is in a size 12 and changed the seam allowances to 1 inch a la Susan Khalje’s couture sewing guidance. I knew this would need some adjustments, but going with the Vagaries of Fit: Shoulders, I started with the 12. That works well with my shoulder measurement. Here are some pictures of the first muslin.
collage-shot
You can see that the bust is not right, and the waist is a little snug. The sleeves are great. Normally I have to shorten all Vogue/McCalls/Butterick sleeves by at least 1/2 inch, but these are perfect for me. So I made those changes (I’ll show them in the ultimate pattern review) and made another muslin.. Here are shots on mesecond-muslin-shots-better-fit
And here is a picture of the back on Shelley – I couldn’t get a good shot on me, sorry
second-muslin-on-shelley

So far, I am really in love with this pattern! The next step is to cut it out in the fashion fabric. For that I will use Ralph Lauren Medium Wool Crepe for the main pieces, Silk/Wool Satin for the lapels, and Silk Habotai for the lining. All from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course.

Binge Watching “The Crown”! (I’m sure my Irish ancestors are spitting on me from heaven. Oh well.)

If you haven’t had the chance, check out The Crown on Netflix.

It is totally engrossing, and the fashion is amazing!

More to come shortly. Have a great weekend, and happy sewing!

Gorgeous Fabrics/Pattern Pairings for Sewing Inspiration

One of the things customers tell me they really like about Gorgeous Fabrics is our recommendations for patterns to pair with our fabrics. It’s one of the more fun aspects of my job, so today, I’ll talk about some of the newer patterns that have hit the market, and give you some suggestions for Gorgeous Fabrics that I think will work spectacularly well with them. Enjoy! -Ann

Dress for Success
cashmerette-pairing It’s heading into cooler weather here in the US, while our friends in the southern hemisphere are starting to warm up. A great silhouette that works for almost all seasons is the classic wrap dress. And one of the favorites of our customers is the Appleton Dress from Cashmerette. This great take on the look is perfectly suited to any of our ITY or rayon jerseys. It’s even a brilliant choice for some of our stretchier rayon doubleknits. Those will give you options for cooler weather. The three perfect pairings I’ve picked for this dress include, from the top:

Any of these will give you everything from work-ready to holiday party options!

Button Up Your Overcoat…
ccf-kelly-pairingOne of the hottest looks in outerwear right now is the anorak jacket. Closet Case Files just released their Kelly Anorak, and it’s got all the details you want! While traditionally thought of as cold-weather or rain gear, this jacket is more versatile – just think a little outside the box! You can, of course, make it into a hard-working, long-wearing coat for cooler weather, but it also makes a surprisingly elegant turn for an evening or dressier look with different fabrics. Try a satin or taffeta version for a fun, designer-inspired look! Check out these two options for dressing down or dressing up:

It’s Jean-etic
georgie-pairingI can’t live without my jeans. Even though I love dressing up, jeans are my go-to garment on many days. There are tons of great jeans patterns available to the home-sewing enthusiast, from classic 5-pocket versions to the more athleisurely take on the look: pull on stretch jeans. StyleArc has come out with a great pattern for this comfortable wardrobe staple, the Georgie Stretch Woven Jean. Make a “classic” take on it with:

For a bright look that will enliven any wardrobe:

Jacked Up Jackets
m7513-pairingA great jacket or blazer is a cornerstone of any wardrobe, and as sewing enthusiasts, we can make all different styles! One that just came on the market is McCalls M7513 Peplum Jacket. I really love that this pattern gives you both sleek and “foofy” options for the peplum, so you have lots of variety by varying peplum and fabric. From a tailored version with wool, to a fun animal print for dinner or weekends, to a showstopper in brocade, this versatile jacket can take you just about anywhere! Try it with:

Or for a slinky entrance-maker:

Formal Introductions
v1527-pairingWith the holidays just around the corner, let’s finish with a formal look. This one comes from my friend Paco Peralta, a couturier in Barcelona, by way of Vogue 1527. This three-piece outfit includes a lovely straight skirt, a blouse with a jabot style tie and (this is what I adore) a long tuxedo style jacket. On the pattern, they show it in black and white. But for holiday, I love it with a rich red and black print blouse. It’s beautiful, and it evokes Spain! I would make this (actually I will make this) with these three fabrics for the tux, blouse and trim for the collar. From the top:

I hope this gives you a little inspiration, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have putting it together for you.

Happy sewing!

Note: I have no affiliation with any of the pattern companies mentioned here, and I receive no financial compensation for mentioning their patterns or linking to them. In fact, they have no idea I wrote this post, so click away with a clear conscience!

Pattern Review: StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top


Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website – Embrace the trend this season and wear the fashionable “Cold Shoulder Top” with its cut out shoulders this top is designed to hug the body and looks great with your jeans. Make it with a long or short sleeve.

I made the long sleeved version.
Continue reading Pattern Review: StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top

Sucky Selfies

Thanks, all, for your thoughts and comments on Preferences. Special shout out to Sewing Faille, whose description of the time, treasure and talent involved in getting a good set of pictures was so painfully funny, it practically made me spew coffee on my screen. I will continue to post construction pictures, and I’ll try to get shots of me in the clothes, but no promises that it will happen every time. In fact, I can reasonably assure you that it will continue to be a minority unless I can get my stupid Amazon remote photo clicker thing to work. It supposedly does with my camera, but it never has, and I’m not even sure where it is right now… Oh well.

Continue reading Sucky Selfies

Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers


Pattern Description: From the pattern envelope: “Misses/Misses’ Petite Pamts and Belt: Above-waist, creased pants ABC have fly front zipper and back darts. A, B front darts. C, D: front tucks. A: button trim and cuffs. B: carriers and belt.”

I made view B, but I skipped the belt and I’ll used a purchased belt instead.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Butterick 5250 (OOP) High Waisted Trousers

Pattern Review: Retro Butterick B6734 Dress

Man, it has been a week. My mother passed away peacefully last Friday after a very long battle with Alzheimer’s. That was a blessing. She’s with Dad now, which is good. The family drama that accompanied her death? Not so much. I’m not going to bore you with the details; every family has its own version, I’m sure. It’ll pass, like a kidney stone maybe, but it will pass. Her funeral was today, and it was lovely. I was able to hold it together until the incensing of the casket. That killed me.

Sigh…

But, as they say, life goes on. Last week I bought Butterick 6734, a retro dress with some style variations. I’m not usually much of a retro girl, but I do like some of the styles from the 1940s and this one really appealed to me.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Retro Butterick B6734 Dress

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1325 Bolero Jacket

Okay, before I begin, can I just tell you? This week – I want to just end this week. I want it to be Friday. In fact, I want this month to miraculously turn into September. And even more than that, I want this year to turn into next year, KWIM? It has nothing do to with anything outside of my family. It’s just been that kind of week.

Sorry, had to let that out. Where were we? Oh yes, deep, calming breath. The Elves suggested I go home today after getting a phone call from my sister, so I took their advice and worked on my Simplicity 1325 jacket. They call it a jacket, I call it a bolero; it’s a bit of a hybrid.
Continue reading Pattern Review: Simplicity 1325 Bolero Jacket

Favorite Garments to Make

I’m working on a jacket today, Simplicity 1325.  Yesterday I was planning to make some knit tops that would transition from summer to fall, but I first decided to clean my sewing room at home. Seriously, it had been over a year since I have been able to see the entire surface of my sewing machine table. And don’t ask me about the piles of interfacing lying on my little cubby cabinet. The room had become overwhelming to me, and I couldn’t function in there, so clean clean clean it was!

How nice to not have to move things around just to sew a seam!
How nice to not have to move things around just to sew a seam!

Continue reading Favorite Garments to Make

Pattern Review: McCalls 6996 Cardigan


Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website, “Close-fitting, unlined jackets have raised neckline with front or front band extending into gathered back collar, long sleeves and stitched hems. A, B: Lower back peplum and shaped front hemline. D: Self-belt”

I made View A.

Sizing: This is interesting. The website says 4-26, but the printed version I have is XS/S/M. I made Medium, which is equivalent to a 12/14. I can’t remember when exactly I purchased my copy, so they may have changed the sizing since I bought it.

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Designer Rayon Jersey in Steel, from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MO654DE, Naomi the Naomoto/ironing board, sleeve board, ham, shoulder stand.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, two scraps of Pro-Tricot Interfacing, selvage of silk organza, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tips and Tricks for Sewing With Knits, Just About Anything by The Pressinatrix, How to “Flat Set” a Sleeve.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? They were fine. I didn’t really need them. This is a pretty simple pattern to make, and it’s really well drafted and goes together beautifully.

Construction Notes: I did a couple of things differently from the instructions. Obviously, I flat-set the sleeve, instead of setting it in the round. They have you gather each center back collar pieces to a 3 1/4 inch length of purchased seam binding. Instead, I stitched the CB collar seam, then gathered that to a single 3 1/4 inch length of silk organza selvage. I prefer silk organza to seam binding for a few reasons. One, I have it lying around my sewing room all the time, so it’s essentially free. Two, it adds no bulk, and using a single piece instead of two pieces of seam binding reduces bulk even more, and three, it’s not at all itchy.

You can see the organza peeking out under the CB seam

I also stabilized the shoulders with scraps of tricot interfacing

I did narrow hems all around

Neckline Hem

Likes/Dislikes: I love the design lines: the quasi peplum

Not too peplum-y

The angled shoulder seams

And the general drape of the garment. There’s really nothing I don’t like.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Gosh yes and gosh yes! I could see making several of these, and I think they would make great holiday gifts too.

Conclusion: This pattern is a real winner! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get some on me when the weather cools a bit more.

Front
and Back

My mojo is still going strong, and I’m thinking I would like to do something more along the couture lines. I have no idea what. But I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Simplicity 8166 Tunic

Despite the drought and oppressive heat here in Boston, my sewing mojo has been in full bloom!

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website – “Misses’ peasant style blouse and dress features a shirring or bow tie neckline to create a chic look. Pattern also includes skirt and pant”

I made the bow-blouse/tunic, view D

Sizing: 8-22. I made a 12.

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Easy Care Paisley Charmeuse from Gorgeous Fabrics. That fabric is, alas, long since sold out, but Here’s a Page with similar fabrics that would work well for this top (or the dress).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, sleeve board, Clover Hold It Stiletto.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Superior So-Fine #50 Thread (more on that later), Maxi Lock Thread (in the serger). Clear snaps, 1/4 inch elastic, Interfacing from stash.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Quick Tip – Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? More or less (more on that in the Construction Notes section)

How were the instructions? Hmmm. I’ll give you an anecdote. About a dozen years ago, when I toured Simplicity’s then-headquarters on Park Avenue, I asked one of their folks about their instructions and why they were… less than I would like. Her response was, “We will never put more than 2 double-sided pages of instructions in an envelope.” When I pressed her, using Claire Shaeffer’s instructions as a counterpoint, her expression hardened and she said again, “We will NEVER put more than 2 double-sided pages of instructions in an envelope.”

Ooooookay…

Moving right along,

Construction Notes: I made an FBA
8166 FBA
I did NOT like their method for inserting the placket. The elastic was too long, and it just looked Becky-Home-Ecky to me. I applied interfacing to the plackets and sewed them into the CF opening as you would a sleeve placket, with the plackets overlapping. Instead of elastic/button closures, I used clear snaps as closures. I thought about using decorative snaps, but the ones I have in stash are just a skoosh too big, so I went with these.

Here you can see the snaps

I also found, with this method of placket construction, that I needed only 5 snaps, instead of 8 buttons.

I used my favorite way of setting a sleeve, and if I do say, it works great!

That’s a nice shoulder line!

One note: the sleeve elastic guide is WAY too big. You can see it in the pattern picture – the sleeve gapes away from the model’s wrist. The guide for a size 12 is 9 inches. I only needed 7 1/4 inches. My advice is measure your wrist and add about a half inch to 3/4 of an inch. That’s more than enough and it won’t cut off circulation.

Likes/Dislikes: I like the look of this pattern. It’s got a vaguely 70s vibe. I really dislike the way they have you construct the front closure, and I’m not crazy about the instructions in general.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. I only need one of these blouses. Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Conclusion: Despite my reservations, I do like the way it turned out. If the weather ever cools here in Boston I’ll try to get a picture of me in it. In the meantime, here it is on Shelley.

About the thread. I was contacted by a very nice man from Superior Threads earlier this year. He wanted to know if I would be interested in carrying their thread, and sent me several samples. This one just happened to match my fabric well, so I used it for this project. I was suitably impressed! It is quite fine, as the name implies. They recommend using an 80/12 topstitch needle with it, but I think they target a quilting market, rather than a garment sewing market. It worked fine with a Universal 70/10 needle. I like it because it doesn’t shred. I’ve had a real problem recently with some Gutterman thread shredding as it feeds through my machine. I know it’s not the Pfaff, since other threads don’t have that problem. This thread seems to be strong enough to stand up to regular wear and tear. I’ll let you know as time goes. I’m the first to admit I’m not a thread expert, but this one seems like a winner. I haven’t decided if I’m going to carry it, but you can link to the manufacturer above. I receive no compensation for any links, and I am not affiliated with Superior Threads, so click through with impunity!

Not sure what I’m going to make next, but I’m hoping inspiration comes soon, since my mojo is going gangbusters.

Happy sewing!