Happy May, everyone! It’s been a busy several weeks, with work, teaching a very fun seminar (“The Pressinatrix Live!”) for ASDP, and all sorts of things going on. One of the biggest things that is coming up is that DS the Elder is about to graduate from college.
Oh. My. God.
And of course, I had to make something to wear. I made my Butterick 6446 Dress for Easter, but Easter here in Boston was 87 degrees, and we had dinner out on the deck, so rather than sweating in my new dress I decided to save it for wearing to the graduation. Now, since mid-May Boston weather is notoriously fickle, I wanted to make something to wear over it, and after some thought I decided to make a spring version of Paco Peralta’s V1527. I’ve made this before in a heavy wool crepe, so I didn’t make any major changes. I’ll highlight the few differences. First, I shortened it by about an inch.
I made this version from a twill satin from Gorgeous Fabrics. That is long since sold out, but you can find Similar Fabrics Here. It’s got a lot of body, and it stands away from the body. It’s not heavy but it has a pretty stiff hand. This fabric, while lovely, was NOT interested in easing.
It doesn’t shrink and while it didn’t catch and get tucks under the stitching, it also wouldn’t ease into the armhole smoothly. If I were to do it again, I would probably do a slightly different sleeve-head treatment – maybe a darted sleeve head. As it is, it turned out okay, but I’m not really happy with it. You can see why in the detail shot of the shoulder:
Good afternoon, campers! I’ve been busy as can be on several things. You’ll see the fruits of my labors over the next days, and if you follow me on Instagram you can see the slow progress I’m making on my current project. But in the meanwhile, here’s a post that everyone seems to love: Gorgeous Fabrics/pattern combinations to make your own versions of the most current trends in fashion!
All the top models are sporting denim this spring, but not the skinny jeans that have been so ubiquitous in the last couple of years. No, the silhouettes range from voluminous dresses worthy of Tilda Swinton to denim “suits” done up with mom-jeans and jean jackets. My personal favorite is the one that Vogue showed on model Frederikke Sofie in Paris: an easy coat thrown over a denim jumpsuit. Make your very own version by pairing Stretch Denim – Black Wash with McCalls M7330 jumpsuit. Finish it off with a chic topper made by combining Italian Suit Weight Flannel – Black with Burda Style 01/2016 #127 Shell Jacket. You’ll have a look you can wear three seasons of the year! (skip the cigarette, though)
The blush pink trend that launched in 2016 shows no signs of abating. A look I love takes a mannish suit and makes it in pink. The pink tones down the androgyny while the androgynous cut of the suit takes away any saccharine tendencies of the pink. To get the look, pair our Italian Double Faced Satin – Peach Puree/Blossom Pink with Named Patterns’ Aava Tailored Blazer and StyleArc’s Eddie Pleated Pants. Now, that’s a uniform for a tough-gal princess. Oh, and an added bonus – if you don’t want all pink all the time, you can make the jacket using one face of the fabric, and the pants from the other.
Save on All the Featured Fabrics Through Friday!
And to give you even more inspiration, you can save 20% on each of the fabrics featured in this article through Friday, April 21st!
No coupon necessary, the markdown is already taken for you.
I hope that gives you some inspiration for your spring sewing. Spring is coming to Boston – slowly! Until next time, which should be soon…
Long one coming up! I love this type of blouse, and I have since I was young. When I saw Paco had included it as part of his Vogue Pattern V1527 I knew I would have to make it. Then this silk came across my desk and the rest is history…
Pattern Description: (From Vogue’s website) Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs.
Sizing: 4-18, I made a 12
Available as a PDF? No
Note: Theresa pointed out that the pattern requires 3.5 yards and that seems like a lot. I pulled 3.5 yards per the instructions and I have a solid yard left over. I think the yardage requirements are wrong. Do yourself a favor, especially if you have an expensive fabric, and measure the pattern. Realistically, on a size 12 body, 2.5 yards of 45 inch fabric should do a blouse unless you have a very large print that you are trying to match.
Even better, both these fabrics are still available! That almost never happens. I usually don’t get the chance to sew something until the fabric is long since sold out, so it’s a treat to show you a fabric that’s on the site. Did I mention we have our 10th anniversary sale going on right now? Get 10% off, plus US shipping is flat $10, regardless of how much you order! International peeps get a $10 gift certificate upon ordering, good for a future purchase.
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable iron and board, sleeve board, ham/stand, shoulder stand, pressing finger, bamboo chopstick, point presser.
Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle in the sewing machine, Universal 70/10 needles in the serger. Vilene Shirt interfacing (a gift from Paco Peralta last year), pearl buttons, self-covered buttons, basting thread, thread, hand needles.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.
How were the instructions? They were fine. This is not a terribly difficult pattern. The fabric choice can make it tricky to work with, but it’s a good pattern for anyone who’s been sewing for a while. If you’re intermediate level you should have no trouble with this.
Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. It went together pretty readily, but I noticed that the bust point on the pattern was really high:
The pattern bust point marking is 8 inches from the shoulder line. I checked it against the printed pattern to make sure I didn’t make a transfer error. Nope. 8 inches. I don’t know anyone over about age 10 who has a bust apex 8 inches below the shoulder line.
I tried the muslin on to see if it mattered, and there was a slight drag line between the bust point and the armscye, so yes, it does make a difference, especially if you are large busted. I made a small FBA, mostly to drop the bust point down to where it should be. Drag line gone. I also shortened the sleeves about 5/8 inch, which is not unusual for me with Vogue patterns.
Vogue recommends lightweight fabrics like crepe de chine or charmeuse for this pattern. Because my silk crepe was heavier than recommended, I made some modification to the construction. They have you use French seams for the sleeve and side seams. I did a mockup to see what I thought of it with my 3-ply crepe.
With this fabric, that would put 8 layers of fabric into the seam at two points – where the yoke joins to the front and back. That’s a lot of bulk, so I decided instead to use standard 5/8 inch seam allowances and finish the raw edges with a 4-thread overlock.
This is a judgement call. If I had used a georgette or charmeuse, the French seam would be great, and would give an elegant finish. But my fabric was heavy enough that I think it would have been a bit of a disaster. I heartily recommend doing mockups with scraps when you are dealing with situations like this.
The pattern recommends using fusible interfacing. I decided instead to use sew-in interfacing. The Vilene that I used is nice and crisp, but I wanted to avoid bulk in the seams, so I cut both the Vilene and I also cut silk organza. I stitched the Vilene to the organza just outside the seamlines. I trimmed the Vilene close to the stitching, leaving just the organza seam allowances. Voila, less bulk!
I used purchased pearl buttons for the front closure
I made self-covered button cufflinks. I fused a scrap of lightweight interfacing to the silk to give it a bit more support and to make it easier to cover the buttons.
Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It was a pleasure to sew, and the fabric was a joy to work with. The pattern is beautifully drafted and goes together without a hitch. Do test runs of your seams to see how the French seam works with your fabric.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I would, and yes I do! This is another winner from Vogue and Paco.
Conclusion: A beautiful classic, something that I will wear for years to come. At some point I’ll get a shot on me, but here it is on Shelley:
First up, I hope all my friends who celebrate it had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! It was delightful to have the kids home. Both our boys were off from college all week, so we got to spend lots of time with them. Last night was really wonderful, because a bunch of their friends came over and we made homemade pizzas. The house was filled with laughter and happiness.
Second, this is a long post, so grab a cuppa or a glass and settle in. And just to add the normal disclaimer, Paco is a very dear friend. I bought this pattern without any urging from him, and I get nothing from anyone for doing this review. So here we go!
Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, single-button closure, shawl collar, in-seam pockets, two-piece sleeves, back vent and contrast inset. Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs. Semi-fitted skirt has back invisible zipper.”
I made the jacket- though I refer to it as the tuxedo coat.
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Reliable iron and ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth, clapper.
Needle/Notions Used: Buttons that my dear friend Rosie brought back from Paris for me a while back. Hair canvas interfacing that was in my stash (not sure where I got that one from, sorry), 1/2 inch Tailor’s Set-in Shoulder Pads, sleeve heads that Paco sent me ages ago, thread.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes!
How were the instructions? Not great: I had several issues. I’ll send this list to McCalls to let them know as well.
Problem 1: There are 8 pages of instructions. I got pages 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and another 5/6. I didn’t get 7/8.
I understand from several friends who have this pattern that they had the same issue. Paco sent me a picture of the last two pages of instructions, and I’ll ask McCalls to send me a copy of the PDF so I have a complete set.
Problem 2: The instructions and pattern markings conflict on the front interfacing.
The cutting instructions tell you to interface the entire front piece. But the pattern piece, and the illustrations in steps 3 and 5 all indicate that you only interface the facings. The ultimate answer to the question, “Well, which is it?” depends on your fabric and interfacing. In my case, I knew I only wanted to interface the facing. But that’s because I know what I’m doing.
Problem 3: The instructions omit one small but potentially crucial step. After step 8, clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the small dots and press open. If you construct the buttonholes and follow the illustrations as written you’ll block the hole.
Problem 4: The instructions don’t explicitly tell you to hem the sleeves. They have you baste the sleeves , then they tell you to attach the lining to the sleeve at the hem. This will give you a wibbly wobbly hem, especially after putting the jacket on and taking it off a few times. I hemmed the sleeve attaching the lining to it. Doing this will give you a crisper finish that will withstand wear and tear better.
Much as I love Vogue Patterns, I’m going to lay the blame for this at their feet. I’m pretty sure Paco didn’t write the directions, and even if he did, someone at Vogue should have caught the discrepancies before publishing them.
Construction Notes: I Made Two Fitting Muslins to get the fit the way I want. It was pretty good out of the envelope, but to make it better I did a FBA
and I added about 1 inch around at the waist, sigh… Other than that, I didn’t make any major sizing changes.
I inserted sleeve heads to support the shoulder/sleeve.
After making the buttonhole, I decided that I didn’t want a small button. Rather, I wanted a statement button, so I closed up the buttonhole and I used a snap closure and stitched the button on. (Yah, I know – it’s a men’s-style close. Sue me.)
I used the smaller buttons (which fit through the buttonhole) on the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the buttons so you can see the details.
Likes/Dislikes: Instructions aside, I LOVE this pattern! The lines are beautiful, it makes me look long and lean. It’s fabulous. Period.
The dislike is the instructions. That’s fixable. As long as the pattern is well drafted (it is!) and the fit is reliable (it is!) you can work around the instructions.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. How many of these does one need? But I am saving this in case I change my mind, and I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is one that will stretch your abilities and give you a beautiful result. Make a muslin, that’s my biggest recommendation.
And of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a pink duchesse satin that would look fabulous in this design for Easter. Maybe with some of the silk satin left over from my Wedding Gown Refactor as the lapels. Hmmmm…
Conclusion: A great pattern. Keep in mind the instructions issues and power through and you be rewarded with a great garment! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on me later this week.
I am so happy with this jacket! Hopefully I haven’t put you to sleep. And as a parting shot, here’s Hoover saying “I like the holiday season.”
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
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…
One 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:
I 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:
Jacked Up Jackets
A 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:
With 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.
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!
My dear friend, Paco Peralta, couturier extraordinaire of Barcelona, was just published for the first time this week in the Winter/Holiday edition of Vogue Patterns. ¡YAY Paco! ¡Congratulations and felicidades!
Paco and I were internet friends for years, but I had the delightful opportunity to meet him and spend an afternoon with him, his sister, and our friend Vera when DH and I visited Barcelona a couple of years back. He is an absolute love, and his sister, Isabel, is just as wonderful. We had the greatest time, and I can’t wait to go back and see him again. Next time I’ll brush up on my Spanish!
I’m Not Generally One for Looking Back on the year past, but 2015 was a good year for things in my wardrobe that I just love, so here are my top 6. Yeah, I know – “What? Top 6? I thought it was Top 5?” What can I say? I’m a rebel. From number 6 favorite to number 1, these are the garments that I pull out of my closet or bureau and feel great wearing:
It was a toss-up between these shorts and my Modified Kwik Sew Duster (okay, yes, I cheated and it’s technically 7 winners, but indulge me). The reason this one made the list is because I wore these incessantly from when I pulled them off the ironing board until the cold weather hit. That was about a two week span, here in Boston, so I am sure they will get lots of wear next summer. Plus I got some very good feedback on this pattern that helped me make the second one better. Thanks GOMI!
Surprised by this? I am. When I made this top, I was unsure of it. It didn’t fit the ‘fit profile’ I was searching for at the time. But I thought it would be nice to do a compare/contrast between indie and big 4 Breton-style tops. Well. Over the months, this gets pulled out and worn on a very regular basis. So it’s a winner, and I will definitely make some more.
You know, I don’t buy from other fabric stores often, but when I do, it’s spectacular fabric that I can’t lay my hands on. I have worn this dress three times so far this year, and every time I get stopped by people asking me where they can buy it. It’s a testament to this dress and fabric that I’m going to wear it tomorrow night to ring in the New Year.
If a piece of clothing could be the Perfect Man, this would be it. This coat is so beautifully drafted, yet so simple, that it sets off the wearer (that would be me) beautifully. It inspired DH to buy me a vintage Hermès “Petite Mains” scarf for Christmas to go with it (love that man!!). Paco – your designs are GORGEOUS!
This year, I took a Princess-Di-inspired wedding confection and turned it into a sleek sheath dress for my 30th wedding anniversary dinner. I married the perfect man, and I wore the perfect dress then and gave it new meaning for now.
Have a safe, happy and wonderful New Year, everyone!
ETA on October 19: Paco was gracious enough to send me a sizing chart for his patterns, which I have added at the bottom of this post. Thanks, Paco!
a.k.a. “Paco Peralta’s Cassock Coat” I’ll preface this review with the disclosure that Paco is a dear friend of mine, so I am undoubtedly biased in my opinions. That said, I paid full price for this pattern. I get nothing for any recommendations I may make. I did not contact Paco about it nor did he ask me to blog about it. So go ahead and read and interpret my review with however many grains of salt you think are warranted. 🙂
Pattern Description: Pretty close fitting, lined, shoulder-princess-line coat. In-seam pockets and two piece, shaped sleeve. Button closure. Choice of rounded collar or collarless. I made the collarless version
Sizing: I believe this comes in 38-50. I made a 42.
Available as a PDF? No. Each pattern is hand drawn. How cool is that???
Fabric Used: A really wonderful pre-interfaced mohair blend bouclé from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!). Alas, it is sold out, but You Can Find Similar Fabrics Here. For the lining, I used a Yves-Saint-Laurent-Pink silk charmeuse that has been in my stash forever. It may have come from Gorgeous Fabrics, but I’ve had it so long it might even predate the business. Don’t you love having a stash?
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home machine, Naomi the Naomoto. Tailor’s ham, shoulder stand, silk organza press cloth, strips of file folders for pressing. If I think of anything else I’ll let you know.
Needle/Notions Used: Universal 80/12 needle for the bouclé, Universal 65/9 for the lining. “Cigarette” sleeve headers and Japanese basting thread from Susan Khalje (full disclosure, also a friend, but again, no affiliation and no solicitation). Japanese hand sewing needles that were a gift from a friend. Vintage shoulder pads, silk organza scraps, thread, buttons (temporary).
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? There are none. If you have a working knowledge (i.e. you consider yourself intermediate or thereabouts in your sewing skills), you should be able to work out the construction. These patterns are so beautifully drafted that they sew together quite easily. If you have a good sewing book handy, you are good to go.
Construction Notes: You can see most of my construction notes in my post about the Coat’s WIP. I ran up the muslin, and because the fabric is pretty thick, I added about 1/8 inch to the seamlines below the bust. The good news? I didn’t need an FBA, and I didn’t need to lower the bust point. THANK YOU PACO, on behalf of real women everywhere!!
Other than that, I didn’t make any changes.
I made buttonholes with my Pfaff, and I bought some inexpensive buttons at the local JoAnn. My friend Rosie is going to Paris soon and she volunteered to get me buttons while she is there. These look fine, but oo la la – I can’t wait to see what she comes back with!
Likes/Dislikes: How do I love this coat? Let me count the ways… Seriously, I love that I did’t have to change the bust point from a 13-YO-model bust to a real-woman bust. I love the fit through the shoulders. I love the lines. Really, there’s nothing I don’t love about this coat. I put it on (no makeup today so no pictures of me in it, sorry) and showed it to DH, and his reaction was, “That’s so elegant!” That’s why I married that man!
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I’m thinking about shortening it and making a car-coat length. One thing to note is that this doesn’t have the massive amounts of ease you may be used to with some coats. In the 42, I can wear sleeves, but not a chunky sweater underneath it. So if you want to wear thick garments underneath, you may want to adjust the pattern or go up a size.
Conclusion: A FABULOUS pattern. I love it, and it will get lots of use this winter and many to come. Here are pictures of the finished coat.
I just love this coat. I’ll wear this with a scarf at the neck and boots for the winter. This is a wonderful pattern and I really recommend it.
Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been really busy with work, and this weekend was a super band performance at the Salem Invitational, with DS the Younger conducting the HS band. DS the Elder came home to see it and cheer on his younger brother, so it was a great weekend with family.
In the meantime, I have been sewing, just more slowly. I’m working on Paco Peralta’s Cassock Coat. I’ll do a full review when it’s finished, but here are some WIP shots. Before I begin, let me just tell you how impressed I am with the drafting on this coat. It is flawless.
I’m making it using a pre-interfaced mohair bouclé. This is a joy to work with, except for the lint that is everywhere. I’ve gone through about half of a lint roller getting the fuzz off the ironing board, cutting mat and myself. For those who took part in the poll on the Gorgeous Fabrics FB page, the YSL-pink silk charmeuse won by a landslide.
I took this shot before I put the shoulder pads in. I am using sleeve heads that I got from Susan Khalje. And my friend Thaïs gave me these brilliant vintage shoulder pads. They had belonged to her mother, and they are just the right thickness and shape for this coat.
Here are shots of the front and back as it stands right now:
The lining is about ¾ of the way done. I just have to attach the sleeves and then sew it to the garment. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make bound buttonholes or if I’ll take it to Jonathan in NY when I am there later this month. I’m kind of leaning toward the latter, since the mohair could be rather finicky. The other option I’m mulling over is making bound buttonholes with leather welts. I’ll do some samples and then decide.
So that’s what I’ve been working on. How about you?
When I heard that Paco Peralta had one: started designing patterns again, and two: released a version of his Drape Front Top with long sleeves, I immediately hopped on his Etsy Site and ordered it. The pattern arrived on Friday and yesterday I pulled it out and sewed it up!
Pattern Description: (From Paco’s Etsy Store) With or without sleeves blouse with draped front; it can be made of silk or similar fabrics, includes stretch fabrics (knits). Te pattern is simple and easy to sew. It consists of five pieces: lower front, upper draped front, back, back neckline facing and sleeve. Sleeveless version: The armholes are finished with bias striips of self fabric (pattern not included), or using a special purpose hemming technique for stretchy fabric (if using knits). Blouse with sleeves: ONLY FOR KNITS. The pattern is drafted in three alternating sizes: Small, Medium, Large and X-Large (Bust 31,5, 34,5 37,5, and 40,5 inch.). A smaller or larger size can easily be obtained using the pattern master lines for grading. The pattern is hand copied from the original and the designer labels is provided, granting this pattern with “exclusive model” status.
I’ll also add that the design is a dropped-shoulder.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? There are none included with this pattern, but the pattern is beautifully drafted and sews together readily if you have any experience. Also, there’s some great information on its construction out there from other bloggers, including this one from Core Couture.
Construction Notes: I used the Pfaff set on straight stitch (2.5mm) for the shoulders and back neck facing. I used the serger for all major seams, and I used the Pfaff to hem it with a 1.0mm wide by 3.0mm long zigzag stitch. I staystitched the front piece at the pivot point to reinforce it.
I used a 5/8 inch narrow hem at the bottom of the garment, rather than the two inch hem on the pattern. I like a little extra length. Also, for those who love cowl necks but are concerned about modesty (as one reader pointed out in my Review of McCalls 6963), this top is a great option. And the fact that the cowl neckline is an insert makes it easier to revise the depth of the cowl if you wish. But I don’t think most people will need to do that with this top.
One note is that on me, the shoulders are slightly wide. I think when I make it next I’ll start with a size small at the shoulders and taper out to a medium.
Likes/Dislikes: I love that the pattern is hand drafted and marked. I love that the cowl isn’t so deep that I need to worry about when I bend over. And I really love that Paco is back at designing again!!!
There’s nothing I dislike about it.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. This is a great pattern that will be a staple in my wardrobe. I’ll probably make a few short sleeved versions for summer. Here’s the top on Shelley
Conclusion: Great pattern, wonderful designer, good friend. Welcome back, Paco!