Thank you so much for all the nice comments on my green wool coat, both here and on Instagram. I really appreciate it and I'm glad that my posts are helpful. There were a few questions left for me about that so here are the answers.
First question asked by several people is about interfacing. For starters, I buy all my interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, which you can find here. Their interfacings are great quality, they are mostly 60" wide which is a good value and just plain useful, and they have a variety of different weights and types for use with any fabric. For coats I use the Pro-Weft Fusible, either the Medium or the Light. For any blazer try the light - for a heavier fabric used for a coat then try the medium. For facings and upper collars I use the Pro-Sheer Elegance which also comes in different weights, and I use them all. They now have a "Couture" weight which is perfect in silk blouses. I also buy their silk organza and then the knit interfacings too.
So that's the scoop on which interfacings. As to where, my sewing motto is more interfacing. I put it on the coat/jacket front, under collar, upper collar, lapel facing, pockets, hems (as shown below). sleeve heads and then anywhere else just seems like it might need it. I also use interfacing to change the entire weight of the fabric, or stabilize a loosely woven fabric (as I did on this boucle outfit for my friend Heather).
Lastly on coats, Nancy K asked "does it really get cold enough there to wear this weight of coat?" Let me assure you, YES! However I must stipulate that I am a winter wimp. Meaning that when the temperature goes below 70˚F then I am freezing. Like super chilly all the time from October to March. Here's my typical winter outfit, say for going out to dinner at a restaurant or a friend's house. 1) silk knit camisole 2) cashmere sweater 3) wool blazer or jacket 4) coat on top of that 5) leather gloves and then jeans or other pants plus boots. You might think I was going to the Arctic but as I said I am a winter wimp. When I see women in the wintertime wearing ankle length pant and ballet flats with no socks I just shudder at the thought! Or friends who say oh I don't need a coat - I will just be running from the car to inside wherever they are going. Brr. Anyway - I like to have layers :) although usually I just take off the coat/gloves and then remain reasonable toasty. So back to our temperatures - I do think it gets cold here. OK not Minneapolis or Rochester NY cold but where I live the Jan average is 36˚/55˚ and we get plenty of nights below freezing. Across the bay in SF it is more like 46˚/57˚ and it almost never goes below freezing there - thus the bay area microclimates at work. But if you have been to San Francisco in the summer you will know exactly how cold it can be when the fog is swirling and the wind is on the bay. Hey - I come from a family of weather obsessives and the bay area gives us plenty to talk about, with the temperature at one moment differing by 40˚F over a space of 20 or 30 miles. I wonder if that is the case in any other location?
Enough about weather - back to sewing.
Let's talk buttonholes. For my green coat I made bound buttonholes. In large part because the fabric is so thick and I actually can't get the coat front under the presser foot to make machine buttonholes. Although I do like the bound buttonholes on that one. But yesterday I posted an image of my Singer buttonhole attachment on Instagram for the #bpsewvember post: Up Close. And some people agreed - it does make the best buttonholes and others had never seen one of these before. This one came with my Singer 401 sewing machine - which I have been using since childhood. It is my sewing machine dream date - the one that never lets me down. Ok I am biased but if you have never sewn with one of these you don't know what you are missing. Anyway - since it is a straight-stitch-only machine it needs attachments to do the buttonholes (and zig zag but I never use that). They work with small cams that create the buttonhole shape, including the most perfect keyhole. Plus you can adjust the stitch width and go around more than once which gives you the very dense look on a buttonhole that is much more professional looking.
Ages ago I did a post about this attachment, and there is VIDEO! So if you want to see this buttonhole attachment in action check out this post. Video is in the middle of the post.
New topic, Pattern chat: What is up with all the poorly sewn samples where people are trying to sell their patterns? I think it is getting worse instead of better. As I have noted before - I am definitely not the target market for most indie patterns, the majority of which are targeted to new or developing sewers who are looking for extensive instructions along with the pattern. So with that stipulated - I would not be adverse to trying a pattern from a new company if I thought the style was cute, but wow, some of the examples are so bad! It makes me doubt their capability if they can't bother to properly press a garment before it is photographed. Also when it fits the model poorly, or the seams are puckered what does that show? That it is not a good pattern if they didn't even do it?
Speaking of patterns, lately I have been thinking about perceived value as regards to sewing patterns. Perceived value being the worth that a product or service has in the mind of the consumer. I always comment that I think a lot of indie patterns are very expensive - but perhaps that has to do with the fact that I don't perceive any value in the instructions, the booklet with diagrams, or even the packaging. This is probably entirely different from a beginning or newer stitcher, who can use this pattern to learn techniques along with making a garment. I like patterns with multiple views, like a Vogue or Simplicity pattern that includes multiple garments (for example a skirt-dress-jacket-top or 3 versions of a knit top). To me that is more valuable. I bought one Marfy pattern which was relatively expensive, I think around $ 20 when you include the shipping from Italy. It was just one dress style with no variations, no info on yardage requirements, only the paper pattern pieces, no instructions. Here is my finished dress. After I sewed that I decided it had a high value to me - as there was no tracing involved, the pattern pieces are all cut out and labeled, they did have seam allowances, and fit together perfectly. Also the details in the design were outstanding, especially since it was a relatively simple pattern. So a high value to me and I would buy a Marfy pattern again.
What's next on my sewing table? I'm working on some posts for Craftsy, including one on how-to tips for quickly sewing a party dress. (you know the feeling, party invite + irrational need for a new dress because nothing in your closet is just right = late night sewing).
Stop me before I make a cape. Why in the world would I make a cape? I dunno, it just looks cute. Plus plaid - you know I love plaid. But I will restrain myself on this one.
Along with that thought of following trends, I made this tie-neck silk blouse, as a test version for making it in a different fabric. I thought if it worked out I could wear this with my plum wool Burda shawl collar coat. But I don't like it at all, on me. The neck tie just bugs and I probably would be totally uncomfortable wearing it. However I was happy with my pattern work, as I used my standard Simplicity button front shirt pattern and manipulated to create the changes in design.
The fabric is a stretch silk charmeuse so it feels really nice. Hmmm, I might just do a giveaway on this one.
That's all my random thoughts for today - and I didn't even get to all of them. Such as the Pantone colors for the upcoming seasons - mostly unappealing, why do I look at them? Exposed zippers - I never think they add anything to a design. Pop ups on sewing blogs pestering you to subscribe to their email list, oh, that drives me crazy.
That's enough ranting for now :) It's a super sunny day and the garden cleanup chore list is calling my name.
Up next a silk blouse that was a total success and may be my favorite item sewn this year. Until then I hope all your sewing is successful!
Happy Daylight Savings Time sewing - what will you do with your extra hour tonight?
today's garden photo, these morning glories appear at the end of each summer entwining their way up the fence and clinging to the pink jasmine. I love how it looks illuminated from within.