Thursday, April 14, 2022

Vintage Vogue blazer in purple/black wool

It has frequently occurred, since I began blogging my sewing, that I make something way too wintery just as spring arrives with full force here in N. California. The daffodils are just about finished, the volunteer sunflowers in my yard have shown up with their golden sunny blooms and I sewed this jacket that is more suitable for a chilly December.  So I will post it here and then cram it in the recesses of my overflowing coat closet to hopefully be worn next fall. 

purple blazer on form

Note that black is so tricky to photograph so I have lightened all these pictures, both the indoor and outdoor ones so that the details can be seen. 
I bought this piece of wool tweed at a guild sale, it had a tag on stating it was 2 yards and from Mood Fabrics. I do recall seeing it on their website and being almost tempted. So it was meant to be mine anyway:) As for the pattern, this is a winner and I am planning to make it again in a lightweight summer fabric. It's a Vogue pattern from the '80's, not sure of the exact date. Vogue 1193.

Vogue 1193 Pattern envelope

This is a case where the illustration would lead you to believe that it calls for giant shoulder pads but that was not the case at all. I think they just succumbed to the trend of the day when creating the pattern envelope art. It calls for 1/2" shoulder pads which is not much different from those in current patterns. I will say that this fabric is much more like a coating weight and probably not the best choice for a blazer jacket, the collar is a bit bulky and doesn't lay as flat as I would like. 

purple blazer1

When I was making it I rummaged around in my stash as I thought I had some remnants of black velveteen which would have been nice for the upper collar, both to reduce the thickness and also to diminish the itch factor. I didn't find it and so continued on with the regular fabric. Now that it's finished I realize I could have used a remnant of black wool crepe to achieve the same end. The collar is so thick that it bugs me and I think next fall I will take it apart and redo the collar, but that is a project for another day!

blazer on form2

or maybe not :)  as look at how I have trimmed and graded all the seams. Probably not very fun to take apart. 

pressing jacket

This fabric was so thick and I thought the lapel would not lay flat so I used a method that I employ occasionally, which is to cut the interfacing on the lapel fold line. This allows the lapel to turn back at the spot where it needs to. You can see that my twill tape started out a bit too wide, I think I ordered it online and it turned out to be about 1/2" wide which is more than I wanted so I just trim it with a pinking shears. 

blazer roll line

Let's talk pockets. Ordinarily I'm not a fan of patch pockets, I just love a nice welt pocket but that was nearly impossible in this fabric and the pattern had the option of patch pockets. After I made the other vintage Vogue pattern last winter, (blog post here on that one where I used traditional tailoring methods, pad stitching and all. That jacket got three blog posts if you want to read all the details.)

purple jacket pocket

Here's the patch pocket in progress. How much do I love these old Vogue single size patterns? A LOT! And I just noticed on the pattern piece that it shows the size listed as size 12 but below that it says Femmes-40 which must be the French size, and then Damen - 38 so that is the German size, which corresponds exactly to the size I sew in Burda patterns. Never noticed that before. 
Anyway, this patch pocket is sewn around all the edges and then turned right side out, finishing it up with a little hand stitching at the bottom edge to enclose. 
And then I  hand stitched it to the jacket front, which was easy peasy in this fabric as the stitches would never show. 

tailors tacks in orange

I leave all my thread tailor's tacks in a garment until I get just about finished. It's one of those tasks I find enjoyable, plucking out the various thread markings.  Although it never fails that when I go to photograph something I find a rogue thread still embedded in a seam somewhere. 

blazer back on form
I think this pattern had a center back vent at the hem but I omitted it because in this thick fabric it would probably not lay flat. Also I wanted to get the fit in the hip area just right. I'm thinking of making this again in a lightweight summer fabric for a much more casual version. 
Let's take a minute to admire a feature that I very much appreciate in these older Vogue patterns, the collar roll line. And an under collar that is cut on the bias. What is up with some newer patterns, with the under collar cut on the fold, not bias. I do not like! 

pattern pieces Vogue 1193

purple blazer3

Too much purple? I think maybe.  I made this top a while ago from a remaining piece of hammered silk I had bought from Fashion Fabrics club and I'm not really liking it, and wish I had chosen a different pattern. Oh well. Next fall I will look for a fabric to make a shirt that goes with this jacket. 

Purple blazer lining

And yes, I did sew the lining in by hand, I just find it faster to do that rather than struggle with sewing it in by machine, I think it gives much more control. 

So that's the latest on my unseasonably winter sewing. Actually we went from wearing shorts last week to turtlenecks this week as it got very chilly - that's March/April for you in the bay area. But I have a few tomato plants in pots and the dahlias are sprouting so spring is here. My back yard is looking very scruffy these days and starting next month it will get a big makeover. All the sprinklers and drip irrigation gave up last summer so it's time for a refresh. A water conserving refresh - with more planting beds and less lawn. 

Vogue purple blazer

Happy spring sewing,

Today's garden photo, the big bag of Costco daffodils did not disappoint. You can see that if you buy over 100 daffodils you start to stuff them in the ground wherever you can. And they bloomed very well. Plus I read they repel gophers. A win! I think I will buy another bag next year and try to put them everywhere. 


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Embroidered Ash jeans

Last year I taught a jeans sewing class online and during that class I sewed up another pair of my favorite jeans pattern, which is the Ash Jeans from Megan Nielsen patterns. Since I was doing a lot of videos I wanted to make a very traditional denim jean with the contrast topstitching, and I found a perfect piece of stretch denim in my stash. Well not quite perfect, as it was a piece that I got at a fabric swap with Bay Area Sewists a few years ago. It had some fading in faint lines but it was ideal for sewing a jeans example so I went ahead and used it, thinking I would just keep them for future reference in classes.

embroidered jeans 3

But they came out really nicely, despite my annoyance at seeing the faint lines which turned out to be right across my thighs. In an effort to distract from that I decided to try some embroidery.This was one of those almost free projects as I got all the embroidery supplies at a sewing guild sale. In fact it was seeing an embroidery pattern that gave the idea. 

embroidered jeans transfer pattern

Actually I got 3 different transfer patterns that day, so I selected the motifs that went with the look I was trying to achieve. I've seen jeans with floral embroidery along the pant legs before and always thought they were nice, so it was in my mental file to do that one day. 
Fortunately for my dark denim fabric these transfers are in a yellow chalk so they definitely showed up on the jeans. Another pattern I got that day has transfers that are black (or maybe dark blue) so they would work on a different fabric but not on denim. 
embroidered jeans both sides

I used the same pattern transfer for some of my flowers as the model is wearing on her top, the part shown that goes up by the shoulders. Some of the motifs were too large or designed to be in the center of a garment. 

I also got all the embroidery flosses, such gorgeous colors! although I did succumb to buying a few more one day. So many colors to choose from, now I want to embroider again. This might be the perfect project for me as I've always wanted to have one that I could carry around like people do with knitting but I will never learn to knit (too many previous attempts and I think it's too slow for me). 

embroidered jeans front view

This is a better look at the fabric, you can see that fade line running across the thighs, unfortunately I placed that there both front and back. In some light it's not really noticeable and it other light it seems very prominent. So I will just have to learn to ignore it as I think these jeans are really cute for summer wear. At least until it gets very hot - the denim is quite heavy. 

Which made embroidering the legs a challenge. I do not recommend deciding after making pants to embroider! It would be so easy to do them before sewing up - embroidering long stiff tubes of fabric was really annoying. Live and learn. 

embroidered jeans side full view

Here's a look at the inside of the jeans. I made these just as the pattern states, so the pockets are not attached at the center front. Usually when I make them I change the pocket to a continuous waist stay type of pocket that is seamed into the center front zipper as they are in this pair.

embroidered jeans inside

I think this is the second piece of denim I've sewn up that had "sample" written on the inside in that yellow lettering. I think I got both pieces pre-covid at a Bay Area Sewists meetup fabric swap.

So that's the latest on my embroidered jeans - I think they will be nice for spring but definitely too heavy to wear in summer. Actually I almost never wear jeans in summer unless I go through the tunnel to the foggy/cooler side of the bay!

Up next - not sure, I have a few projects on the back burner right now and as of this afternoon I have finished the prom dress I was sewing for the daughter of a friend. It was an involved project due to the fabric but it is DONE. and I can move on to other things. Here's a tiny sneak peek. By the way I have documented a lot of the making of this dress in my Instagram stories and saved them to a highlight called Prom Dress. 


In fact that view of my backyard is scheduled to change in April, I'm having the lawn mostly removed. The planting areas will changed around in front and back, and generally moving to a much more water-wise garden. No choice here in California where we are in year 3 of drought and now it's called a mega-drought. Which sounds ominous. Anyway - more California native plants but still plenty of color. 

I'm continuing with online classes via Hello Stitch and next month I'm doing a spring dress class, 
making both the Myosotis Dress from Deer and Doe, and also the McCalls 7969 (which is still available as a free digital pattern now on the website, not sure how long that will be the case). Register for the class on the Hello Stitch website. 

Happy Spring Sewing,

today's garden photo, this cheerful daffodil.


Sunday, March 6, 2022

Quilted plaid jacket, part 2 Burda 09-2021-115

 So much for my resolution to blog more frequently this year.  But other parts of life have intervened and I just never found the time to sit down and write. Despite that I have sewn a lot and have plenty of things to post. Also I've worn this jacket so much already, so I'm really glad that I decided to try both a bit of quilting and used something from the stash. Here is part one of this jacket, where I wrote about the construction and pattern that I used. 

Plaid jacket1

I could even see making it again in a summer weight fabric. 

pocket flap

I really like these pockets, and I did have enough of this remnant fabric to match them nicely. 

quilting closeup

If you look closely you can see some of my quilting stitching. It does have a layer of quilt batting (also remnants) but because I used the plaid as my stitch guide the quilting doesn't show. Also the quilt batting is kind of thin but that means it's a bit cozier to wear but not bulky.

plaid facing

One thing I'm kind of fanatical about when sewing plaids is the facing which has to match the plaid and again I did just have enough fabric to do so here. I think it looks nicer if they match especially when the neckline area of a coat or jacket is worn slightly open so that you see the facing. 

quilt jacket adding lining

My box of lining fabrics sometimes makes me think of Mary Poppins magical carpet bag, as I seems whenever I look in it I find just the right thing. So I had this bemberg rayon lining in the perfect color. I sewed the lining in by hand as I like to stitch the facings down first and then attach the lining. You can see a bit of the quilt batting and stitching lines there in the photo. 

plaid jacket 2

Things are not looking good for our drought situation here in N. California, as you can see. Some of those plants have a bit of frost damage which is normal but we haven't had any appreciable rain in Feb. or March and I don't think we will. The spring project around here is to re-landscape the front of my house with all low-water plantings, and then in the back yard to reduce the lawn considerably and replace all the irrigation. So I hope it's all complete by the end of April and I can get back to trying to fit in more plants :) 

This weekend was a bittersweet one as it was the last days for Hello Stitch Studio as a physical space. The opportunity to teach classes there came up at a perfect time in my life and I have enjoyed it more than I can say. I've made a lot of good friends because of that connection and I know they will continue but we will all miss sewing together. I guess the past 2 years of the pandemic has been a bit of a preview as the studio was mostly closed although it did reopen last fall with a lot of Covid protocols in place. Despite those restrictions we held many sessions of learn to sew garment classes. People did look around during the lockdown and decide that they could learn to make their clothes, so it was really rewarding. Their building was sold and that precipitated the closure, however some of the owners are continuing Hello Stitch Studio as an online venture for now, and have some opportunities for a space nearby for in-person classes so I will likely be doing some of those once things settle out. I have several other opportunities to teach in-person classes so I will let you know when that is all decided. 

Meanwhile we are continuing the online classes, I start a new one this Tuesday evening, which is Sew the Emerson Pants  so if you are interested you can register at the link. 

That's the latest on my classes. In other projects I'm actually sewing a prom dress for the daughter of a friend of mine, reproducing the look from a picture she showed me. I will probably post some about this here after it's finished, but if you want to follow along I am doing posts in my Instagram stories, and saving them all to an Instagram highlight titled "Prom Dress". 

Stay well everyone and I hope for an end to the madness in Ukraine, it's tragic to watch things unfold but inspirational to see the bravery and fortitude of the Ukrainian people. 


This great photo was taken by my dear friend Halyna @zigzagstitching  on IG, a proud and worried Ukrainian.

Plaid jacket sidewalk

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Quilted plaid jacket, part 1 Burda 09-2021-115

This time of year I try to organize any fabrics that I have and in particular see what large remnants I can make use of. In my stash I had 1 yard piece of a blue plaid wool, not quite enough to make a jacket but I looked around for a coordinating fabric. I had a solid blue piece remaining from my tri-color coat so decided to use those and get two pieces out of a fabric bin. Here's a look at the finished jacket, which doesn't appear quilted at all. 

Plaid jacket on form

What made me think about doing a quilted jacket? At Hello Stitch one day I noticed a big pile of quilt batting remnants and asked about them. Turns out when they stitch a quilt on the longarm machine, and use yardage from their roll of batting, depending on the size and width of the quilt there can be quite large remnants of very nice batting in silk, wool or poly that are left over. So I took a good stack of these remnants just because they seemed useful but I didn't have an idea. Then while perusing my Burda magazines (for the millionth time - something I do when waiting for things like for the oven to heat up). I noticed this pattern for a quilted jacket and thought it would be easy to make and it doesn't take a large amount of fabric. 
Burda quilted jacket magazine

So first I cut out the pattern pieces in the plaid wool fabric, then using the convenience of plaid I stitching them to the batting. 

Quilting with batting

The quilting doesn't really show at all and I played around with adding more quilt lines but it just made it look busy but not in a good way. So I have ended up with a nice and warm quilted jacket that doesn't really look quilted. 
Once I had all the jacket body pieces quilted then I had to decide on the closure. I think on the pattern they call for snaps but that didn't seem like it would go for this fabric. I rummaged around in my button box for some coordinating buttons and decided to make bound buttonholes. With the wool plus thickness of batting I didn't think any of my buttonhole makers would succeed, at least in uniform stitching on that many buttonholes. For bound buttonholes I always start with a thread ladder, which sets out the location of the buttonholes in both vertical and horizontal placement. If you look at this picture below you can see some markings for my tests of other quilt lines, including some hand stitching which just looked too handcrafty to me. 

bound buttonhole ladder

Then I made the welts. I have never had any success with the one piece method, perhaps I will give it a try again but I just make the buttonholes like miniature pocket openings. One of the few times I use a rotary cutter!
making bound buttonhole welt

making bound buttonhole welt1
Maybe not even noticeable but I like to cut the buttonhole welts on the bias in plaids, it adds some visual contrast.

bound buttonhole pinned on
I mark the ends of the stitching with chalk so that the top and bottom welts of the buttonholes are exactly even. 

bound buttonhole stitched on
Once all the buttonholes are stitched, I cut them open and turn them, tucking in the edges to create the actual buttonhole. The folded edge starts out on the outer edge, but after stitching and then cutting open it flips to the center to create the edges where the button slips through. Once they are all pressed then I trim the edges on the inside, usually rounding the corners and trying to remove any bulk that will later be sandwiched between the jacket front and the front facing. 
Next up was to make the pockets, which I really like on the jacket and I think make the look. It's kind of a barn jacket style. I might have to make this one again sometime...Anyway, I had not cut out the pockets initially, just reserved some fabric in order to do that. I had marked with tailor's tacks the pocket placement on the jacket front pieces. 
So the way I cut out plaid patch pockets is to lay the pocket pattern piece on the jacket front and trace some of the plaid lines onto the paper. That way I can put it on the fabric and cut out exact plaid matches, in both vertical and horizontal color lines. Hopefully you can see my pencil lines on the pattern pieces here that note the plaid lines. I typically pick the most prominent lines, in this case it was the yellow stripes and matched those. I am super happy with the way these turned out! In the past I haven't really been a fan of patch pockets but this is the second wool jacket I've made with them (first one here) and I just cut out another one.

Pocket plaid design

making patch pocket

I put weft interfacing on both the patch pocket and the pocket flap, it seemed to need some support and also to make it match the thickness of the jacket body. I had this lovely coordinating bemberg lining in my big box of lining fabrics. Sometimes I think that container is like Mary Poppins bag, every time I dip into it out comes just what I need - maybe that luck will continue if I believe in the magic :)
Time to discuss sleeves. With jackets/coats from Burda or Vogue patterns I don't think I ever add the gathering stitches on the sleeve cap. Is this shocking? I find them not needed and most times the sleeve fits in beautifully.
quilt jacket ease sleeve

Often I pin in the sleeves and then hand baste both in just to see if I like the placement, once in a while I will tilt the shoulder of the sleeve forward slightly, or move it in to make the shoulder less wide. 
Then I will machine baste it in and check how they look. In this picture below the sleeve on the left is machine sewn in but the one on the right is still hand basted only, and you can see how well it fits in the armhole. Burda sleeves/armholes are really nice. 

bound buttonhole

checking seam allowance on sleeve

I then do one row of machine basting, and after that check that the seam allowance is consistent all around the armhole. Sometimes it's easy to stitch wide or narrow, particularly at the underarm or at the upper back and if you stitch wider you are taking out width across the back and across the sleeve cap. So check those seam allowances. Then I do any adjustments needed and then give it a final stitch with regular stitch length, twice around at 5?8" and 1/2".
For the collar I used the solid blue on the inside, it's super soft and non-itchy which is what I like in collars.  The pattern had a square corner on the collar and I rounded it off a bit, now I wish I had rounded it even more as it looks a bit pointy to me. Note for next time. 

quilt jacket collar point
So that's some of the sewing details on this project, next post I will have the finished garment photos.
Meanwhile I'm in the midst of a jumpsuit class (online) and a few more in-person classes at Hello Stitch. Also I'm doing a lot of individual lessons either via Zoom or in person so if you want more info on that get in touch.
The other project on my to-do list is a complete revamp of the irrigation of my front and back garden areas. Drought plus aging pipes and sprinklers means it's time for a refresh, changing out some areas for low-water usage and getting rid of some lawn. We had ZERO rain for these last 4 weeks after a good soaking so we quickly went from drought is ending to drought is never-ending. Scary!
Meanwhile among my other projects I cut out a new project, using a vintage Vogue jacket pattern. So I will sew that up in a few minutes here or there and maybe finish that by the end of the month. Love using those vintage single size patterns - they are so easy to work with. 
Happy Sewing,

today's garden photo - what else but this year's first daffodil. So cheerful 
First daffodil 2022

Monday, January 24, 2022

Blanca Jumpsuit in Floral Corduroy

Sometimes I come across a piece of fabric and instantly know what I want to sew with it. There are several textile and sewing groups in my area that have periodic fundraising sales of fabrics, supplies and patterns where I've found some real gems. I snagged this piece of floral corduroy earlier this year and thought it would be great for another Blanca flight suit for my friend Halnya. It's rare to find a nice floral corduroy, it must be a few years old as it has no stretch and was 45" wide but the piece was around 4 yards so enough to fit the jumpsuit with a bit of pattern puzzling. I made this pattern last spring when I taught an online class and it's fun to put together. More details below but FYI I'm doing this class again starting Feb 1, here's the link


She is a fashion risk taker so was very happy to wear this jumpsuit which I think has a 70's look about it. Here's a better look at this fabric. I think it actually looks better with a leather belt rather than the fabric belt. I really like corduroy and unlike other fabrics that I am fine with ordering online, for corduroy I want to feel it and see the weight and the color in person. Lately I've been looking for stretch corduroys in interesting colors, it's always on my list and if I see some I will buy for the stash. I guess it's out there but I find that the price seems too high for my liking. For some reason I would pay a fortune for a imported wool but I feel like corduroy should be in the $10-$15/yard range which is probably unrealistic. 
Anyway - this was a bargain of a few dollars, and then I ordered a zipper from Wawak, their selection and shipping speed is amazing. 

Back pockets blanca

If you note in this photo above I made a change to the sleeve design. On the pattern the long sleeve has a seam down the center and then no cuff, just a snap to make it smaller at the wrist. Which is feature that I didn't really care for so I extended the short sleeve pattern piece into a long sleeve and added a cuff with snaps. 
For cuffs I just decide how wide I want them, how much overlap, measure the finished sleeve opening (where I added a small pleat) and then draw up the cuff piece right on the fabric. And then use that one to cut out the second.

making cuff blanca

For the opening into the cuff I just used the continuous bound placket and then let the underlap of the cuff be about one inch longer so that the cuff would overlap.

sewing on cuff blanca

Since the zipper was metal I thought that snaps would look good on the cuffs instead of buttons so that gave me an opportunity to get out my snap tools. Which consist of a bunch of snap kits that I keep in an old metal cookie tin. So many sewing supplies in old metal cookie tins, right? Another one is full of buttons. 

applying snaps blanca

I've found that these Dritz snap kits actually work very well. The key to using these is to follow the diagram on the package exactly. Also not lose any of the little pieces! Now I just buy replacement snaps as I have the snap setting components that came in the kit. Also when I apply the snaps I put the rubber disc on a piece of wood and then the snap holder plus snaps/garment on that, and then hammer on that. The block of wood gives a firm surface to hammer onto and also kind of absorbs the hammer blow so the snap doesn't smash but locks into place. 

Here's a look at this pattern and the technical drawing.

blanda jumpsuit cover art

When I first made this I was a bit cautious as I really don't like sewing bulky zippers but it came out fine. In my class I have some further details but here are a couple of tips for getting this zipper in just right. 

Zipper top Blanca

When it comes to zippers I work from the top down, as this type of zipper is very visible on the garment and the opening is the most important. It has to be even at each side of the collar.  I mark the stitch line where the collar will attach and then placed the top of the zipper in relation to that line. Then I pin the zipper down to the zipper stop. As it happened this zipper was a bit too long so I cut off the bottom, hand sewed a new zipper stop and then covered the bottom with lining. I did remove the teeth from the zipper tape below the new stop. 

basted zipper blanca

After fixing the bottom of the zipper I hand basted the whole thing and then it was ready to stitch in. I find it takes a few minutes to hand baste in something like a 22 inch zipper but the time is so well worth it as you can then sew it in by machine, with no pins and be sure that it's in just the right location, and centered. 

collar blanca

So that's a second go round with this pattern and I think another friend wants one so it may again be on my to-do list. Meanwhile I might also make up another Merchant and Miller Boiler Suit for Stacey as she wears her first one constantly. I made both of these pattern back in April when I did my online class for Jumpsuit/Boilersuit and that will start again in February, here's the listing on the Hello Stitch website.  I'm happy to say that Hello Stitch will continue as an online entity and continue to offer classes in sewing and quilting so I will be teaching more online classes this year. 


I'm turning into a jumpsuit fan, maybe I will even make one for myself!


Up next, more completed things to post here, and on my calendar next weekend a trip to Britex with my friend Heather. I want a tweedy wool in tones of burgundy for a jacket, and she wants some camel color wool for a coat. That's the plan but who knows what we will come home with!

Happy winter sewing,

Today's garden photo, a flower from the mallow bush that I got a few years ago at the local community college horticultural department sale. The flowers are so pretty and this thing is incredibly hardy, I think it's about 6 ft x 6ft now and that's with a periodic chop.