All the Onyx Shirts

Never has a pattern become tried and true in my library than with Paprika Patterns’ Onyx Top.

My first version was made out of a lace in November, and altogether was too big. I thought I had made the recommended size, and it was mostly fine in the front, but the back was really drooping, and the sleeves were way too big. (Let me interject here that I don’t quite remember, but probably chose the size based on my bust size, which tends to throw off the rest of the fitting. Because I’m lazy, and my fitting adventures are a work in progress. So don’t take this as an actual review of the sizing…)

So I took the pattern in at the shoulders, raised the armscye, and shrunk the width of the back a bit.

Then in very early January I used the Ariel skirt made of rayon (which was way too lightweight for a skirt) to make a slightly cropped version. Not the actually cropped version in the pattern, since I needed this for work-appropriate events, but an inch shorter than I’d like. I made a facing for it out of the same fabric, and unfortunately didn’t finish the facing edge (which I should do one of these days) which can cause the neckline to hang funnily, and I didn’t interface it, which I think contributed. It quickly became my favorite shirt!

Incredibly happy with this success, I also made one out of this polyester suiting with a diagonal stripe pattern… It works. I wish that I had made the facing out of a different fabric, as the neck really doesn’t lay correctly, though I did interface it, so perhaps it was just stiffer?. Maybe I can fix it later?

And then I tried to use this stone colored poly/cotton blend (I think), which had no drape. That version did not work out well. It felt very frumpy and baggy. I don’t know if it can be salvaged, but maybe with a dart of some kind. For right now its in the alteration pile, which is why I didn’t bother to iron it for the pictures here…

So that’s where I had to leave it before a big conference in Seattle in the end of January. Then I had a making drought in early February as I adjusted back to normal life, and then I made an awesome version in black rayon. In fact the same rayon from the Ariel skirt version, but in a black. I tried to remove some neckline gaping with a pattern alteration, and made the shoulders even slightly less wide. This time I interfaced the facing again, but I also made the facing the entire yoke of the shirt wide. It ended with a fantastically fit shirt, but the yoke of the shirt felt and looked a little stiff. So I embroidered it. I haven’t done embroidery in a while, but it came back pretty quick, though I’ve never done anything quite like this. I really enjoyed the vines and leaves, and the couple flowers on the back were quite fun.

I’ve got another one of the black rayon versions cut out, since the rayon had enough for another, and I think I’ll embroider it too, but I’ll get to that one soon!

Shifting Waters Fumeterre

Last summer I was lucky enough to win a prize in the Indie Pattern Month competition for my pattern hacked Nettie dress, and this prize included two patterns from Deer and Doe, and one pattern from Paprika Patterns! I’ve been interested in both companies for a while, since I found the folded mini skirt tutorial from the latter years and years ago, and since I tried the Deer and Doe free t-shirt pattern.

This is the Deer and Doe Fumeterre skirt, and I made it in January. And yes, this is March. I’m not fantastic at the getting posts written and picture taking at reasonable times…

I bought this awesome two tone (green and aqua) chambray over the winter holidays, and had no idea what to do with it. I remember the bolt saying Robert Kaufman (like my favorite fabric-dress combo) but I can’t find it online. It’s got some weight to it, and pretty much no drape, but its not heavy enough to count as jeans-weight denim, and I probably wouldn’t have worn it as a jacket (though it would’ve looked awesome)! Yet I couldn’t bring myself to remove it from my shopping cart. Both colors you see in the photos in this post are accurate, in different lights!

When I got it back to my house, I looked through my “catalogue” of patterns, and realized that even though it doesn’t have the drape expected for the Fumeterre, it would look so awesome!

Using the recommended size, I traced my pattern pieces, and was able to cut out the skirt with very little left over. Looking at the pattern, I decided that I couldn’t give up the chance to use the pockets, and the button band. I’m not regretting the button band idea, but I now wish I’d used only a partial button band instead (faked the lower half), since the opening doesn’t flow well due to the lack of drape in the fabric.

The pockets are glorious though! I interfaced the pockets, which does affect the drape, but they haven’t really stretched, which is ideal. They’re huge! So handy to have in a skirt, and they look pretty cool too.

The inside has a lining, though I attached each lining piece to the pattern pieces, so I suppose it’s more of a flat-lined lining than a true one. But it made it easier to deal with just a bit of lining that slinks, rather than a full skirt of slink that I would need to deal with the seam frayage. This way, I just bias bound each of the skirt seams, and ironed the seam flat. This did eat up a lot of my bias stash, but it was worth it!

(Also, I noticed the stain when I was already on vacation, and just decided to go with it… I’m going to work on it later!)

The hem is long! I’m almost 5’3″, and in my heels around 5’4″, and I shortened it by over 2 inches, and might have cut off some in advance as well. I like the length I’ve got it at now, but I’d definitely shrink it earlier in the process next time. Mostly because I’m not really a heels-often person. Though my new pair is super comfy!

One of my favorite things about this version (beyond the fantastic pockets) is the buttons I chose. The waistband button is a golden shank button, made of plastic, but so cool! The other buttons are a greenish-blueish shifting ombre color thing. They’re pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

The only issue I’m finding with my skirt, which is totally a fabric thing, is that is wrinkles early and often. It’s definitely something I’m going to find annoying as I continue to wear it, but I also know that this skirt is wonderful to wear and waft around in, and I’ll wear it until it falls apart!

This got its first real wear in Seattle for a meteorology conference, and the next big wear in New Orleans for a vacation, where the green wall pictures were taken… I’m considering this business casual, but it works in real life too!

Whale of a Coat

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This is my new coat!!!

Ain’t it purdy?

It’s warm too!

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And it looks kinda Victorian (although its super not period accurate, or even vaguely accurate, and but at least give me a smidge steampunk? Kinda? Maybe? Okay I’ll continue…)

Now for the details… This is mostly the coat from Simplicity 8262, which is a new Leanne Marshall pattern. It has seven princess seamed panels with a nearly full circle skirt between them. Or it feels like it, at least.

The fabric is a wool poly blend, which started out grey. I spent one night carefully dying each piece, hoping to get an emerald color. Moss is nice too…

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I started by making a muslin out of some neon paisley that I kept around for muslin, and when I started handling my wool fabric I decided to also use it for interlining. As in take apart the muslin and use it for interlining.

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My muslin fit pretty well, except around the armscye, but I ended up overfitting it regardless, so I can only get one close fitting sweater under it at a time. So no thick sweaters plus this coat for me, unless I carry them separately. But it’s working lovely so far!

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The collar is made out of what I think is a wool felt, though I thought it was poly, because most of the time I can’t have wool on my neck and chin (due to sensitivity), so I was slightly miffed to find out it was wool, but it keeps it nice and warm!

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I modified the front to get more of a double breasted feel, and I used bound buttonholes… For the first time! Aren’t they cool! A little messy, but for a first set, they’re pretty snazzy.

I also added a zipper to the inside, which I’m considering moving around a bit, but it’s useable for now!

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Also, does it look a little sticky? I lined it with this awesome blue whale flannel from Joann’s. It does add some bulk, and some friction, but I like it! I did line the sleeves with slippy lining. Pink, since I didn’t have enough red for the job. For the sleeves I also underlined with flannel instead of the muslin fabric… Less bulk with hopefully equal wind protection.

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Looking at the pictures, I still need to work out the button and zipper placements, but the rest of the coat seems nice and smooth!

Now it just needs to stay cold out. It’s only been that cold for one day a week since I made this.

Also, Happy New Year!

Blue Winter Susanne Cardigans

I’m obsessed with cardigans.

As if you couldn’t tell… and those are just the sewn ones. And not even all of them.

And I’m always in search of the perfect cardigan pattern.

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The Susanne cardigan from Compagnie M. certainly hits many of those marks.

I had these sweater knits that have been burning a whole in my stash for about a year. And I wanted drapey cardigan to go with them. I had thought about the new Grainline one, but it wasn’t perfect for what I wanted, and I searched the internet far and wide.

When I found this one from Compagnie M. I immediately purchased it as the short version hit exactly what I wanted for these knits. Then the problem became finishing the seams.

Sweater knits enjoy unraveling, in my experience, and my serger isn’t really in working order.

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When the new makerspace opened up in my building on campus, I was pleased to find out they have a serger! (Among other fun things, such as the laser cutter that I’m incredibly obsessed with. As in all the Christmas gifts…).

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My sweater dreams could finally come true.

The aqua was first, and the pattern made a sweater that was wearable, but big. I serged around every piece, and folded over the edge and tacked the neckline/pocket edge. The armscye was a bit large and loose, and it was too big along the back shoulders. And a bit long.

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After wearing it a bit, I decided to take in the back and raise the entire cardi. I did this haphazardly, at the serger (which I don’t recommend), and I lopped off the top of the sweater at both the front and the back, and I cut into the back to create a smaller back. Overall, it had the effect that I needed and it’s a lovely cardigan to wear.

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So when I brought out the navy knit, I made those changes to a traced pattern, to normalize them a bit. Otherwise, construction was the same, with serged edges for each pattern piece, except I used a marine blue bias binding around the neckline and pocket tops. It definitely makes the cardigan more stable, which makes it super comfy, and the pockets are potentially more useful. Not much, but they can hold the weight of my keys in one, and my phone in the other, so that’s a plus.

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I’d like to try the other variations in the future… and maybe the long version, if I live in a cooler climate next.

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Altogether, between the Susanne and the Julia cardigans, I have patterns that will probably serve me the rest of my life.

With a few others sprinkled in of course. Constant pursuit of perfection and all…

**Coming in with part 3 of get projects posted in 2016 when they were made… Part 4 (My coat!!! Squee!!) should be up sometime tomorrow, and then I’ll post my review of 2016!

Revisiting High Waists

comboMy first version of Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans pattern was high waisted, but out of some bad bull denim which did not have enough stretch. So I couldn’t really sit, and I couldn’t bend my knees more than 90 degrees, which was not fun when I was trying to sit.

My second version, I accepted defeat, and used the lower waisted version, which worked, with caveats. The denim stretches out, despite being pretty pricey and good quality.  I should have used a more curved waistband, since they continually slide down my hips, and I had to sew wedges into the waistband. But I did this well after I added belt loops and started using belts (daily for the first time in my life) for a month or two, and got fed up with needing a belt to take out the trash comfortably. I also cut them rather short, which means they are perfect for summer in sandals and flats. Boots too. But shoes and sneakers, not so much. They definitely look like high waters in those. And they let cold air in. And cold air is not my friend in winter. I still love them, but at the same time, they work best in certain situations.

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So when I got my package of Cone Mill denim from CCF last December, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. At that point, the high waisted option didn’t feel viable, and the low waisted would take a lot of work. Making new jeans was very high on my to do list, but it took an extra ten months to do it.

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This is a long winded way of telling you that I have two pairs of high waist jeans to show you!

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The first is as drafted high waisted skinny jeans (with the lines on the pocket and pictures outside), and the second is slightly less high waisted and more bootcut (with the anchor on the pocket and pictures in the corner). I don’t prefer super skinny jeans anyway, but the bootcut ones are straight from knee to hem.

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As suggested, I used the heavier weight to make the bootcut, and the lighter weight for the skinny jeans, and I think it worked out lovely that way. I’m not sure that the skinny ones would be as comfortable with the thicker denim, and they are super comfortable as is.

The skinny ones I made in October, as a celebration after this huge presentation I had to give, and I finished the bootcut this past weekend. The skinnies have pockets and facing from the same fabric I used to remake my grandmother’s project bag, and the bootcut have this cool batik and metallic quilting cotton as pockets.

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The bootcut pair, made out of the thicker denim, has the same issue as my Ripples pair of stretching out. Because I finished them the day before I left to visit my family for the holidays, I made this large dart up the center back and dealt with it, but I’m debating on cutting a new waistband and attaching it. I realized a few wears in that both stretching out pairs are self faced and not interfaced, which could be the problem. My new skinnys have quilting cotton as a facing, and they don’t stretch at all. Which is good and bad, but overall more of what I want. But I wanted to post these anyway!

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Overall, there’s not much more I can say about these. I altered the yoke a bit on the bootcut, since it was very high on all high waisted pairs for me, but beyond that this is the version of the pattern I’ll use in the future for more pairs, when needed!

side**Post 2 of the last minute 2016 crunch… One more tonight, and another tomorrow! Then the wrap up will commence, right in time for the new year!

Dancing Shoes

Have I ever told you that I ballroom dance?

I think I have, since I judge nearly every make involving a skirt for its swishability, but just in case, this is your warning!

So I go to social ballroom events monthly, and typically more often than that, especially during the semester. And that means I almost always have the “But what should I wear!!” problem…

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This summer and fall I rectified this by altering a vintage dress, and making a gathered maxi skirt.

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Now, the vintage peach dress fit me nearly perfectly off the rack. It would fit better if I wore a vintage bra, but that would require me having one…

It looks to be a handmade dress, as there’s no label, but if it isn’t then it’s been drastically altered. It looks to me like a 50’s dress, and the seam lines are so interesting that I considered buying it regardless of if it fit me…

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But it did, and that made me quite pleased. Until I tried to take it off, and couldn’t manage. It had a side zipper and slipped over my head with little issue, but then I couldn’t get the dress over my lack-of-biceps… Luckily I had a friend with me in the thrift store.

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However, I did not have a friend around a few days later when I got stuck in it again, around midnight. So I seam ripped and carefully cut my way out of the sleeve. It felt like a real workout by this point. I seam ripped the zipper out, and sewed up the side seam, and input a center back zipper. It’s not my best work, but it’s passable in person.

I also took up the hem of the “slip” underlayer a bit, since it was at an awkward length for me originally, and left the tulle lace layer alone. Every time I touch that layer, though, I seem to tear the tulle, so I try my best to be careful, but I’ve mended some of the big tears, and I have more to do.

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So then a few months later I wanted to make a new skirt to help get me out of my fall funk, and I put together this maxi skirt together out of a length of what seems like curtain fabric and some heavy lining fabric. So I call it my Giselle skirt… Get it?

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The lining is cut in a nearly A-line shape, and I gathered the curtain to put it into the dress. As it’s a border print, I cut off some of the top and saved the bottom hem. I aimed the hem to be about an inch off the ground when in my ballroom heels, and it may be a smidge short, but it’s still plenty long.

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But when I realized that I still needed a closure, and to take in the waist, I decided to try a temporary closure, which I haven’t yet fixed. I’m using some hook and eyes to provide shaping, and I pull the maxi skirt over my head for “closure,” so that the skirt stays above my hips, but still falls nicely. It works especially well with bodysuits, so that’s been my pairing of choice.

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This is the first of a series of posts labeled: “Annabelle’s Last Chance to post 2016…” Be prepared for a small influx this week…

Got any clothes that you pair with a specific activity (beyond workout wear)?