Sunday, February 11, 2018

Raglan Man Tee

My friend, Jessica, is the kind of person who can hop into the Goodwill and emerge with 6 cashmere sweaters, a piece of Waterford crystal and a handful of vintage patterns. Luckily for her friends, she happily shares her good fortune.

I have a basic, set in sleeve tee pattern I've made a few times for The Man. It's cobbled together from a free Burdastyle pattern modified with tracings of his favorite store-bought tees. I've been wanting to try a raglan tee pattern for him and, wouldn't you know, Jessica turned up a vintage Stretch-and-Sew pattern that fills that bill.

Front view
And for 79 cents too.

According to the envelope this pattern dates from 1967. Though this guy looks like he's edging into the 70's.

70's dude with dark glasses
The Man has a few criteria for tee shirts, as follows:
  • close fit
  • high crew neck - no v-necks please!
  • long enough to stay tucked in to a pair of jeans
  • and a pocket that can hold a slew of vintage fountain pens
Side view
This pattern ticked all the boxes with the exception of the pocket, but that was easy enough to add.

Pocket with a heavy load of Mont Blancs
You know, I've never seen a men's raglan tee that has a pocket and I'm not sure why that's the case. I thought it might be because the pocket would interfere with the raglan sleeve seam, but that didn't end up being a problem.

This pattern should fill all my male raglan tee needs. It has a long sleeve version, a turtle neck version and instructions to split it up the front and make a cardigan.

My pattern review is on here.

And here's the Kirsten Kimono Tee I scrapped together from the remnants from my Trapezoid Top. My favorite tee pattern. I just love it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Trapezoid Top

You know those off-kilter tee shirts that pop up every so often in Burdastyle magazine? Well, they finally sucked me into making one of them. This is top #107 from the February, 2018 issue.

And here's the line drawing below.

BS 02-2018-#107

It really is as wonky as it looks. But I think I kind of like it.

Side view showing the long side
There are only two pattern pieces - front and back. The neckline is just turned and stitched, so there isn't even a neckband to put on. In fact, the sewing part of the project was a total walk in the park.

The pattern tracing, on the other hand, was a challenge. Maybe my eyes are getting worse in my old age, but I had a heck of a time following the lines on this one. True, the pattern pieces are large and oddly shaped. In fact, they're so large Burda has laid each piece out in two chunks that you need to tape together at the end.

But once the tracing and cutting are done, you just zip up four seams and Bob's your uncle.

Side view showing the short side
I used a light weight french terry in a color called "charcoal" that I found at Hart's. I originally bought it planning to make a tee shirt for The Man, but once I got it home all I could see was this trapezoid top. Sorry, honey. Yet he still volunteered to do my photo shoot this morning. He's a sweetie.

The style is a bit edgy for this beach town gal, but I feel I should stretch myself every now and again. The terry makes it feel like a cozy sweatshirt, but maybe with more of an urban vibe. During my test-wearing session it felt comfortable and pretty much stayed put, once I fluffed my neckline into shape.

I think I'll get some use out of it! And I did go back to get another piece of this fabric for The Man.

My pattern review is on here.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flannel Blouse

Back in mid-December I took a little wander through the Anthropologie in Carmel, looking for scented candles. While sniffing the various options, I happened to notice a rack of plaid flannel shirts that didn't look like plaid flannel shirts. They were more like blouses that happened to be made of flannel. It was a cold and windy day outside; I had a vision of a nice, soft, warm flannel blouse that could be my very own.

The idea stuck with me, so I made a visit to Hart's to check out their wares. I found this Robert Kaufman mammoth flannel in a color way called Turquoise Surf. It spoke to me, so I grabbed a couple of yards and got to work.

I used Burdastyle 06/2011 #104, a top I've made a few times before. I like this top because it makes it easy to finesse pattern matching. The design lines are very simple and there are no darts. Burda uses a few gathers at the shoulder instead.

I cut the cuffs on the bias to avoid plaid matching there. I would have cut the button band on the bias too, but I didn't have enough fabric. When I was standing at the cutting table two yards seemed like plenty to make me a top. But I forgot to notice that this fabric is 44 inches wide, which is narrower than I'm used to. Doh! I tried to match up the horizontal lines at least, and I don't think it came out too bad.

I kind of wish I'd interfaced the cuff pieces. I decided to skip interfacing altogether, because two layers of flannel seemed like it was about as thick as I could deal with. I think it's just fine for the button band, but those bias cut cuffs warped a bit with handling. It passes the galloping horse test, though, so I'm not too fussed.

This is my second flannel shirt, along with my flannel Archer. I've been loving them. Winter on the Central Coast can feel even colder in the house than it does outside. A flannel shirt is just the thing to take the edge off.

My pattern review is on here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Button Front Fly

I made these pants partly for scientific purposes. I've never sewn a button front fly before. Actually, I haven't worn a button front fly since my old shrink-to-fit Levi 501s in high school. This pattern is in the December, 2017 issue of Burdastyle. Even though you can't see the buttons in either of the photos of the pants, I was intrigued.

Front view
I had my doubts while sewing, and I had to stretch my visual thinking to figure out how to put that danged fly together. Now that they're done, I like 'em!

Here's the line drawing from Burdastyle. They show them with a cropped leg and a flounce at the ankle.

Burdastyle December, 2017 #101
As a woman in her 60s, I feel I need to be sparing in my use of flounce so I decided to omit those. And as a short person, I think cropped trousers make me look even stumpier, so I lengthened them 6 inches. I'm 5'3";  if you're a long-legged gal and you want ankle length you may want to tack on even more.
Side view
I planned to add pockets, which Burdastyle doesn't include. I dug up an inseam pocket from another pants pattern; cut them out and everything. Then I decided I couldn't be bothered after all. Next time, I'll go for it though.

The fabric is a lightweight railroad strip denim that I got at Cool Cottons in Portland a couple years ago. Once I got it home the fabric seemed a little too heavy for a top and a little too light for a pair of pants. I think it works OK for this style though.

I'm actually surprised how well I like these pants. I test wore them to a party yesterday and they felt very comfortable. Add some pockets and this could become a go-to pants pattern for me.

My pattern review is on here.

Happy echeveria

And here's a happy, somewhat seasonally colored echeveria in my planter on the porch. Succulents seem to really like this planter. This guy looks like he's going to bust out the sides and take over the yard.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Another Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan

Back in September of 2015 I made myself a Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan. I really liked that cardigan. It was a neutral gray, so it went with most of my wardrobe. It was fairly slim fitting but also long, so it managed to feel trim and slouchy at the same time. Plus it had those nice, deep pockets.

Then I left it hanging on the back of a chair in the Pearl Bakery in Portland, Oregon. I didn't realize that I must have done that until we were on the train, heading home. Goodby, beloved cardigan.

It's not like I don't have other cardigans. Between knitting and sewing, I have plenty of toppers to keep me warm. Still, none of them really filled that tender, empty spot inside left by my Jalie 3248.

So I made another one.

Front view
 I used a marled, navy blue sweater knit that I got while browsing the aisles at Hart's. They still have this fabric in some other colors, including a nice cranberry. It's light but warm, and it washed up nicely too. Into the washer and dryer with no special handling and it came out looking just like it did when I bought it.

The pattern is kind of a fabric hog because the front is cut double; one outer layer and one lining layer. The construction is nice. You can have some fun with different fabrics for the lining, which would show on the pockets, and you end up with a clean finish on the inside. The sewing is pretty much a breeze. Except for those pockets.

Close up of pocket
They kick my butt every time. Even though I've made the darn pattern before, I still sewed one pocket backwards. And when I did get the first pocket put together correctly, it took me another 20 minutes to puzzle through how to set up the second pocket.

The instructions are good. It's my spacial perception that's at fault. It's worth the trouble, though, because I do love these pockets so.

The fit is pretty slim, though the cardigan is cut fairly long. Especially for someone who is 5'3", like me.

The sleeves are slim fitting. Jalie says: "The sleeve is fitted and designed to be worn over a sleeveless top or dress." It works for me over a short sleeve tee shirt, but I wouldn't want to wear anything more bulky than that underneath.

Here on the Central Coast it's just what's needed for most of our weather. We consider anything below 65 degrees to be downright nippy.

Jalie 3248 has 18 reviews on and most of us give it a lot of love. My review is here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Itch to Stitch Brassov

Now that the days have turned a bit shorter and chillier, I found myself hauling out the warmer tops. Even inside the house it's cozy to have something snugged up against the back of your neck. And though I'm generally a 3/4 sleeve kind of person, a long sleeve is really nice when the wind is blowing.

The Brasov top, from Itch to Stitch, fits all my winter criteria.

The Brasov is a faux-wrap top which features:
  • Soft-draped surplice neckline
  • High back neckline
  • Curved surplice hem
  • Shoulder pleats
  • Side pleats
  • Long sleeves
The neckline is high in back and in front, which I like a lot. Not only is it snug and cozy, I don't have to worry about showing too much chest when I bend over. 

Back view for you
I used an ITY knit with a brushed surface. Though it's light-weight, it feels soft and cozy. I liked the colors and print in the abstract; now that it's on me I think it veers a bit into old lady territory. But, heck, I am an old lady so it's all good.

The instructions were very clear. Construction involved some layering and flipping, making me feel like a genius, even though all I did was follow the nicely illustrated steps. Just make sure you mark your notches and keep straight about which is the wrong side of your fabric and you will have no troubles at all.

I'm toying with making version two for our upcoming holiday trip to Las Vegas. I can picture it in black, or maybe a jewel tone, with a pencil skirt and a pair of bling-y earrings.

My pattern review is on here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Denim Skirt for Free

My friend, Jessica, has become involved with FabMo, a non-profit organization that rescues discarded materials from designers and provides them to teachers and artists for a nominal donation. They have everything from fabric to wallpaper to tiles to rugs.

Here's their self-description from their web site:

"FabMo provides unique, high-end materials to artists, teachers, and others for their creative reuse. These exquisite textiles, wallpapers, tiles, leathers, trims, etc. are from the design world, and are usually not available to you at all except through a designer. FabMo makes them available on a donation basis, diverting about 70 tons/year of them from their otherwise destination - the landfill!"

If you haven't been to one of their events, give it a try!

The materials are usually sample-sized, but every once in a while you can find a larger hunk of fabric.  Jessica had her eye open for me, bless her soul, and she scored a piece of black denim that was about a yard.

Hand in pocket, which is hard to see  otherwise

I used it to make myself a second version of Burdastyle 10-2011-119. Black is notorious for masking design details, so here's the line drawing:

Burdastyle 10-2011, skirt #119

It's just like your favorite denim skirt from high school, only with better pockets.

Close-up of pocket. I'm in love!
I made this skirt in a washed-out blue denim some years ago and I ended up wearing it quite a lot, especially last summer. That first version had gotten an ugly grease stain on the front, so I shortened it quite a bit, giving it a new lease on life in my wardrobe. Wearing it was like wearing a comfy pair of shorts, only even cooler on a hot day.

I've been wanting a darker-colored version for a while now.

This skirt is hemmed as Burdastyle drafted; 26 inches. Since I'm a short person, that means it's a midi-length on me.
Here's a view without hands in pockets
I was tempted to whack it back to just above the knee, like my light blue one, but I decided to keep it longer. At least through the winter. I can see this length being a good match for a pair of boots and a sweater once those dark, rainy days kick in.

This pattern is available as a download from the Burdastyle website, in case you like the looks of it but don't have 10 years of back issues stashed in your closet, like I do.

My pattern review is on here.