Travel Wardrobe – Finished

17 Apr

The title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, because the travel wardrobe isn’t finished until the suitcase is zipped shut for the final time, but at least I can say the Spring Six-Pac is finished.  This is probably the best collection I’ve ever put together, simply because each piece goes with other pieces in my closet.  I learned a lot about combining colors, and especially about Nanette Lapore’s “column of color”.

Simply stated, the column of color is the anchor of a collection.  Besides being slimming, it offer the opportunity for throwing just about anything in your closet (especially if you are working within your personal color zone) over the top to create an entirely new look.

I extended the column of color to include a draped cardigan in the same fabric.  I figured it would offer lots of mix-and-match opportunities.  I will say that I have finally come to the conclusion that a draped cardi is not for me.  This one is the StyleArc Abby cardi, and it is good as far as draped cardis go, but I’m just not crazy about the look.  I will wear this one, though.

Here is the collection:

From left to right, the Abby Cardigan from StyleArc, the Creative Cate top (under the cardi) from StyleArc, Vogue 8435 raglan sleeve top, The Sewing Workshop Quincy top without pleats at the bust, another Vogue 8435 top, Cutting Line Design Discover Something Novel pants, and finally, Annie’s Cami from StyleArc.

The missing piece here is the Vogue 8435 skirt made from the same fabric as the Quincy top (a wonderful rayon tencel from Marcy Tilton).  I didn’t have enough fabric and had to order some more (actually, I think I accidentally threw a piece away, but that’s another story).

The scarf was a bit of serendipity – a piece of silk from my stash that I had purchased long ago to make a scarf, but never did.

By the way, I love, love, love the Quincy!  I intend to figure out how to make it without the zipper, either with one large button at the top or no buttons at all.  I like it without the pleats, and got the idea for that from TerriK on Stitcher’s Guild.  Thanks Terri!

I’m off to a spa in Utah next week for 3 days with a dear friend of mine.  I am so looking forward to it.  I’m sewing a couple of tops and some pajamas that I will post about later.

Here are two more pictures of the collection:


Another Piece for the Six Pac/Travel Wardrobe

23 Mar

It’s been pretty slow-going, and I’m not sure why.  I have plenty of time to sew, just haven’t had the mojo.  Another hobby of mine is genealogy, and I’ve been preoccupied with it lately. When you start finding folks in your family lineage that were famous at the time of the American Revolution, it’s hard to let it go.

I did finish the fifth piece of my travel wardrobe/six pac.  I’m not sure this one will actually make it into the suitcase for a couple of reasons, but it was a good learning experience. A year ago at Sew Expo, Puyallup, I took Marcy Tilton’s “Arty Cardi” class.  As is typical of me, it took a year to actually apply that knowledge to my sewing.

I started out with a Katherine Tilton pattern that I’ve made before, as a regular t-shirt, and transformed the pattern into a cardigan.  This is the original pattern from Vogue:

This is the process I used to make this t-shirt into a cardigan:

1.  I made copies of the fronts (it has a princess seam coming out from the sleeve, so there were two front pieces) and back pieces.

2.  I drew in the center front line, added 2 3/4″ to the center front, and drew the fold line 5/8″ from the center front (see below left).

3.  I added 1/2″ at the side seams (see above right)

4.  I deepened the armhole 1/2″ (see below)

5.  After cutting out the fabric, I interfaced the center fronts from the fold line to the edge to stabilized for the buttons and buttonholes.

6.  I made the buttonholes before adding the neckband.

Here is the final cardigan again:

The reason why I’m not in love with it?  The fabric is too thin for a cardi.  It just doesn’t feel right.  Also, the top buttonhole is too far down, which makes the front center neckline gape.  Live and learn.  Again.

For Spring of 2012, Put A Bird On It

12 Mar

Portland, Oregon has never been known as a fashion capital, but the folks at “Portlandia” must have been on to something.  Who would have thought that “put a bird on it” would have such couturian appeal.  This is what I’ve seen on the fashion runways for spring, 2012:

Carolina Herrera

Marc Jacobs


Then I noticed that Emma One Sock has a new flock of birds to choose from:

I love watching birds.  I love early March in Portland when the snowbirds return from their well-deserved hiatus in Mexico.  I love waking up to the cooing and chirping sounds of birds, like a natural alarm clock, gently pushing me out of bed.  But honestly, I don’t want to wear them.  I know it’s a matter of taste and style, but birds on my body just aren’t going to fly ;).

So enjoy the new spring trends everyone, and if you really want to, put a bird on it!

Travel Wardrobe 2012

7 Mar

I have decided that I am hopeless at blogging, mainly because when I get stuck in my sewing, I get stuck in my blogging, as well.  That makes for a fairly sparse blog.  Here is a brief update:

The Koos jacket is still unfinished.  I decided somewhere along the way that it is NOT my style.  This was one of the best sewing failures I’ve ever had, in terms of what I learned:  I cannot wear clothes that don’t fit around the shoulders.  Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but I really have no shoulders to speak of; therefore, anything loose-fitting around the shoulders makes me look like I’m playing dress-up in my mother’s clothes.

The Koos jacket sat on my dress form for months, while my sewing and blogging languished.  I finally said to the Koos jacket, “Off with your head!”  It is now folded up in a corner of my sewing room…resting.

In the meantime, I have started my travel wardrobe for 2012.  In August, we are visiting family in Stockholm, and then taking a side trip to Budapest.  It will be very hot in Budapest, so I’m going for a very cool and casual wardrobe, which for me means loose-fitting and light-weight.

I’ve been working on this “packing for travel” thing for a long time, and have decided that knits are the way to go.  They are cool and comfortable, they pack light and fold to nothing.  I can wash them in the sink and hang to dry.  Knits are really perfect for a travel wardrobe.

My travel wardrobe will look something like this for a two-week trip:

1.  7 knit tops

2.  2 knit pants

3.  1 skirt

4.  1 or 2 knit overlayers (shirt or cardigan)

Marcy Tilton has some wonderful fabric she calls “Paris microfiber knit” that I used last year on some casual pants.  I loved the ease of wear of this fabric, so I bought a ton of it for this year’s travel wardrobe, both in black and gray.  Here is what I have come up with so far:

Here, I am following Nancy Nix Rice’s idea of a column of color as a base.  This will make me look taller and thinner…maybe : ).  The top is the StyleArc’s Annie’s Cami and the pants are Cutting Line Design’s Discover Something Novel.

I threw a Babette blouse from my closet over my shoulders, and viola, an outfit:

Then I made this StyleArc Creative Cate top to go with the pants:

Finally, I added this StyleArc cardigan to the mix:

The cardi is not hemmed in this picture, but you can see that I’m working my way to a functional summer travel wardrobe.

Unfinished Koos Jacket, Vogue 1277

6 Dec

I am finished with the Koos class, but not finished with the jacket.  It’s not because of the pattern, though, it’s because of some fabric I used that wouldn’t cooperate.  The class was very fun, and the coat is coming along.

I haven’t been blogging as I go because sewing for eight hours a day wipes me out.  When I get home from class, I am totally exhausted. It made me think of the statue of the garment worker in New York City and what it must have been like, working in a sweat shop bent over a sewing machine 12 hours a day, seven days a week.  Hard work, indeed!

This Koos pattern is pretty amazing in so many ways.  The most interesting part is the sleeves, though, and the way Koos made the sleeve seam curve around the sleeve on the diagonal.  The other appealing part of the jacket is the fact that the coat is really one major piece that becomes the jacket lining, and then you place smaller pieces on top of it to make the design.  The way Koos designed it, you could easily put any shape you want on the main piece to create your own unique design.

Here is the sleeve.  You can see how the seam curves around diagonally:

**My sewing instructor, Marla Kazell, took a class from Koos, himself, to learn how to construct the jacket, and the way he constructs it is very different from the Vogue pattern instructions.  Koos adds 1/2″ seam allowances to his patterns, then lays out the main pattern piece and glues the individual design pieces on top of the main piece, and then sews on the bias tape.  Vogue added full seam allowances so that you can sew the individual pieces together before adding the bias tape.

**Another change that Vogue made to the pattern was to put some of the pieces on the straight of grain and some on the bias.  The Koos pattern has each center back on the bias.  I’m not sure why Vogue would make that change, since you would want the back on the bias for the drape effect.

In my sewing class, we put all pieces on the bias and we glued the pieces on, which meant that we had to trim some of the seam allowances off.  There are options to glueing.  One option is to use a permanent glue (which is what Koos uses), which will give your jacket more body.  I didn’t want that look (I wanted my jacket to drape more) so I used the Sulky Temporary Spray adhesive, which was the good news and the bad news.  The good news is that the jacket will be drapier, the bad news is that the pieces don’t stick very well, especially if they are silk.  Most of my pieces were wool, but I did have a nasty little piece of silk that caused me CONSIDERABLE trouble.

If you use the temporary spray, you will need to add stitching (like quilting) to hold the pieces together.  Then you will need to pin, pin, pin, as well.  Here is a picture of my jacket at the stage where I had finished glueing and was beginning to pin bias strips on the jacket.

I forgot to take a picture of the lining, but it is the same shape as all the top pieces put together and is laying underneath these pieces.  As you can see, the piece at the hemline is actually two pieces that are sewn together at the center back, then the piece is sewn along the hemline to form the hem.  That piece is then turned and glued to the lining, as are the rest of the pieces, overlapping by about 1/2 inch.  As I said before, I had to trim some of the seam allowances away, since Vogue added them to their pattern.

Here is how the back turned out:

By the way, I used an extra small size.

So now, I have the basic jacket put together, one sleeve sewn on, and tons of things (like Hong Kong binding) left to do.  I’m not sure how much of this I’m going to get to until after Christmas, but I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

**These paragraphs were edited after the orignal post.

New Infinity Scarf Instructions

30 Nov

I recently decided to make some faux fur infinity scarves for Christmas presents this year.  I haven’t made an infinity scarf since the two I made for my Italy trip last year.  I thought it would be easy to sew a few scarves together quickly.

After several tries and several bouts with the seam ripper, I decided my instructions from last year were not very clear.  So, I’m revising the infinity scarf instructions, and this time I hope they are easier to follow.  Here are the steps:

This is 1 1/2 yards of fabric, cut to 14 inches wide.

1.  Choose a piece of fabric that is at least 1 1/2 yards long.   The width of the piece is dependent upon the thickness of the fabric.  For example, last year I made my silk scarves with fabric that was 60 inches wide, and they were quite chunky.  If I were to make those scarves again, I would cut the fabric in half to 30 inches.  I think that would make a nice silk infinity scarf.  But, since faux fur is so much thicker, you would need a narrower piece.  My faux fur was about 56 inches wide, and I cut it into four pieces, each 14 inches wide.  So, you have to play around with the width a little bit, depending on the type of fabric you are using.

Folded in half lengthwise, right sides together

2.  Fold the fabric piece in half lengthwise, right sides together.

This is one end after it is stitched.

3.  Beginning about 4 inches from the end, stitch along the open edge, using a small seam allowance (about 1/4 inch).  Stitch to about 4 inches from the other end.

This is the piece with one end shoved into the tube to the other end.

4.  Sewing up the edge creates a tube.  Now take one end of the tube and push it into the tube until that end reaches the other end (see the picture above).  Now the two ends are right sides together and can be stitched from edge to edge using a small seam allowance.

This is the end you will stitch closed.

5.  Once you have sewn the end together, you will have a hole in the scarf.  Turn the fabric right side out through the hole.

This is the hole in the scarf before it is turned right side out.

This is the hole in the scarf after it is turned to the right side.

6.  Finally, hand stitch the hole from the right side.

Hand stitch the opening to close.

I hope these instructions are easier to understand.  Enjoy your infinity scarves.

Vogue 8634…again

28 Nov

While I’m waiting to begin the Koos jacket, which is part of my winter 6 pack, I decided to make another top from this pattern.  If you remember, I made this top in a wild and crazy (for me) rayon knit for the 6 pack.  I really loved the way it turned out, so I decided to use my precious Missoni knit from Emma One Sock to make the next one.  This is not a top-of-the-line Missoni.  It is polyester, which I really hesitated to buy, but I’m so glad I did.  It really doesn’t have a poly feel.  You would probably guess that it is a cotton/rayon type knit.

The knit is fairly loose, so I decided to reinforce on the front and back shoulders (since it’s a raglan sleeve) and along the neck edge:

I had to lower the horizontal seam on the bodice. I think anyone who isn’t very flat-chested would have to do the same. Otherwise you will end up with a seam running across the middle of your boobs. I lowered the seam by 2 inches, which might have been a bit much, but it looks fine. Here is the finished top:

This is a comfortable top and I will probably make it again.  I especially like it in the sweater knit, because it works with a “beefier” fabric.

My focus this week is in finding the chocolate binding for my Koos jacket, and altering some clothes, since weight loss has me looking baggy and saggy these days.

Koos class starts on Thursday :).

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