Thursday, August 29, 2013

Black Denim Blazer

I finally finished my first ever blazer this summer. It spent over a year in my unfinished projects bin, and I would work on it here and there. But I was determined to finish it this summer.

It is super-comfy, with sleeves that actually fit. One of my biggest problems with RTW jackets is that they all seem to be made for women with skinny arms. I have muscular arms... a legacy from my climbing years, kept up lately by carrying around Bug, who has to be almost 30 lbs now! It is also comfortable to button, while most of the other jackets I own look terrible buttoned for one reason or another.

The jacket fabric is black stretch denim. My feeling was that it was a cheap fabric so I could have lots of extra in case of mistakes (and I did have to remake one of the collar pieces). At the same time, it is a durable and comfy fabric suitable for many occasions-- the black is dressy enough for most any event I'm likely to have to attend, but also goes great with jeans.

I also despise those polyester-acetate linings that are everywhere in RTW, so this one has a luxurious hot pink stretch silk charmeuse lining, with an interior pocket! I never understood why men get those, and women's jackets almost never have them. I also did a bound buttonhole and double-welt pockets.

It was definitely a learning process. I had to re-cut some of the collar pieces, and I unpicked and resewed the lapels several times. I tried my best to emulate fine tailoring- the lapels are pad-stitched hair canvas with cotton twill hand sewn on to define the roll-line. The sleeve headers are wool felt, and the shoulder pads are handmade from wool felt.

For next time, I'm thinking about narrowing the shoulders a bit... it feels just a bit wide on me. But I think I'll wear it around awhile to see.

If you are interested, the pattern is Simplicity 2446.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Missoni Wool Cardi-Coat

This was actually one of my first major sewing projects when I got back into sewing, and it is still one of my favorite garments to wear. The fabric is a gorgeous wool Missoni chevron-knit sweater fabric from Emma One Sock. If it isn't the real thing, the fabric is gorgeous enough that I am happily fooled. It is soft but still has that warm-woolie feel, and there are pretty feathery yarns and some that have some glossiness, without being glittery. I haven't seen a fabric like this since, I'm glad I made the splurge then.

The pattern is improvised from a cardigan sweater, and modeled after a Missoni design. I used the selvages for the sleeve and bodice hems, and crocheted an edge with a wool yarn. The shoulders and armholes are stabilized with weft interfacing cut on the bias.
The Inspiration

Considering everything I know now, it is sort of remarkable I pulled this off. Cardigans are definitely one of my favorite things to sew, they are so forgiving and satisfying.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Drapey linen tunic-top

Here is my favorite top of the summer. A little rumpled in this picture, and not perfect, but definitely my go-to top for a hot day. It is an adaptation of Simplicty 2404, and by this time looks nothing like the original, having extended the bodice of the dress into a full princess-seamed tunic-top. I made it in a gorgeous digital print linen from Marcy Tilton, the same one she uses in her new spring dress pattern. I bought the pattern, but really I think I envied the fabric! Finally one yard showed up in the roll ends, discounted enough that I could justify purchasing it. I've remade this pattern several times in knits this fall, subtracting width to create negative ease and taking in the neckline a bit to reduce the bit of gaping that is going on here.

It may not be the most polished top, but I sort of love the way linen wrinkles, it is cool in the hottest weather, and the princess seams combined with the drapey-ness make me feel like I have a figure even when I'm not in the mood to show it off!