Monthly Archives: January 2010

McCalls 5984 – Finished!

Thanks for all of your well-wishes! I was under the weather for a few days but am back up to speed now. I’ve been trying to stay off the computer in the evenings so that I can actually get some much-needed things done. Today is the first day I’ve even turned my home computer on all week!

I finally finished up my wool boucle jacket and am very pleased with it. You know, I used to sew jackets all the time. They are actually one of my favorite things to sew – or were. Then I started my embroidery business and didn’t wear jackets too often so I stopped making them. But, I decided that my wardrobe needs an upgrade and 2010 is going to be The Year Of The Jacket! I had soooo much fun working with this wool boucle and can’t wait to start another one. Yes, I know it will be warming up very quickly here *but* I figure I’ll be prepared for next winter.

Here it is, exactly the way I will be wearing it – unbuttoned. Oops, I see I still have a little pressing to do on that front hem! I’m really happy with the way these snaps look. The pattern calls for 5 snaps but I eliminated the 2nd one at the top of the facing because it looked odd when the jacket was open. I bought these snaps from Pacific Trimmings in NYC and definitely want to order a few more just to have.



The back. I’m pretty happy with the inverted pleat but feel it needs a bit more ease to hang better. Or maybe I should sew the pleat closed a little more. What do you think, Els?


I added a hanging chain which is really half of a bracelet I found at Michael’s. The color is just perfect.


To make the chain I sewed two narrow tubes out of my lining fabric. Crossgrain, lengthwise grain or bias – doesn’t matter because most of it will be enclosed in your neckline seam anyway.


I bagged the lining which is extra-easy with this pattern because the collar is closed up last. When I first learned to sew, we were taught to stitch this area by hand (which never looked good). Thanks to Kathleen, I learned how to bag a few years ago and haven’t looked back! If you haven’t done it before, this pattern does include instructions. Ignore the part about leaving an opening in the sleeve lining. You won’t need it because you can turn the jacket through the neckline seam.


I did handstitch the hem in place after attaching the lining. I like the way it looks better than securing the hem at each seam. On the sleeves I did just tack in a couple of places.


Although I wanted this jacket to be very soft and sweaterlike, I wanted the hems to retain their shape so I interfaced them with bias strips of Textured Weft. I happen to have several bolts of this stuff that I’m trying to use up.


When I got to the sleeves, I searched high and low for the moustache-shaped sleeve heads that Els sent me awhile back. I finally gave up and used bias-strips of tie interfacing instead. I have since located the moustaches – seems they were canoodling with some 1980s-era shoulder pads lurking under my counter. I should post photos of those pads. I can’t believe we ever wore those things!


Speaking of shoulder pads, they are optional in this pattern. However, I think a jacket needs some kind of shoulder shaping, something for the jacket to hang from. I found some very thin raglan pads in my collection, which were perfect once I removed the inner layer.



I always sew my shoulder pads on from the outside. I just feel that I have more control and that they are more secure that way. I sew them on with a small backstitch through the shoulder seam and


around the cap of the sleeve, being sure not to pull the stitches tight. This makes it so easy to shape the shoulder area over one hand while sewing with the other.


All in all, this jacket went together effortlessly. It’s a really nice pattern that I would highly recommend. It’s very nicely fitted through the shoulder and upper chest and really flattering. As I mentioned in my previous post, I usually prefer a fitted jacket and was unsure about this style. I absolutely love it and am so glad I made it!

One thing you need to look out for is the size of the pocket bags. Before trimming, the pocket seam allowance ends up being the same length as the hemline of the jacket. However, the jacket front hemline is a seam so you have some bulk to contend with there in addition to the pocket seam allowance. Add possible drooping of the pocket bag and you can end up with a lump at the hem, which is what happened to me. The fix is easy, I simply sewed the pocket 5/8″ shorter at the bottom. So, if you are working with a soft, drapey fabric be sure to check this before you close up your neckline.


Parting shots:

We have Cattleyas! My poor, neglected orchids still spoil me with their beautiful flowers. Really, I must build a slat house for them this year.


While cleaning out my linen closet (which is, of course, filled with fabric and leather) I found some large remnants of linen that were too small for anything so I made kitchen towels out of them. Linen towels are the best for drying barware!


Check this out! I am planning on making a Chanel-style jacket from this beautiful black wool that I’ve had in my collection for quite some time. I was kind of disappointed that I have less than two yards, not enough for the fringe trim I’d planned. Well, the other day I was in Fabric Hell (aka JoAnn’s) and had a quick look at their trims – something I never do. By the time I got to the end of the aisle I was thoroughly disgusted. That is, until I saw this trim! The perfect trim for my wool! It even has the sparkly cellophane threads! The tag said “mohair fringe” which I seriously doubt since it was only $4.79/yd. Still, it looks awesome with my fabric so I am very pleased.



Filed under McCall's, Year of the Jacket

McCall’s 5984 – on the cutting table

I woke up yesterday wanting to make a jacket. It’s been very cold so I guess I had the sudden urge to work with wool. I picked up this Palmer/Pletsch pattern about a month ago. It’s not something I’d ordinarily choose as I prefer fitted clothing for the most part. But, when I saw Pati Palmer modeling it in the last PP newsletter, I fell in love with it. It’s good to try something new once in awhile!


I wear a lot of jeans so I wanted something that would look pretty with denim. I’ve had this wool/lycra suiting from Fashion Sewing Group in my stash for a few years (maybe six?) and thought it would look fabulous with the faux tortoise-shell snaps I ordered from Pacific Trimming a few months ago. The lining is a silk/lycra charmeuse of unknown origin. What could be nicer than a silk lining?



I cut out the pattern and fitted it this evening. Because of the easy fit of this jacket I only needed a small (5/8″) full bust adjustment. I also made my usual alterations: shorten sleeves 1″ and 5/8″ forward shoulder. I skipped the sway-back adjustment since there’s a large inverted pleat at the back and everything hung just fine without it. Interestingly, I never, ever have to make a high-round adjustment but the back neckline wasn’t quite coming up to the base of my neck so I made a 1/4″ alteration there.

Tomorrow, I will cut and interface the fabric and cut out the lining. It’s been awhile since I worked with wool so I’m really looking forward to this project.


Filed under Fabric, McCall's, Year of the Jacket

Another Butterick 5313

I haven’t done much sewing since the first, sigh. Last weekend, I decided to clean out my garage because we had bulk pickup last Thursday. What I thought would take a few hours ended up taking most of the weekend. I am a bit of a saver and had to be really ruthless because I had to make space for our bikes (I was so sick of seeing them on the back patio!), new lawn equipment and a miter saw that I bought a few months ago. I accomplished everything I wanted to and am so glad it’s done!

I did some sewing last week but nothing terribly exciting. Bryan left for the National Football Convention yesterday and asked me to hem some track pants (with leg zippers, ugh) and make him a navy fleece pullover. Luckily, I had some navy fleece in my stash so I pulled out my trusty old Kwik-Sew 2531 which I’ve made more times than I can recall. The only suitable navy zip I had in my stash was a 2-way separator so I just cut off the excess length and bound the bottom (which was really scratchy) with a piece of grosgrain ribbon.


This pattern does not include facings so I have drafted my own. I just think it looks more finished that way and it only takes a few minutes to do. You can see where I’ve zigzagged the facing edges down.


None of the navy nylon/lycras in my stash matched this fabric well enough so I ended up using stretch illusion of all things! If only he knew! I think it looks fine.


I finally had some time to sew for myself today so I finished up the charcoal version of Butterick 5313. This is the Vera Wang Lavendar jersey that had some months back. It was really nice to work with and I now wish I’d bought more colors. This dress will be a great year-round basic. It can be worn with flats, heels or boots, making it easy to dress up or down. It wasn’t as exciting as working with a print but I am really need of basics so I’ll have to get used to that!


In case you are wondering, yes, I did leave the flounce hem edge raw again. I am sure that Mrs. Kazen, my middle-school Home Ec. teacher, would just die at the very though of it. But, I love the way it hangs and moves so why not?


Filed under Butterick, Kwik-Sew

Butterick 5313

I found myself with some free time yesterday afternoon so I decided to whip up a quick dress to wear to dinner last night. Sure, I had about a bajillion other things that needed to be done but I wanted to sew!

I chose to make Butterick 5313. View B is fun and flirty, goes well with high boots and is quick to make. I selected this knit print because it went so well with my Frye Ava boots! The fabric has been in my collection for at least a year and I don’t remember where it came from. I barely had enough yardage and had to try several different layouts before I could make it work.



I made a straight size 8 with a 1″ FBA and a 5/8″ forward shoulder adjustment. I also shortened the sleeve 1″ as I always do. I left the dress length as it was. I’m just over 5’3″ and wanted it to hit me right at the knee which it does. If you are taller you should definitely check the length before you cut.

This went together in a couple of hours (including pattern alterations and cutting) – I LOVE instant gratification! I decided to leave the bottom of the flounce unfinished. It just hangs so nicely the way it is and I was worried that a hem would change the look so I just cleaned it up with my rotary cutter and a curved ruler.


I like this style so much that I’ll be making it again this weekend in a charcoal Vera Wang knit. I really need a simple basic dress and I think I’d get a lot of mileage out of this one.


Filed under Butterick