Monday, September 27, 2021

Papercut Pinnacle Sweatshirt: Curve Edition


Hello, Lovely People! For many of us, it's sweatshirt season. Woohoo! Actually, it was the foggiest of foggy summers for me, so really it's always been sweatshirt weather, but now we're venturing into pumpkin spice season and cozy days ahead. In case I haven't made it obvious, I absolutely love this time of year. The light is beautiful; the days become breezy and a little crisp. I always try to savor this time before the holiday craziness begins. 

Okay,  back to it. I'm here to post about the Papercut Pinnacle Top. They've recently released a separate Curve size range (Yay!) and it's available in PAPER, not just PDF.  Papercut Patterns remind me a bit of luxury makeup or perfume. Like, I feel like I sort of get taken in by the pretty packaging, but many of the patterns are pretty basic and the instructions are kind of sparse.  

Overall, though, I really like my sweatshirt but it's VERY oversized and the sleeve cuffs are weirdly wide. More on that in a bit. 

So let's start with the elephant in the room: that meeting point for the upper and lower triangles is difficult and I didn't execute it perfectly. I really tried--even used fusible bias on the edges so it didn't stretch out--but it still ended up puckering a bit. I kept picking and clipping and resewing but I finally had to leave it alone before I ended up making it worse. This is thick French terry, like a towel, so I readjusted my expectations. C'est la vie.

I actually don't mind how much it's oversized, but if you like your garments to be fit more closely, I would recommend sizing down. There are about 12 inches of ease here, which is a lot. Papercut patterns always seem to run big, IMO.  

The bigger problem is those crazy cuffs, (see below) and I have no idea what happened because I don't have inordinately small wrists. I think I could easily fix it by tapering in the underside/batwing a bit, followed by an additional adjustment to the cuff. 

Here are my adjustments and additional notes:
  • Size 9 from the Curve range, which is based on a D cup (sewing cup, not bra size). 
  • I am in LOVE with this fabric from Stonemountain in Berkeley: Organic Tencel Terry. Would love to buy some more either in black or again in olive for a pair of wide-legged cropped sweat pants. It has great drape but still has that wonderfully spongey sweatshirt feel with just the right amount of stretch--20% on the grain. 
  • I shortened the sleeves by 1.25", which is standard for me, but made sure to shorten it in the middle so it wouldn't affect the width of the sleeve hem. 
  • I shortened the width of the cuff by 1" b/c it seemed a little too long in the PPC model photos. 
  • The pattern is designed for both knits and wovens but I don't recall being instructed to size down for knits. Maybe that's the issue. ETA: I've had some time to think and to wear and wash my sweatshirt, and I think I know the issue. I think I steamed it too much during assembly. I just love my steam. That's why I love sewing with linen so much. :)  The good news is that it snapped back after a wash/dry and now it's the right amount of ease for me. I love wearing it so much. It's cozy to put on at the end of the day or after a bath.  And, yes, I've already spilled food on it.  :))
The more I look at these pics, the more I think I'll bring the sides in a little. The pattern doesn't have shoulder seams, so it's really just one seam on either side which hopefully makes a difference. Either way, it's super cozy and I'll wear it a lot--particularly since I'm still working from home. 

So that's all for me. I'm currently working on a quilt right now AND I've just joined a pottery studio. Lots of exciting making ahead. :) Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Cris Wood Sews Parasol Top/ Sew House Seven Free Range Slacks


Hello! I hope this post finds you well wherever you might be in the world. I haven't done a lot of garment sewing lately--mainly quilting and pottery these days--but I wanted to be sure to log my experience with the Cris Wood Sews Parasol top. It's such an interesting pattern. I'll also leave my fitting notes for the Sew House Seven Freerange Slacks since I will most definitely be making them again. 

As I mentioned in my previous post about the CCP Elodie wrap dress, I'm not able to print pdf patterns at work any longer since I'm working from home. As a result, I'm only purchasing paper patterns these days. I've also decided to only purchase from pattern designers who include their extended size range within the paper pattern option (see my rant from my last post), which will sadly exclude CCP  from my future purchases. There are SO many other pattern designers out there who accommodate all size ranges and don't offer fewer options to one group. I'd rather give those folks my money. 

This seems like a good segue to start talking about Cris Wood Sews because this is a no print/ no paper pattern. That's right, no paper pieces to cut out! Instead, you plug your measurements into a simple mathematical formula and cut out a series of rectangles based on this. 

So here I am posing in front of a mural like a good little sewing blogger. Honestly, I don't love it. I had a feeling that this pattern wouldn't work for me, but the idea was just so compelling. I had to try it! And I don't regret the effort. I needed a warm-weather top, and I love the fabric. It will be good for those rare beachy vacations as a cover-up--or it might find its way into one of my quilting projects. We'll see.

By the way, I've seen gorgeous versions of this pattern on plus-size/curvy sewists, so I don't think my size is the issue. I think there are a couple of factors: 1.)  I sewed the neckline too high when I was making adjustments because I was trying to avoid a plunging neckline. But I think this and other adjustments messed up the proportions of the design. Fortunately, though, the neckline is an easy fix. 2.) This style leans more billowy caftan-esqe, even as a top, and, as much as I love caftans on others,  I've never been able to pull off the look myself. 

So even though I'm not likely to make this again, here are my adjustments/details. Note: Since this is a no- pattern-pattern--more of a set of instructions--I'm going to try to be careful how I explain the adjustments so I respect the designer's intellectual property. 

  • Fabric Usage: It's hard to gauge how much fabric you will need. There are a couple of examples in the pattern, so that helps a bit. I used 2 yards of an Indian block print. I think it was pretty narrow--around 43 inches wide--so I did a lot of creative cutting and played with stripe direction. (BTW, the fabric is a wonderful, light, papery cotton voile from Stonemountain, ideal to wear on hot days and perfect for projects with pleats or gathers. )
  • Number 1 piece of advice: Do try it on BEFORE sewing down your neck facing. Save yourself some unpicking. 
  • Step 3: Instructions have you sew 3 inches which, without giving too much away, affects the neckline. I doubled that amount to 6 inches. Will decrease to four inches if I ever make this again. 
  • Straps: I moved the straps 1 inch towards the back in order to have a little more fabric in the front. This might have messed things up...
  • Step 5a:  Much of my bra was visible from the side when I held my arms straight out, so I increased the amount I sewed for the side seams by one inch.
  • I'm confused about...where the gathers are supposed to hit me at the bust. From other versions, it looks like the gathers should hit at the high bust, which is why they tip up a bit as an intentional design element. And maybe that's where I went wrong in my adjustments--i.e., working against part of the design to give myself more room in the bust. 
So that's my Parasol top. Not a winner but not the end of the world either. For the Freerange slacks, I know my above photo doesn't give you the best idea, but this is a fabulous pattern. Below is a poor-quality mirror selfie that at least shows the waistband.

Here are my notes:
  • Fabric: 2 yards of really wonderful Laundered Linen in Nutmeg from Stonemountain. I love this lightweight linen so much and the color is such a beautiful warm brown. I used leftover scraps (I had 2.5 yards to start) for quilting a pillow cover. 
  • Size: 20 based on waist size-- the largest of the original size range
  • Favorite Element: No fusible interfacing and a foldover waistband, like the Pietra pants, which makes for a long, fluid line.
  • Short person adjustments:  Shortened 2 inches at lower leg/1 inch at upper rise. Shortened pocket  piece 2 inches. This is important because otherwise, the tips of my fingers can't quite reach the bottom. Makes pulling small things like change or lipstick out of my pocket a real bitch. 
  • Hem: I didn't opt for a cuffed leg. Part of the thrill of sewing my own clothes is not having to roll up my pants any longer. Instead, I folded up a 1/2 inch, then one more half inch. 
I love the Freerange slacks so much and, from the looks of Instagram, so do a lot of other people. It's a deceptively simple pattern that looks like just another pair of elastic waist pants, but there's some Sew House Seven magic in the proportions and drafting. 

So that's it for my latest sewing deets. I hope to have more projects to share soon! Be well.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

CCP Elodie Hack


Hello! Hope you're well.  I'm dusting off the old blog to write a few words about my experience with the Elodie Wrap Dress by Closet Core Patterns. I had to make a number of changes along the way, so you may not recognize the pattern on my dress form as the popular Elodie. 

First, I should quickly say that my pictures are utter crap--even worse than my usual toilet selfies. I almost didn't blog because they're so terrible, but I have SO much to say, and some of it may even be useful. I anticipate wearing this dress over the summer, so maybe I can follow up with better pictures at some point. 

I'm not much of a dress person--more into separates. But I bought the Elodie pattern because I had a wedding (finally!) to attend, and it seemed like a  good wedding/occasion-type dress. I wanted to try the extended sizing that is drafted with a D cup block (sewing D cup, not bra size). 

To begin, a short rant: The extended size is pdf-only, which is super annoying now that I work from home and don't have access to a high-speed printer. It feels a bit like being penalized for wearing a larger size. Yes, I know larger sizes mean printing more paper/larger pieces, but I can't believe the extra cost couldn't be absorbed some other way. I ended up using a printing service called PDF Plotting which is a really great service (fast, easy, copies arrive rolled up in sturdy cardboard packaging), but between the minimum order and shipping it cost an extra $25! At this point, I should add that Cashmerette came out with a woven wrap dress pattern about a week after my printed pattern arrived. The whole thing felt like such a money pit that I didn't want to spend any more on patterns.

So let's talk about pattern hacks. The Elodie dress, particularly the midi-version is a really lovely, feminine, flowy pattern. It's also a total fabric hog. I can usually squeeze a garment out of much less than what the pattern calls for (being short helps) but the skirt has a very wide almost bell shape that makes it tough. I had 3 yards of the lovely rayon fabric pictured below earmarked for a dress but had second thoughts at the last minute. Because of the drape, I could only see this in the long sleeve midi version which requires at least five yards. And with the directional pattern, I knew I couldn't cut in different directions like I can for a solid color. 

So I ended up using 3 yards of navy blue Elizabeth Susann linen from my stash. I made the short sleeve version and changed the skirt ENTIRELY. Since I couldn't fit the large skirt pieces, I changed direction by making a gathered dirndle skirt. I lucked out and found an absolutely stunning Paper Theory Zadie dress hack on the blog Belle Citadel. I think you could apply this hack to just about any pattern. Here's what I did: Cut four rectangles by measuring each bodice panel, subtracting the pleats, and adding 75% to the width. You end up with just the right amount of gathers!

At the end of the day, I could have saved myself some money and stuck with the Zadie hack to start. Except....I think the Elodie bodice fits better. More to follow on that. 

 I know, I know. The above pic is absolute crap. Not even focused, and the angle makes it look a little longer than it really is. I zoned out when cutting the rectangles and ended cutting them 3 inches too short. The length was perfect for me--barely below my knee--so I used my final bit of fabric to piece together a 3.5-inch wide strip of fabric to make a nice deep hem facing that ended up giving the skirt some structure and a little extra swish. I love it. 

I've covered most everything, but here are some final details before I forget:

  • Size 24. I muslined the size 20 bodice, removing 3/4 inch from the bodice length and found it too small, so I went up 2 sizes without shortening the length. I probably could have just gone up one size, but I was comfortable with the extra ease. It ended up hitting me right at the very top of the center front of my bra, so I made sure to wear a pretty bra. :) 
  • There was a very minimal amount of gaping, which I didn't worry about too much. Like I said, wear a pretty bra.  
  • With the angled wrap front, his is not the time to skip staystitching or understitching. It's a fun, easy sew--best to enjoy the process of making a quality garment that you'll enjoy wearing.
  • I like the bust pleats underneath for an extra bit of shaping.  Wasn't sure if I would.
  • I cut regular thin waist ties to conserve fabric. The pattern has ties that widen at the ends to make a pretty bow.
  • The front wraps overlap enough that there's no danger of feeling exposed. 
So that's all I can think of. Overall, I think I like this hacked version better with the gathered skirt balancing the top and bottom of my proportions. And in navy linen, it will weather beautifully and make a nice casual dress for warm days. 

Finally, just want to say how WONDERFUL it was to see my dear friend finally be able to celebrate the way she intended--surrounded by friends and family, with hours of dancing, laughing, and hugging. It was so good to see old friends and share a moment of joy after the past year and a half. Here's to more days spent with loved ones. and much more hugging! Cheers!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Sewing for a Post-Pandemic World...and Body

Hello! After two back-to-back pottery posts, I'm back on the blog to talk about sewing--specifically sewing plans once I return to the office and some of the feelings I'm experiencing in anticipation of this eventuality. Maybe some of you are having similar feelings. I like to think I'm not alone. 

In some of my previous posts, I've talked about my sewjo and my pandemic-related weight gain, and lately, I've been thinking about ways to get back into a dressing professionally for work mindset. For me, the answer (or one of them) is and always has been knits and TNTs, closely followed by treats, new fabric purchases (i.e., more treats), and sewing plans. All my answers involve fun because as far as I'm concerned, we've all been through enough this past year. Let's all just think of ways we can be good to ourselves and each other. 

Regarding my weight gain, I want to try to choose my words carefully and be VERY clear about my own feelings about my own body because I don't want to offend anyone or, conversely, invite diet/weight loss tips. I will never understand why any person feels compelled to comment on another person's body. I just don't see when or how that's ever, ever appropriate. In my life (teens all the way through to my early forties), I've received many unsolicited comments, which is why I'm seriously in awe of the young women I see around me and on social media who proudly and firmly shut that shit down. It's so inspiring and makes me wish I had a time machine and could've spoken up for myself so eloquently when I was their age. My weight naturally fluctuates, but right now I'm not feeling healthy or energetic. I've gained three inches in my waist and two in my hips, which is a lot for my 5'2" frame and my age. I still love myself. I just need to move more and do what feels right for me. I'm also going to sew for the body I have right now. And that's all I'm gonna say...about weight gain, that is. 

Knits and TNTs

In the past, whenever I've lost my sewjo, I've always turned to knits. They are easy to fit,  comfy, and the right knit and pattern combination can make me feel really great. My all-time favorite knit top is the FREE Mandy boatneck top by Tessuti. I like the balance of the loose fit with more fitted sleeves. A while back, Tessuti rebooted the pattern to be a bit more size-inclusive, but for me, the largest size feels the same as the old version. I made the XXXL (pictured above) with no changes. You can read my previous posts here and here for modeling picsI think I did scoop the neckline 1/2" so it doesn't hit me in the throat, but that's it in terms of mods. Fabric is a lovely bamboo rayon from Stonemountain that I've had in my stash for a couple of years. This will be a good top for the office. 

Treats for Me

I got tired of rethreading my Brother 1034d all the time, so I bought myself a new serger.  The thread kept breaking if I'd go even a little fast. I think it's a timing issue, but I don't really know and don't have the energy or inclination to deal with it. I'm going to give it away to someone who doesn't mind tinkering. I've had my eye on this Juki MO-644D, which might be the least expensive Juki home serger around (retails for $300 on Amazon), for a while now. It's meant for lightweight fabrics, so I wouldn't recommend it if you sew a lot of heavy canvas or denim, but I think it's fine for my light knits and seam finishing. The suction cups hold it firmly to the table, reducing shaking and rattling, and it's just SO much quieter. I can't even begin to tell you...So far, I've made three pairs of underwear and the Mandy top, and I LOVE using it. No regrets.

Fabric Purchases and Sewing Plans

Wearing office pants with a waistband isn't the only aspect of post-pandemic life I'm dreading. I'm also not looking forward to taking public transport again. SF Muni sucks and used to frustrate me on a regular basis. There are also so many unknowns about our new normal and how we'll reinhabit our space and just the general weirdness of coming out from this long sleep... but still kind of in limbo. Will I have to wear a mask all day at my desk? Will our office attendance be staggered? To be sure, we'll work it out and adapt and it will be great to see my co-workers in person again, but I thought I would make a few new things to cheer me up and combat the dread. Here are some new fabric treats and my current plans. 

Laundered linen in warm, toasty nutmeg from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics with the Sew House 7 Freerange Slacks. Comfy for sitting, and I always like the look of a loose top with pegged, cropped bottoms. 

Another Mandy Boatneck in blue/teal bamboo rayon from Stonemountain.

I've wanted this knit for a while. What should make with it? Another Mandy?

I bought this woven from Stonemountain, but they're currently out. I think Blackbird might have it, though. This one is a wild card since I haaaaate sewing Big4. But I fell in love with an adorable tunic version by Brittany J Jones, so I'm gonna give it a try. 

So that's me done for the night. Thanks so much for reading! Be happy and be well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Amazing Reglazing: Another Pottery Post


Hey, hope all is well. Here with another pottery post because I feel the need to write some words about reglazing. Also, just so you know, I don't consider my examples "amazing" as suggested by my blog post title; I just can't pass up on an opportunity to be a rhymin' Simon. 

So, one aspect of pottery that came as a surprise to me is that you can refire/reglaze your pots if you don't like how they turn out. In fact, some ceramicists refire multiple times on purpose--either as a way to experiment or to develop more depth and interest on their surfaces. From what I can gather, there are a few main caveats: 

  1. Multiple firings can cause the ceramic material to become more brittle, thus making it more fragile which is, of course, not ideal for functional ware. 
  2. To refire, you have to bring the ware at least up to the previous temp or higher. What I've done is fire the same cone, but extended the hold time. 
  3. It's a bit of a crapshoot in that it can also make a pot look worse. I'm learning to spend a little time with my pieces after they come out of the kiln instead of putting them right back in. Sometimes, I grow to appreciate the slips and drips after a few days. 
  4. If your glaze is slick and shiny, you will have to figure out a way to get the wet glaze to adhere. I've only had some success with cheap hairspray, which gives the surface a little tooth. Some other suggestions I've read about include spray starch (didn't work for me) and warming the pot with a torch. 
Here are a few pieces that worked out pretty well (albeit not "AMAZING") after reglazing and refiring. 

Both of these are early pieces that I worked on before my kiln even arrived and I was just learning about glazing. Both involve underglazes which I have yet to really figure out. I want to use them to expand my possibilities, but I still haven't figured out how and most of my projects that involve underglaze have yielded disappointing results. 

When I started out, I had a fuzzy, ill-formed idea of how I wanted my surfaces to look. I wanted them to look beautiful and amazing, but I couldn't really give you specifics of what that looked like to me. The closest I can come to describing it is kind of a push/pull happening with the foreground and background and seeing washes or hints of underpainting underneath an overall color. Reglazing, making more pots, experimenting, and even writing this blog post all help me to visualize what I'm after. 

In the top example, the white and blue vase, I used underpainting all over with blues and greens--really went to town!--and then made stencils to mask out the simple triangle shapes. I ended up horrified with the initial result (right side image). I didn't realize that the blue and green underglaze underneath the white satin matte glaze would travel to the surface and look so splotchy and sloppy.  That was my first big lesson: shit moves around when firing. And I also discovered that I'm not a big fan of the Amaco brush-on satin matte glazes--at least not in the way I'm using them. It reminds me of the chalky, stark white used in primer coats for house paint, or like gesso. For the final result, I refired and glazed two times with a gloss white. Here's another closeup. Now I have something I can live with, that looks more interesting when I pick it up and look at it more closely--like there's something hidden below the surface.  And bonus, since it's an early piece, it's so freaking heavy I can use it for self-defense if there's ever an intruder. 

The second example, the pink and yellow canister, also took two additional firings of a white gloss to mitigate the horrific pink and yellow results of the underglaze. The story is pretty much the same: I had to reglaze and refire twice because the first refiring made the piece glossy but the white just sort of dissolved and sunk in and didn't provide any coverage. I like how the final glazing made the surface look somewhat iridescent. Beej has turned it into a useful catch-all container for kitchen stuff.

So, yeah, neither of these pieces are gonna set the world on fire, but I was able to get them to a place where I could live with them. I'm trying to balance my need to practice and experiment in order to make better pots with the consequences of having more stuff to either use or give away. I don't want to smash pieces that took resources and energy and create a bunch of broken crockery for the landfills. My solar-powered kiln is quite small, and I'm finding that limitation kind of a blessing in that it slows me down so that my enthusiastic maker-self doesn't get too carried away. I can only make a few pieces at a time.

Most importantly, though, the reglazing experimentation and research taught me a bit about the nature of glazes and now I can move forward with some knowledge and experience. I've got so many millions of other things to say about pottery and art and finding my own way of creating unique and interesting surfaces, but my break for lunch is over and I should get back to my real work--the stuff that pays the bills.

Have a fantastic week, whatever you do. Make time for exploration and curiosity, make time for yourself. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Glaze Expectations: A Pottery Post

Hello! It's spring here, the flowers are in bloom, and I look forward to being vaccinated soon. I always love the beginning of spring, but after all that's happened in just a little over a year, I'm feeling an even stronger sense of renewal and hope than usual. Not much longer to go, I think...I hope...

While I wouldn't say I've completely lost my sewjo, I definitely haven't felt as inclined to make clothes. For one, there is the extra pandemic weight I've put on that puts me off making new clothes. Not beating myself up or anything, just being honest: Like quite a lot of people, a year of being less active and eating for comfort has caught up with me. The other reason for less sewing is, of course, devoting more of my spare time to my recent pottery obsession. I've derived so much comfort and pleasure from working with clay, and now it's become something I can't imagine not doing. 

I toyed with the idea of starting a pottery blog to record my thoughts and experiences with clay, and maybe down the road I actually will. But, for now, I think I will just make a note in the title when I'm here to talk about pottery.

The biggest learning curve for me so far has been glazing and adjusting my expectations for how a piece will look. To start, a lot of glazes look completely different when wet. I still sketch with Procreate to get my brain going, but I know that, even with test tiles, there is a bit of surrender that happens once something goes into the kiln. Of course, that's also part of the thrill. I'm currently trying to balance the delight and excitement I feel in experimentation with giving thought and intention to each item so I'm not bringing a lot of random stuff into a world already filled to the brim with stuff.

I'll start by sharing some pieces that I only had to glaze once that I'm pretty pleased with. Note: all my pottery is handbuilt (I don't have a wheel and I like the look of hand-built ware) and I'm only using brush-on commercial glazes for now. 

Clockwise from top left:
Coil Bowl with Wax Resist and Scgraffito. This is the biggest bowl I've made, and it's surprisingly light (for stoneware). I enjoy wax resist quite a lot--especially with the kind of simple designs I'm drawn to. It's a good technique if you don't want your glazes to run together, or if you like the look of the bare, fired clay body you happen to be using. This is cone 5 speckled buff, which is my favorite with a black gloss from Western and Amaco Indigo Float. 

Slab Bowl with Layered Glaze. This one was fired with two coats of Western Celadon and two coats of Amaco Frosted Turquoise on a cone 5 white stoneware clay. In this case, I included a few test tiles where I layered two different glazes in an earlier firing, which helped me decide how I wanted to glaze this. I think this is a good practice, and now I always try to remember to include a couple of test tiles with little experiments. 

Pinch Pot with Feet. I've named this sweet little guy Julio. Like many of my early pinch pots, Julio is a bit heavy, but it's good for planters to be sturdy, right? Here, I carved the pot in greenware stage (carving is kind of addictive). Then I tried to go for a sunset effect by gradating-the yellow, orange, and purple glaze for a little Tequila Sunrise. (Totally had that song in my head the whole time.) Then I went in and scraped the glaze out from the recessed areas. This worked pretty well in that I was successful in the glazes not running together too much. Sometimes I want that--but not with orange and purple because I think mixing could look a little muddy since they're opposites on the color wheel.

Pinch Mug for Beej. This is probably the least experimental--more of an accumulation of techniques I'm learning--so there were no surprises. However, I LOVE how this turned out. If you want to learn how to make this mug, go to YouTube and type in "Still Life Ceramics, pinch mug" for a free tutorial. Gina is a great teacher, and her work is inspiring, modern, approachable, and utterly charming. I'm signed up for some intermediate zoom classes next month and can't wait. I bought some lower case stamping letters and am making a number of personalized mugs for friends. Great gift, right? To make, I carved and stamped at the greenware stage, bisque fired, added underglaze to the text and wiped away, and then applied wax to the area where you see the bare clay. 

Well, I was planning to write more about some projects that required multiple firing, but this post is already a bit long and I'm cooking dinner at the same time. I'll write the second part a bit later. 

Thanks for reading. Be well!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Grainline Tamarack: What the World Needs Now


Hello! Hope that wherever you are, you're doing very, very well. It's hard not to feel cautiously optimistic these days with the vaccine becoming more readily available and spring on its way here in the Northern Hemisphere.  

I'm super excited to finally get to blog my brand spanking new project: the sewing world-famous Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio. How did Jen of Grainline know way back in 2017 that the world would need to wrap itself in a quilt right now? 

I actually don't sew a lot of Grainline patterns, mainly because they're drafted for B-cup, but I've always liked the aesthetic. And now that they've extended their sizing, I just may have to give the  Scout Tee a try. I love basics, and it looks infinitely hackable. Also, the extended pattern is offered in PAPER! Being relegated to PDF-only in the larger sizes is one of my pet peeves. 

Okay, so about this jacket...where do I start? I think I started working on it a little over a month ago. It doesn't take nearly that long to make, but I was still figuring out what exactly I wanted to do for the quilting, color scheme, and gathering scraps. I took my time, working on Saturday and Sunday evenings while working on pottery projects during the day.  I made two purchases after Christmas that inadvertently helped me figure out my jacket gameplan: 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks, by Judy Hopkins, and a 12.5 square quilting ruler.  The book has measurements for each block in 6 different sizes. The possibilities! The ruler just makes it easier and faster to cut multiple squares rather than the cardboard templates I'm used to making. I went for a classic Sawtooth Star in the 12-inch size. Once I had figured out the colors for my star, everything else started to fall into place. 

Okay, onto fabric: I shopped my stash and used some of the lovely black linen I bought from Elisabeth Suzann last year. The inside is pieced out of the same blue scraps I used for my star, as well as some black linen scraps. For the sleeves, I used a black and white, geometric-patterned silk (pictured below) that was smooth enough to slide my arms into easily. I also like that the triangles reminded me of quilting motifs. 

Speaking of quilting motifs, one of my favorite details is something I don't think many people will notice. I incorporated 6-inch sawtooth stars in the patch pockets. I made them all black, though, because I wanted it to be a subtle way to repeat the star on the back. It's also a great way to use up some of the smaller, odd-size scraps. I'm additionally glad that I kept it subtle because piecing small scraps of linen is a pain, and they're not my best work. But, hey, they're still cute!

As far as the pattern goes it is top-notch, and I benefited from four years of it being a popular pattern and took advice from many sewing bloggers. For example, I opted out of welt pockets as that was a common caveat.  I ended up really liking my oversized patch pockets much better. They are deep and comfy, and I don't have pocket bags flapping around on the inside.  I also strayed from the directions in that I quilted blocks of fabric and then cut my pattern pieces from the blocks. The instructions have you quilt the individual pieces but I'm not good enough at quilting to maintain accuracy that way. I ended up having to unpick some of the quilted scraps to piece together my pockets and reduced fabric waste that way.  

And here's an "action shot" of me loving life in my Tamarack. It's great to wear for a walk after work. The large pockets make it unnecessary to carry a purse, and it's warm enough when the wind picks up and the sun begins to set. Now I just need a dog for the perfect after-work walk. I would keep my jacket by the door, next to a leash and poop bags, and be ready to go. Sigh, now I'm wishing I had a dog. 

Here are a few more sizing details and notes.

  • Size 18, Version B which includes an overlapping placket for buttons or snaps, although I didn't add any closures. 
  • No FBA and no muslin. I was really rolling the dice there. I looked at SewManju's version for sizing and sewed a straight size 18 but added 1/2 inch to the sides of the front and back and to the sleeve sides.
  • As usual, I shortened the sleeves by an inch. I have them rolled up for my pictures, but that's just because I like the look of the contrasting cuffs. 
  • I shortened the back to be the same as the front. Overall, I like the sizing. It's roomy enough for outerwear, but it doesn't swim on me. The only thing I would change if I ever made a second version is to do a narrow shoulder adjustment. The shoulders are just a teensy bit too wide. 
  • The pattern calls for several yards of bias tape which you can make yourself. I enjoy making bias tape for smaller projects but five yards--aw, hell no! Black is easy enough to match and the stiffness of store-bought tape isn't such an issue for a structured jacket. 
  • ETA: I forgot to mention that I changed the angle of the neckline to be more of V shape. I thought that would be more flattering for my curvy frame. To do this, I simply folded down the corner of the neckline on the front pattern piece. 
So I think I've said everything I can think of about my new jacket. If you can't tell by my review, I really love it. It's cozy but not sloppy, with some nice customization that makes it feels special.

Thanks for reading! Be well.