Saturday, September 30, 2017

Kalle and Fen in the Big Easy

Do locals refer to New Orleans as "the Big Easy" or "Nola'? I know that here in San Francisco people don't really say "Frisco." Maybe it's the same thing. Anyway, whatever name you want to call it New Orleans is a magical town, full of lovely people and amazing music, art, and food. Beej and I just returned from our first visit and absolutely loved it. Adjusting to the heat and humidity was definitely a challenge for us, though, which is why I made a few things that were suitable for warmer weather but that will still be appropriate for life at home.

I'll start with the Kalle shirt.

Man I love this pattern! The blue popover version I made in August is one of those magical garments that always makes me feel fantastic when I put it on. So it was a no brainer to make another, this time with the full placket. I should note that even though I'm wearing it open, it buttons up just fine. I'm afraid that the fabric I chose--a rayon linen voile in ivory by Blackbird Fabrics--is just too sheer to wear without a camisole. Since I didn't have a white camisole, I wore it open over a chambray Ogden Cami. (BTW, I had an idea while on vacation to try hacking the Ogden straps and soft v-neck, which are just perfect, with the Cashmerette Springfield. With the better fitting bust of the Springfield, it seems like it would be the best of both worlds. Hope to try that soon.)

Next up is a pattern that I really struggled to make work for me--the Fen by Fancy Tiger Crafts.

I've been obsessed with day dresses for a while now. I was never much of a dress person before I started sewing, but these days I really like casual dresses that make getting dressed so fast and easy and seem so effortless. I became fixated on the Fen because of the loose shape and casual vibe and went through a number of steps and adjustments. Unfortunately, I don't think it's quite right for me so I'll be moving on to another dress pattern. I think the wide neck and shoulders of the bodice and lack of fullness in the skirt emphasize my top heavy/inverted triangle shape. On the bright side, it was very comfortable for walking around in 90 degree weather. Also, the color is gorgeous, and I think it will get a lot of wear over leggings this winter with my black Blackwood Cardigan. I think a dark, close-fitting cardigan will help to visually bring in the wide neck.

In the interest of learning and recording my adjustments, here are the details:

  • Size 18 with 1.5" FBA. 
  • Changed dress neckline to V-neck by tracing V from top pattern piece onto dress bodice.
  • Made a facing for the v-neck. The pattern calls for binding. 
  • Shortened skirt by 1.5 inches.
  • Straightened skirt hem. Sara, who made an absolutely gorgeous Fen, posted how to do this here
  • Hemmed sleeves as instructed but shortened skirt hem--1/4" fold fold followed by 1" fold.
  • I actually made a wearable muslin in an inexpensive challis and narrowed the v-neck on the second version by 1/4". Should have narrowed even more. 
  • Fabric is a stretch linen from Blackbird Fabrics. I think it's gone now. One thing to note about stretch linen is that it's not quite as cool as other linens. I assume this has to do with the synthetic content that gives it stretch. It would have probably been more suitable for pants. 

One final note about vacation clothes before I start dreaming about coats and sweaters: the Vogue 1247 Rachel Comey mini I made way back in 2015 deserves an honorable mention because it's the perfect travel garment. Not only did it go with everything and takes up very little space in my suitcase, but those inseam pockets, which admittedly look a bit like a cafe apron, were perfect for my phone and glasses when we visited NOMA. I'm wearing it here with Ignatius Reilly from "A Confederacy of Dunces"--one of the funniest fictional characters ever.

Well, that's all I have today. Back to reality on Monday, but until them I'm still in vacation mode. Thank you very much for reading and have a fantastic weekend!


  1. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit to New Orleans. Your travel wardrobe is as divine and as appropriate for Louisiana as can be!

    To answer your opening question, although I do not live in New Orleans as the moment, I did live there for 20 years. Typically, locals do not use either appellation. The city it's self is divided to dozens of neighborhoods. People usually refer to these neighborhoods when talking about the city. We may refer to Uptown, Mid City, Lakeview or the Marigny, to name a few. When speaking of the city, its New Orleans (Or lyns, not Or Leens).

    I love your city, too! I hope your fond memories last and last.

    1. Thank you! Both for the compliments and inside information! How wonderful to have had the opportunity to live in a city with such a rich culture. I'm going to have to retrain my brain to say "Or lyns" instead of "Or Leens" but I'll get there eventually! :)