Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Place, Old Patterns

Last month Mr. Lucky and I had the most marvelous month back in Florida renting a new-to-us condo via VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner.)  There were on-line pictures, of course, and we got to see the unit's exterior the previous year but just like that mail order fabric, there's always some anxiety about what shows up in real life.  Well, we were absolutely thrilled with everything about our place and have already reserved it for next year.  That good luck was followed by the most marvelous March weather we had experienced in fifteen years of visiting Naples and so my sewing was replaced with numerous kayak and bike rides, long visits with old local friends and plenty of happy hours and beach sunsets.  
Packing for the 1300 mile drive south in mid-February is a challenge, especially this past February when we had record-setting cold days in Baltimore and pipes were bursting in neighborhood homes due to the sub-artic temps.  I wondered whether or not to bring sewing projects and my machines.  I say machines, plural, because as a garment sewer I also want my serger along even if it's just for seam finishing.  Of course it worked as I expected....if I pack up all the gear and plenty of already cut out projects, then the weather will be glorious and I will hardly find time to sew....but if I don't, then there will be cloudy cool days that would probably have me wishing for my "stuff."

Serger packed for car transport
I brought seven cut out projects but only stitched up these three, all TNT patterns.  They did come in handy while we were in Naples and for the drive north.  It's kind of funny to non-sewers that you have new clothes at the end of the month but didn't do any shopping.
I had this ITY knit from Fabric Mart with two parts to its personality, the loud rainbow stripes and the quieter gray tones.  I think of it as my bright Florida color and suburban Baltimore hybrid.  I used this year's favorite new knit pattern, the Tabula Rasa Tunic Knit Tee and Tunic

Tabula Rasa Knit Tunic

The next pattern was a breeze to sew but I spent many hours unraveling the fabric to make the fringe. It's McCalls 6444 6444  It is designed for a knit but this loosely woven fabric had a lot of natural "give" after being washed so I gave it about 1/8 or 1/4 more on its four vertical seams and it fits just perfectly.  I fringed the horizontal bottom hem and sleeve hem without any incident, and the pretty turquoise threads mixed with white and navy looked quite nice.  But the collar and vertical front edges only unraveled with the black base threads.  I had to come up with another solution, which I did, but which involved a lot more unraveling.  I cut 1 1/2 inch strips and unraveled both sides, leaving about 3/8 intact in the middle.  I then basted those strips to enclose the outside edges of the collar and front opening before doing a light zig zag to hold them in place.  I love the lightweight jacket look with the fringe and have gotten many compliments including one from my very stylish younger cousin.  

McCalls 6444

Hem fringe before final "haircut"

Testing the double sided fringe idea
The third project was once that I have had cut out since last summer.  It's an extremely soft cotton shirting from Fabric Mart that is perfect for those hot humid summer days.  Not my most flattering top, Vogue 7281 7281, but one I will appreciate in August.  
Vogue 7281
It was a relaxing, refreshing month away and I enjoyed every moment in the beautiful outdoors and with beautiful friends.  I'll leave you with some of the pretty sunsets we got to experience and hope that your travels, local or afar, bring you as much joy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Olympia Coat

Do sewing blog posts improve with age, like fine wines?  Probably not because I think garment posts are best when they coordinate with the weather and season.  Southern Hemisphere readers, this post's for you....and for any readers who can remember back to winter of 2015 and this coat project.
Yes, when I left off months ago (more about that later) I was almost done with my first coat project, the Olympia Coat pattern from La Fred.  Here's the final result, finished in mid-February when temps were frigid and snow was still on the ground.  

Olympia Coat by La Fred

I am happy with the result, impressed that I could tackle a coat project and interested in trying a more classically tailored and structured one next winter.  This one filled a gap in my outerwear wardrobe.  I needed something knee length, warm but not bulky with enough room for knit cardigans and tunics.  It is lined in silk charmeuse which feels terrific and is wonderfully warm.  The pattern has a separate lining pattern with a back pleat and set-in, not raglan sleeves.  I was a little concerned about that detail but it seems to work together without a problem.
I used vintage buttons from a Florida friend and covered snaps for all but the top one.

I'm happy with how the underarm gussets turned out (on the right side of the fabric, at least, not so pretty inside) and the chevron of the herringbone down the sleeve makes me smile even when the coat is hanging in the closet.
underarm gusset

I'll share my "need to improve/reconsider next time" thoughts as well.  I used silk organza to underline the coat and am generally happy with that decision.  It makes for a very lightweight, almost sweater-like feel.  I think for a longer garment like this I would prefer a lightweight fusible interfacing for the full coat body next time.  I changed the collar after Sarah  Veblen helped me with the initial fitting and wish I had done a quick neckline collar fitting since this one is a little too confining for my tastes when it is buttoned all the way up.  Since I mean to wear it as a spring/fall coat that is not a problem but is a good lesson nonetheless.  Last lesson is that my linings never seem to entirely please me and this coat was no exception.  I don't bag my jackets and am glad that I hand hemmed this coat.  There's nothing obviously to complain about but I just feel that the lining and my fashion fabric are "fiddly" and not as compatible as I would like.  I don't even know how to phrase that as a question but I will be extra careful when tackling my next lined project.
I feel somewhat sheepish about even blogging today.  I have been absent from the blogging world, neither reading nor commenting, for the last two plus months.  It's been a combination of good things (a wonderful month back in Naples, Florida visiting dear friends and enjoying the best weather possible, a new fiber arts class and some crafty projects) and the sad passing of Mr. Lucky's 96 year-old father in California.  He was a very admirable person, hard-working, dedicated to giving his family a good life and strong values.  His life didn't always turn out the way he would have hoped but he never turned angry or bitter.  Up until last September he was still driving (yes, against our wishes) and paying his own bills and such so this has been sad but not a tragedy.  Mr. Lucky had several long visits in the last six months so while we mourn his passing, we are glad that his suffering was brief and he had memories of love and caring support.
It's good to be back to some blogging and I look forward to catching up on what you are creating for whatever season is happening in your part of the world.  Next up, some spring additions to my wardrobe.  Until then, thanks for reading and I wish you sew much fun.