some patterns

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to make a comment on my little old blog. I am really grateful for anyone that stops by to read, and especially those who comment. I try to reply to comments, but sometimes stuff gets in the way and my would-be replies aren’t timely when I finally am able to make them.  I will answer any specific questions, even if I am a little late with my answers. I do appreciate all of you!

This year has brought some lifestyle changes for me. I’m now retired and working on establishing myself as an illustrator – which is the career I always, always wanted. Woo-hoo, I’m going to have it now! The change also means rethinking my sewing, because in the past most of my sewing was to clothe myself for the office. Now I’m at home, and almost all of my activities (I do still do some house-keeping) are creative ones. This has me rethinking what I want to wear and sew, and what activities I need to have outfits for.

You are probably familiar with the exercise to help focus on real wardrobe needs, the one where you identify what you do in the course of a year to get an idea of where you should concentrate your wardrobing. This is my little breakdown.

Of course I sewed for the fantasy category, the evening events, first. (The two silk jackets in recent posts.) Who among us has not been guilty of similar misplaced priorities? But really, this is for me the easiest category to visualize how I want to dress. The “events” category includes such things as symphony, theater, and gallery openings.  My category evening “social” means date night with spouse, dinner parties and the like. There can be quite a bit of crossover between clothes for the two evening categories. I still need to alter my silk pants and sew one other pair, plus maybe a nice tunic and that would cover the evening categories.

20% is for such things as professional societies (gotta network, you know), church, and any activity in that in-between area where you want to look put-together but not eveningish. This would be that “business casual” look that has been so hard for many people to nail. Now I want to incorporate a bit of creativity into this category, too. I’m thinking in terms of a simple interior column, like pants and matching tank, with a statement jacket for this category.

That leaves the big 60% everyday category. There are two thoughts about this.

One thing I did is go back through my last two years of Burda magazines and make note of the patterns I thought would work for my 60%, and compile them into a graphic for easy reference. Since I have many more years in the archive, I might mine them for additional patterns, too. My Burda subscription has lapsed, so I have no 2012 issues to pick from, but here are my picks from 2011 and 2010.

My tastes really run to the classic shirt/tunic & pants combo, and would shorten any dress patterns above to make tunics. Yes, I am currently liking shirts more than knit tops. They’re cooler, don’t cling, and I like sewing them more. When the urge to make a knit strikes, I turn to Ottobre.

There is another idea coloring my thoughts for the 60%, and that is Lagenlook. There have been a couple of threads on Stitcher’s Guild regarding this style.  I’ll include them with some other links at the end of this post. This is a look that is really growing on me, and I can see using many patterns that I already own to make up the look: Marcy Tilton Vogues, Cutting Line Designs, and Sewing Workshop. I also lucked into these old McCall’s patterns recently. They’re from the mid-90s, but are lagen-adaptable.

This first one is my favorite. I would make the pinafore dress as a top, and make the jacket more of a duster length. I would even make the pants from this pattern with the side drawstrings, but would probably pair them with a closer-fitting top. Big all over is big in lagenlook, but doesn’t do me any favors.

The second one has another top/jacket with a scoop neck. The pants from this pattern don’t look overly wide, but I have a nice Burda TNT for drawstring pants.

Lastly, this one. I’m unlikely to use the pinafore, but might adapt the square neck dress with the flange-y sleeves into a top. Might try the woven t-type top, too.

I think one of the thing about lagenlook that I like is that many of the shapes and styles are like big shirts, and I am really liking the shirts these days. There is also a very romantic, ruffled boho style that is on the lagen spectrum, but it’s not for me. I’m drawn to the simpler, more folkloric-looking styles. I’m not sure what will come off the sewing machine for the big 60%, but I’m in for some experimenting. It will be fun to explore some new things!

Yes, I am still making the Chanel jacket. It will fit into the meetings and evening social categories.

And now for some linky links related to lagenlook, mostly gleaned from the Stitcher’s Guild threads.

Stitcher’s Guild Lagenlook thread – Lots more links here, including bunches to the frilly boho looks.

Stitcher’s Guild Lagenpac thread

Eileen Fisher – lagenesque


Natur zum Anziehen

Amalthee Creations

Terry Macey


McCall’s 6513

During the PatternReview birthday celebration in Austin, lots of us bought a fantastically versatile knit at Uncommon Thread, I think it was. A geometric confetti-like print that included the colors black, taupe, gray, and off-white. It’s like the type O of fabrics – goes with everything! I want to use this fabric as part of my spring 6-pak, but because it is so special, prospective patterns are being auditioned. I had high hopes for McCall’s 6513, but it came up a little short.M6513

You can see the fabric, and what Bonnie did with her piece, here. See how lovely her top is? I want mine to be nice, too.

Here’s a lovely bathroom mirror shot of my muslin. The fabric I used here came from Fashionista Fabrics, and I liked it because it’s rather sophisticated for a pink. You can’t see too well in this photo, but the raspberry-sherbet pink is speckled with burgundy. Pink does great things for my complexion, but since it usually looks sweet, it sends mixed messages when I wear it. While I am flattered by pink, I am not sweet.

The pattern came close, it really did, and I will wear my pink top, but I don’t think it makes the cut for the confetti knit.  I wanted something with a lot of drape to it. This pattern has that. But even though I did a forward shoulder adjustment, it wants to slide to the back. The hem wants to ride up. And when I wore it yesterday, I had to keep adjusting the folds in the front to keep my bra covered. I hope I can tack it it place without destroying the drape.

There is an Ottobre pattern in a similar wrap style that I may try. OR, I might add sleeves to Paco Peralta’s drape-front top.

I may end up with a little collection of knit tops from the muslins to find the perfect pattern. Eh, there are worse things!

JAM #12

Jacket a month is finished! There are still plans for a coat, but more about that later.

This is McCall’s 6775, that has been with me since I first made it circa 1979. I liked it back then, enough that I’ve preserved it through many moves and purges. It’s one of those “Make it tonight, wear it tomorrow” patterns – 3 main pattern pieces plus a facing. Even the pockets are cut on.

Well, I didn’t exactly make it overnight, but it was easy and pleasurable. The fabric is a wool blend herringbone with several colors that are found in my wardrobe – teal, black, beige, off-white – so it will go with lots of things. I bought it originally with another pattern in mind, the Cutting Line Of the Moment. I want to make that one, but just can’t find fabric that seems right. Anyway, it got cold a couple of weeks ago, and I needed a light coat. I decided to use this fabric and then remembered the old pattern.

I added some width to the bottom, figuring that my shoulders were pretty much the same as in 1979 but my hips are not. Turns out I didn’t need the extra. Why does flat pattern measuring never work out for me? Also added 1 inch in length.

Interfaced with Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor Deluxe and that was just right.

There was some gray Ambiance in stash for lining (pattern is designed to be unlined).  At first I thought I’d be putting shoulder pads in there, but the shoulder is surprisingly fitted, and there was no room for a pad.

Leather buttons, also from stash. I harnessed up the old Singer buttonhole attachment since I knew the coating would never fit under the Janome buttonhole foot. Turns out it was a really tight fit even under the Singer, but the buttonholer easily handled maneuvering the fabric once it was in place.

That’s it – nice lightweight coat with a swingy hem.

The Jacket-A Month challenge was such a great idea – thanks to Marciae on Stitcher’s Guild for suggesting it and starting the sewalong. My skills improved, and beyond that I learned a good lesson about my personal style.  Here’s a composite of all the jackets (some are mere cardigans since we all agreed that any 3rd layer could count). A couple are outlined in red…because I ended up wearing them only a few times and then deciding they just weren’t me. Note that they’re the ones that are the most “fashion-y”. I liked the styles, thought they were darling on other people, and really wanted them. But in the end I didn’t feel good wearing them. The jackets that were either classic or casual get worn all the time. LESSON LEARNED.

What’s up next? There are a couple of things I’m really excited about. I still need a warmer coat, and have purchased Paco Peralta’s T-Coat pattern. Paco is a Barcelona designer who is making patterns available through his Etsy store. Looks like he has taken the store offline for Christmas vacation, as it’s empty right now. I can’t seem to swipe an image to insert here, so you’ll have to go to the blog to look. Isn’t it beautiful? I have a loden wool, one of those Shetland wools from Fabric Mart, earmarked for this and hope it make it up over Christmas break. I don’t have a (nice) heavy coat right now, and even in Texas you need one sometimes.

The other thing I’m excited about is a new XXX A Month challenge. I’ve been feeling like shirts lately and mentioned on Stitcher’s Guild that I’d like to do one a month in 2012. Turns out that sounded good to other people, too, and there’s a pretty active thread going on here. Join us and perfect your shirt/blouse patterns and work on precision sewing skills!