Sunday, June 14, 2020

Pattern review: Lisette for Butterick 6244

This pattern (Lisette for Butterick 6244) was a pleasure to sew! The fabric behaved, there were few seams, and the seam finishes and the fit are very nice.

Pattern Description: The Oliver + S website description is spot-on: "Semi-fitted unlined coat with shawl collar has only three pattern pieces. The cascading front gives an elegant line, and the jacket is finished with flat-felled seams to give an elegant finish with minimal effort. This is a great piece for a beautiful wool coating or a double-faced wool. The fully lined dress is fitted through the bodice and includes piecing at the shoulders and sides for a contrast or coordinating fabric. The dress is finished with an invisible zipper." I only sewed the coat--perhaps I will try the dress another time using mixed materials (a good way to use up some remnants).

Pattern Sizing: I am 5'7" and my measurements are bust 31", waist 27.5", hips 33". I started with size 8, and made a 1/2" wide shoulder adjustment on each size". No other fitting adjustments.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Very similar except for design changes as noted below, which resulted in a more angled bottom corner.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes! I thought the diagrams were especially helpful for the tricky point where the front bust dart and collar extension meet the back.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Love the finished product! There's nothing I found off-putting.

Fabric Used: 100% acrylic fabric from JoAnn Fabrics (here's a link). This was easy to press and manipulate, but tended to unravel quickly. I finished the shoulder seams with a 3-thread overlocked stitch; the rest of the seams were flat-felled.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I ignored the grainline marked on the pattern front and cut the fronts so the center edge aligned with the beautiful selvage. I was also able to sew a length of selvage onto the collar, so that design element carried through.

I shortened the jacket by about 7" and changed the hemline to align with the fabric design. The bottom and sleeves were finished with a narrow hem.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? It's a very unique design. I will sew it again in the future, but probably not soon. I would definitely recommend it to others!

Conclusion: It's cozy, but doesn't make me overheat--it was perfect for spring in Minnesota! I am very pleased with the pattern and the finished product.

That's it for now. Until next time, happy sewing and stay safe!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday check-in: Checking my white privilege (and other updates)

I know there are few readers who will make their way to this post, but I want to use this small platform to remind you that Black Lives Matter. The inherent societal and economic disparities based on skin color and propagated by institutional racism have long been abundantly clear to me in the practice of medicine (I work at an urban safety net hospital). The higher proportion of morbidity (illness and it's complications) and mortality (deaths) seen in black and brown people during COVID-19 are well recognized. These and other "health disparities" are due to racism, even if we are afraid to call it that. The term "social determinants of health" sounds so much nicer. 

How do I address racism in medicine? I check myself, my judgments, and my privilege constantly. I listen to my patients' stories and recognize the power of the narrative for healing. I donate to causes that will help my patients, and I vote for candidates with policies and platforms that are most likely to address racism.

Based on the discussions I have been following in the sewing work, I also want to recognize that Black Makers Matter. I will expand the circle of black and brown makers whom I follow on Instagram (including #blkmakersmatter and #blackmakersmatter) or add to my blog roll. I will try to "vote with my dollar" and buy patterns and fabrics from BIPOC-owned or explicitly BIPOC-friendly companies (here is a link to a list of such businesses from Jacinda Green). I will regularly subscribe to SEWN Magazine by Michelle Morris (That Black Chic).  

I will consider the presence of racism in other areas of my life. I will continue to learn how to be a better anti-racist. And--most importantly--I will raise my children to be anti-racist.  


Now on to less important matters! Since my last Friday update, I have sewn two more pairs of scrubs. Here's one of them:

I have been trying to adjust the fit on the shoulders, varying it a bit on each pair, but, after wearing the original blue floral pair today, I have decided that the original fit is indeed best (sigh).

I pulled a couple of clothes out of the refit/refashion bag, and was able to alter a green maternity sweater and a lovely teal knit dress to fit my current shape.

I also finished the navy V-neck sweater and tan button front pencil skirt that I cut out late in winter, which completes that wardrobe:

What am I sewing now? Two very prolonged home decor projects. These are not the most inspiring, given the repetitive nature of the sewing, but they are very meditative, which I am trying to embrace. We are re-doing our master bathroom, and I am sewing new curtains. I was able to use a lovely white on white cotton as well as a plain white cotton that my grandma gifted me from her stash. The machine sewing is done, but I am still working on adding sashiko stitching to the top and bottom bands. I am using these needles and this thread (not affiliate links), and I'm happy with the results:

I am also making a new cover for our duvet. It is 11 years old and still going strong, but looking a bit worn! I am using 110 inch-wide fabric (normally used for quilt backing) and adding machine quilting in different colors. It is taking longer than I expected...I keep reminding myself how amazing it is going to look when it is finished (I hope).

What's up next? I have one more pair of scrubs cut out and ready to sew. Then I think it's time to start on my summer wardrobe. I'm trying to add more casual items to my closet--my work wardrobe is in pretty good shape.

That's it for now. Until next time, happy sewing and stay safe!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Friday check-in: Me-Made-May and scrap busting

Lots of sewing since my last Friday update! Me-Made-May has begun--my pledge was to wear at least 2 me-made items every work day. I am currently wearing scrubs when I see patients (a big change for me), so usually the me-made items are a tee shirt and underwear beneath my scrubs:

My me-made tee shirt and underwear supply was low, so I whipped up a few knit items that were already on the to-sew list for the year. Some of these were cut out last year, so I was able to pull the gray cami and underwear and animal print tank and underwear from the WIP box. I sewed a TNT Sewaholic Renfrew tee shirt and 2 pairs of another TNT SoZo Underwear from thrifted blue jersey. I traced a Burda Style pattern from 08/2018 (#118 Jersey top with 7/8 sleeves and a faux wrap finish), and used fabric from an old maternity skirt (ITY originally from S.R. Harris) to make this tee and a couple more pairs of underwear. So nice to have new underwear! "May"-be this will become an annual tradition (see what I did there?).

Me Made May 2020 sewing plans

I also decided to try sewing my own scrubs. I used the free pattern from Sew Different, adjusting the fit and design features based on the scrubs I currently wear and my personal preferences (let me know in the comments if you want a post with these details!). I will make a couple fit adjustments for my next pair, but these are a very wearable toile.

Of course, this allowed me to justify buying some high-quality, fun quilting fabrics from Hart's Fabric for more scrubs 😄.

Ruby Star Midnight Forest Soft Blue

Cotton + Steel Kaikoura Under The Sea Sand

Cotton + Steel Macrame Hang It Up Teal
As part of my stash-busting quest, I used the Closet Case Patterns Pouf pattern (available for free in the Closet Case Sewing Resource Library if you join the mailing list--so worth it!) to make a pouf for the craft room using a variety of home dec fabric scraps. The boys are helping me fill it with fabric scraps and old baby clothes that aren't nice enough to donate! They're excited to have another place to sit--you can never have too many stools. They have plans for me to make poufs for their rooms once this one is full.

"Wilted"pouf waiting for more scraps
They also decided to "make" dinosaur stuffies, but progress has been limited. I am trying to work on them only if the boys are willing to be in the room with me, so they can at least say they participated!

Stegosaurus and Spinosaurus

I'm currently working on a top-secret Mother's Day gift that I'm very excited about. Hope my mom is willing to pose for a few pictures for the next Friday update!

That's it for now. Until next time, happy sewing and stay safe!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Jeans, jeans, jeans

Here are those jeans I keep talking about! A pair for A and a pair for me. My hope is to gradually replace all of A's poorly fitting RTW jeans with handmade versions. Maybe I can even get him to try a different color of denim--something crazy like gray! My RTW jeans are also aging--the youngest pair is from 2015/16?! How is that possible?

You need a belt, mister!

I didn't make any changes to the fit of A's jeans from last time. The free pattern (101 Le Droit from 1083, which I can no longer find on their website) doesn't come with any instructions, so I use the Closet Case Pattern Jeans Making e-booklet (which has been replaced by the Sew Your Dream Jeans online class) supplemented by the Closet Case Patterns button fly tutorial. I used some quilting cotton for the pocket lining (teal with white arrows) that I found in the remnant bin at Joann Fabrics (here's a link). Perfect for an archaeologist, and there was enough that I could make my pocket lining of the same fabric! Secret twins!

I finished all of the seams (except for the fly guard) with a 3-thread overlocking stitch using turquoise thread for a little more internal excitement. The fly guard seams and bottom of the waistband lining were finished using bias tape made from the pocket lining fabric.

Topstitching was done using Güttermann topstitching thread in taupe. The buttons are from Wawak's awesome jeans button box. A chose the copper color, and I used matching rivets, also from Wawak.

 A is happy with the fit, and so am I! Certainly a pattern I will use again.

My jeans were made from the Closet Case Pattern Ginger Skinny Jeans view A:

I have made these before in a white stretch denim (unblogged). This dark wash stretch denim (bought when an online fabric store was closing a couple years ago) a is little heavier with a little less stretch than the white denim, so some of the seam allowances are less than 5/8 inch after fitting. I made sure to give my knees and calves a bit more wearing ease than on the first pair (they have a tendency to scrunch up around the knees when I sit down). Next time I make these, I will use a wider seam allowance along the side seam to make fitting easier, given how variable this can be depending on the stretch of the fabric! Pocket linings, seam finishings, and top stitching all mirror A's jeans, except I used a zipper rather than a button fly. My waistband button is the antique brass color from the same Wawak button box with matching rivets.

I'm very happy with the fit this time. There are a few wrinkles below the butt, but they don't bother me. I certainly don't want to overfit and not be able to move in these suckers!

I haven't hemmed my jeans yet, just serged the bottoms and turned them up. I will let them shrink up in the wash a couple of times before hemming. A likes his jeans a bit short, so I hemmed his already.

I tried something new to finish the ends of the waistband. Instead of turning it inside out, sewing, trimming, and turning, I folded everything the way I wanted (right side out), did some hammering to decrease bulk, pinned, and topstitched all the way around the waistband. I'm very happy with the results; I feel like I had a lot more control than I would have with turning those bulky seams right side out. 
Here's the waistband pinned

Here it is topstitched shut

Some thoughts about sewing jeans:

I really enjoy having the space to set up three machines next to each other, including my serger, my daily sewing machine threaded for topstitching (it didn't complain once about the layers of 11 oz denim on A's jeans), and an old sewing machine threaded in navy blue for seams.

I got a mini anvil for Christmas to use for hammering in buttons and rivets. I love feeling like a little elf in Santa's workshop! Not sure why I associate elves with anvils, but there it is.

I highly recommend both of these patterns (if you can't find the 101 pattern on the 1083 website, I suggest e-mailing them--it may still be available for public use). I will certainly be using them again as I gradually replace all of our RTW jeans. There are a few other pants patterns in my collection that I'd like to try as well, including the Closet Case Pattern Morgan Boyfriend Jeans (for me), the True Bias Lander Pants (for me), and the Thread Theory Jutland Pants (cargo pants for A).

Ginger Jeans view A
White tank pattern rubbed-off from old RTW tank

That's it for now. Until next time, happy sewing and stay safe!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Friday check-in: batch cutting, fabric organization, and a few completed projects

Life has been distracting me for the past few weeks. I know you are all in the same situation! I am keeping calm by spending a few minutes in the sewing room whenever I get a chance, so there are a lot of updates since my last Friday check-in. I completed both pairs of jeans I've been working on for so long and even took some pictures. A few weeks ago I did some batch cutting and got 4 garments cut out--a navy sweater, a khaki skirt, a plaid flannel shirt, and an acrylic blanket coatigan.

I also finished the blanket coatigan I cut out using Lisette for Butterick 6244; it was a quick but satisfying sew, which I also hope to share in the next week!

The pattern
The fabric
Last week was the boys' spring break, so I spend the week home with them (I still have to go in to work as I am in the medical field). We did a lot of organizing, and I finished my fabric purge/organize/catalog task! I donated a total of 50 yards of fabric and now have about 290 yards in the collection (not counting fat quarters and remnants/scraps). HOLY COW! SO MUCH FABRIC! I was able to empty out a small hall closet that was full of fabric and craft supplies, so now everything is contained in the craft room and a 2nd small hall closet.

The armoire (my dad made!) with shelves...

...and drawers full of fabric

More fabric stored under the cutting table

The closet holds clothes to mend or fit, lining fabric,
and miscellaneous fabrics that are hard to store folded

A few other little projects:

I patched a lot of knees to get the boys' pants through the rest of spring

A made a bench of scrap lumber for lifting weights at home, so I make a cushioned cover 

My mom and I have been sewing fabric masks, both for our family and for community members. Don't worry--my mom lives with us, so we are complying with social distancing!

All in all, a pretty productive month since my last update! As I said, I hope to share my finished garments from the last month with you soon. I recently bought some fabric from Style Maker Fabrics for spring garments I have planned, including a gray denim legging knit and a pink rayon batiste lining. I also bought a lovely hardware kit for a cross-body purse I want to make with some fabric remnants.

That's it for now. Until next time, happy sewing and stay safe!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday check-in: jeans progress, what's next?

I finished both pairs of jeans this afternoon! I was almost done last night, but got in trouble because of the noise I made hammering in rivets--apparently this is not conducive to sleep. Very satisfied with the results. Hoping for some sunlight this weekend so we can take some pictures.

My next project will be a blanket drape-front coatigan using acrylic jacquard from JoAnn and Lisette for Butterick 6244 as the pattern:

I also am altering a bridesmaid dress for a friend. Shortening the straps and the skirt will be easy; taking in the bust along the princess seams will be a bit more challenging!

That's it for now. Until next time, happy sewing!