Gray Gardens

Hey, it’s another Simplicity 2389!

I think this fabric is called Flower Field (maybe?) and is Kokka Trefle? A few minutes’ desultory Googling hasn’t turned up a picture. It feels like Kokka’s linen/cotton mix and I know I bought it from Superbuzzy in 2013 (thanks to saving every fabric invoice in my inbox). Here’s the full front view:

And here’s the center front, with an attempt at matching the pattern across the front seam:

And of course the shoulder piping:

The zipper/pocket (also with piping):

And the back:

I say “Simplicity 2389” but it’s really the Simplicity 2389 with the modified skirt, as usual. As you might imagine after seeing so many of these hybrids in a row, I really really like this dress. (And I have a few more coming to post.) It’s just so darn easy to make and wear, and I haven’t really run out of interesting (to me, at least) combinations of print and piping (even self.jpgping).

But last week I found myself thinking about a simple, V-neck bodice with a six-gore pocketed skirt, probably in  dark denim. I’d like it for rainy cold SF days (I’m betting/hoping that we may have more than a couple of those this winter), so perhaps the tide is turning?

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Book Review: Modern DIY Upholstery

When I saw that was available for review I stuck my hand straight up and said, “Me, please” and it just came a few days ago.

I have NOT yet re-upholstered anything according to these instructions, but I can tell it’s only a matter of time, because reupholstery projects involve three things I really enjoy: thrifting/yard-saling, choosing fabric, and hammers.

I’ve only really ever upholstered a couple things in my life: a few chair seats (thank you, staple gun!) and a couple of futon covers (after the first of which I said NEVER AGAIN in a loud voice, but obviously I wasn’t listening to myself as I went on and did another one). *Note: do not try to sew futon covers in an un-air-conditioned room in the Chicago summer.

But this book has really set me on fire to go prowling for an ottoman or two, or maybe even a settee. The pictures are lovely, the instructions seem clear upon reading (haven’t done any yet, of course …) and there are even time-lapse videos!

I’ve probably bought half a dozen vintage upholstery books in the last ten years or so (including this one):

but none of them have really gotten me to actually DO any upholstery. I think this book will be different.

In Search Of … The Perfect San Francisco Coat

I’ve been working in the actual city of San Francisco for about a month and I’ve realized that I need a “San Francisco coat”.

What’s a “San Francisco coat”? It’s a coat that is:

    • lightweight but wind-resistant
    • water-resistant but not waterproof (waterproof coats are usually too warm, and it doesn’t really rain that much in SF)
    • full enough to go over full skirts
    • movement-friendly (sufficient shoulder ease)
    • HAS POCKETS (of course)
    • long enough to be another barrier between you and the seats on public transit (just in case)

So here’s the current candidate (found on Etsy from seller ):

It’s possible to be a “San Francisco coat” without the buttons and collar, but I prefer buttons to zips in coats (zips are too binary; a coat is either zipped or it’s not unless you do one of those fancy zips that open from both the top and the bottom and even then that little section of the zipper gets too much stress and breaks).

I’m thinking of making this coat—the shorter length—in a lightweight gray denim, if I can find such a thing. (Sometimes I imagine fabrics that, while technically possible, do not actually exist.) I’m a little daunted by those welt pockets, but, hey, I read somewhere on Pinterest that what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.

I have zero plans right now to line this darn thing, but we’ll see what happens when I actually start making it. I also have zero plans to do all that top-stitching, but I see some nice opportunities for piping. I’m pretty sure I’ll also shorten the sleeves a little; not all the way to three-quarters, but maybe to a length that is just shy of my watch.

I’ve never actually made a coat before — I’ve cut out TWO coats, neither of which ever made it to the “put it through the sewing machine” stage.

It was pretty warm for SF last week—cardigan weather, really—but you never know when you’re going to get another week of gray, 50, and windy, so I’m hoping to start this sooner, rather than later. Wish me luck!

I'm With the Bandana

Been a while since I posted a new dress, huh? Here’s one that’s been waiting patiently in pieces for ages:

This is in some black bandana print so old that I can’t remember when or where I bought it. It is not great fabric — it’s pretty stiff and there were plenty of print faults and slubs. Not sure why I was all excited about sewing with it, but I think playing with the print motifs was part of it:

Here’s a closer look at the bodice matching:

Here’s the back — I was really interested in having the back bodice look as much like a standalone bandana as possible:

Matched the motif across the skirt panels too (this is the altered Burdastyle Heidi skirt, again again again, I really should do a separate post detailing all the changes I’ve put it through):

And the piped pocket and zipper:

I bought a bunch of invisible zippers with very lightweight, almost knit tapes in Vancouver and they’re a bit trickier to sew with than I thought. As in, I’ve already broken two of them. I’m hoping it’s more “practice makes perfect” and not “you bought a bunch of lemons”. This one went it more or less okay, though. (Fingers crossed.)

I still have some yet to make up, probably the last piece of my epic 2008 Japan fabric binge.

(If you like odd bandanas you will almost certainly like the .)

Oh, and if you missed it, I wrote about ! Very exciting, I know.

Today's Pattern Story: Simplicity 2898

 

Pink: What’s my cue, again?

Green: I say “Double-cross me, will you?” and turn around, and then you say —

Pink: Oh! I remember: “I thought you were safely bringing up the rear, but it’s curtains for both of us, now!”

Green: I don’t know why you can’t remember this.

Pink: I just want this dumb play to be over and have it all behind me.

Green: You kind of have that now.

[image of Simplicity 2898 courtesy of .]

It's another shirt-shirtdress!

I finally found the right old shirt to complete this particular shirt-shirtdress:

I’ve made this particular … can’t really call it a pattern; let’s call it an agglomeration, okay? twice before. (This one I blogged about.)

Here’s the back:

I made the back panel wider this go-around, and used the same shirt for the back side and pocket panels (and you can see that there are three different sizes/shades of gray gingham here, and no, I didn’t match any of them):

My favorite, favorite part of this dress is putting the front shirt pocket as the pocket panel. For some reason this just pleases me all out of proportion to how much use that little pocket will actually get. But EVEN MY POCKETS HAVE POCKETS, y’all.

I also like making sure the front center skirt piece has a pocket in it. I have put back otherwise lovely shirts at Goodwill if they lack this essential element:

The piping above isn’t made from shirts, it’s some bought-in-NYC Japanese piping I had left over from a gray chambray Simplicity 2389 that I don’t think I’ve posted about yet. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. The buttonholes didn’t really line up well at the center front (you can see here how one buttonhole is actually caught in the waist seam) so I just made a new one (that’s the second buttonhole down). No worries.

My second-favorite bit of making these shirt-shirtdresses is unpicking the front pocket, sewing the darts, then sewing the pocket back down over the darts. Which you can’t really tell from this picture, but that’s what I did:

Matching the shirttail hem is also very satisfying — especially at the sides:

And, of course, using some of the shirt fabric to make bias tape to finish the sleeves:

(The sleeve opening is actually a bit too wide here — next time I’m going to see if I can actually shorten the sleeve and gather it into the sleeve cuff from a different shirt. We’ll see if I can find some XXL shirt with big cuffs to go around my biceps …)

Fabric-wise, this dress took 2 extra-large, 1 large, and 1 medium shirt (for the bodice). The extra-large shirts really make it easier to match up the side panel hem curves without having to use part of the sleeve underarm (never the best part of a secondhand shirt!) at the top of the skirt side panels.

I have one more of these cut out (in different shades/sizes of *blue* gingham) and I hope to take some construction pictures to roll up into an eventual tutorial … these are really not hard to make. (The hardest part is finding the coordinating shirts.)

Everyone loves a parade

For some reason (can’t think why) this fabric reminds me of ticker-tape parades:

It is, as you may have already guessed, another Simplicity 2389 bodice with a Heidi skirt. It’s a slightly grabby fabric — you can see it’s hitching a little on my dress form. Either that, or the center front seam is a little wobbly (also possible).

I made ZERO attempt to match the print, as I’m sure you can tell. I’m not sure if the fat self.jpgping shows up all that well in the above picture, but it’s there.

Oh wait, here it is:

And here you can see it (maybe?) on the pocket:

And the other pocket (and the zipper):

And the back:

The fabric is some silk-cotton Marc Jacobs that I bought ages ago — I bought it in bright orange, too. I think I photographed the wrong side but whatevs:

 

I do love silk-cotton when I can get it; it’s all the best parts of cotton and silk — easy to sew with like cotton and fancy like silk.

If you want to see me wearing it, you can do so .