I found these great fabrics on sale at Fabricland in the fall, and knew they’d be perfect for Oakridge blouses. I already have two with the bow, so I decided to make things easier on myself and do the version without the bow.
This first one is quite possibly my favourite, because the fabric is so unique. It reminds me of a Monet painting, specifically Waterlilies. You got your first peek at this fabric when I posted my machine sewn button tutorial. Excuse the creases in my skirt, I wore this outfit for a job interview this morning. Wish me luck!
I loved this fabric too, because it is so difficult to find autumn colours. I love orange, and I thought I’d never say that. I still remember the adorable peach dress I had in eighth grade. It suited me really well, except for the colour, which was far too light for my complexion, and resulted in me looking pallid and ill. I generally prefer reddish or rusty oranges, and this fabric has both. I loved that the dots are random and imperfect.
This is the final blouse. Remember that I said a while back that when I find a pattern that I like, I tend to make several garments all the same?
I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the pattern, since I’ve already sewn it twice before. I did, however, use some cotton lawn for the bias binding at the neckline instead of cutting a bias strip out of my fashion fabric. The reason I chose to do so was that fussing with a skinny bias strip in a slippery fabric felt like torture to me. Because I skipped the bias strip, I have quite a bit of fabric left over, so I plan on making myself some Colette Sorbetto tanks, which I can wear with sweaters or blazers. Thus far, I’ve only made them out of cotton.
I’m pretty pleased with my new blouses, and my work wardrobe is really coming together. Now I just need a job!
Well, I’ve been avoiding posting this one because I was so excited about the pattern and my dress really didn’t work out very well. I’m just going to get this done and over with…
It looks more or less okay from the front, I suppose. There are definitely issues though.
The neckline is way too high for me. I don’t like a neckline that comes higher than my collarbones, even if it’s a t-shirt. Why? Because I’m rather well-endowed, all that fabric just makes my bust look even bigger. There’s nothing to break it up. Maybe some chunky jewelry would help, but that’s not my style. The neckline needs to be lowered about 2″ in the front, and 1″ at the back, because it’s just a wee bit high for me there too.
The fit in the waist is good. The fit in the bust is good. The fit in the hips is okay. The fit across my tummy is terrible. This is more apparent from the side.
Look at those drag lines! I have a bit of a tummy pouch, and that’s what is causing them. I blame my kids, but really, I need to exercise more and it would be less of a problem. There’s not a whole lot of room in this dress for my tummy. Because my tummy is bigger than this dress can comfortably accommodate, it is pushing up the waistline, causing weird wrinkles below the bust.
I don’t want to have to wear spanx, which might help somewhat, but I don’t honestly find them all that helpful. They do smooth out lumps and bumps, but they give me a sausage silhouette, which isn’t much better than lumps and bumps.
I’m not sure I’ll try making this dress again. It just needs too many modifications in order to work. I love the idea of sheath dresses, but with my tummy, I’m not sure they’re the most flattering on me. I’ll try this one again someday, after I get my tummy under control, but in the meantime, I have fabric for four more of them that I need to find other uses for.
Not every project can be a success, and this one definitely was not one of them. I’ll keep it on hand, just so that I don’t have to sew it again later if/when my belly is less pouchy, but this definitely is not a wearable dress.
The other fabrics I purchased are fine wale corduroy and lightweight suiting. There’s definitely enough for either pants and skirts, or dresses. I’m inclined to go for dresses, but I need to find the right pattern. I thought about the Sewaholic Cambie as an option, but it isn’t going to be suitable for the corduroy. I made one out of quilting cotton a while back.
I came across this blog post from Sewaholic, and love the finished dress, but Tasia’s body type is very different from my own. I’d end up with the same issue with the neckline being too high. I don’t like the back either, but the front is nice.
This might be a good option, because of the neckline variations. I find it frustrating that the pattern companies don’t list everything that is in the catalog on their websites though. I’d rather go through the patterns at home, then make a trip to the fabric store. Sadly, I don’t have anything in my collection of patterns that would be suitable.
I finished my Minoru jacket last week, and have worn it every day since completing it. It has been difficult to get pictures of it though, given that it is dark by the time my husband gets home from work, so we took advantage of this morning’s beautiful weather to walk the dog near the river and get pictures of my jacket.
I didn’t change anything about finishing the jacket, other than making the interior pocket an inch deeper, to accommodate my phone, and serging the raw edges inside the collar, as the edges remain exposed inside of the collar and I didn’t want them to fray over time.
I’m quite pleased with the finished jacket, and wore it for the first time last Friday. It’s a very comfortable jacket – it doesn’t bind at the arms, it’s roomy enough in the bust, and has a really flattering silhouette. It even saw rain on Saturday, and I stayed nice and dry. There’s also plenty of room to wear my down underlayer with it in the winter, so there’s no need to buy a separate winter coat this year.
Would I make this jacket again? Absolutely. I think it makes a fantastic all-purpose jacket. It’s sporty enough for walking the dog and light hiking, but stylish enough to wear around the city or on your daily commute.
There are a few things that I’d do differently next time, however. The side seam pockets are a little too far to the back, thanks to the elastic at the waist, which pulls them away from the front. On my next Minoru, I’ll take the time to do the welt pockets I discussed previously but decided not to do.
The hood is really big. In fact, I don’t like it all that much. I’d make a different style of hood altogether the next time I make this jacket. The hood has a seam down the center, but I find that a hood that has three pieces fits better, and I’d draft my own hood in that style the next time around.
I’d also consider doing a tie belt next time I make this jacket, instead of the elastic waist. It gives you a bit more comfort when switching warm layers underneath the jacket, as it might be a touch snug with my heavier down layer.
Much as the elastic cuffs were a pain in the rear end, I’d leave them as is, because they look nice, and are comfortable to wear.
My pockets need some tweaking, as every time I take my hands out of them, the pocket lining pops out. Tacking them to the hem of the jacket will fix that problem though. I also didn’t make the bottom outside seam high enough when I sewed them, as the pockets aren’t really a secure spot to keep things. When I crouch to pick up after my dog, sometimes stuff falls out of my pocket (such as my phone, the day I didn’t put it back in the interior pocket).
I’m pretty happy with this jacket, considering it was my first time sewing this type of outerwear. Am I 100% happy? No, but I’d say I’m 90% happy, which is more than I can say for anything I’d buy off the rack! I’ll get a lot of use out of this jacket, and when it is time, I’ll definitely make another.
Since I’m satisfied with my muslin, aside from adding a little extra room in the bust, I went ahead and cut my fabrics today. The top fabric is the lovely teal Bemberg lining that I got at half price. I have extra, since I bought more than I needed, which is nice, because you never know when you are going to need lining. There’s enough left over to make another pencil skirt. The brown and black fabric on the bottom is my waterproof fabric, which I purchased from Peak Fabrics. It’s a two layer breatheable fabric, which means it won’t let moisture in, but it will let moisture out. As I mentioned previously, I bought the last of this fabric, and was worried about not having enough.
After walking the dog, I made a pot of coffee and started laying things out. I started with the lining, because honestly, pinning into my waterproof fabric made me a little anxious. There’s no room for error when you’re working with waterproof fabric, because every hole you make in the fabric is a place that will let water in, which defeats the purpose of sewing with this type of fabric!
Once my lining was cut out, I laid out my outer shell pieces. Surprisingly, I have quite a decent amount leftover. Not enough to make another garment, but enough that I could have been a bit more generous with my layout.
As you can see in the photo, I pinned very close to the edges of the pattern pieces. This pattern is sewn with a 5/8″ seam allowance, so I pinned within the seam allowance to make sure that I didn’t make any holes in the exposed fabric. When I sew, I will have to keep this in mind. It will make pinning the gathers rather challenging, but I’ll get through it.
I decided not to make welt pockets on my jacket. Why? Because of the waistband elastic. I would have had to place the pockets uncomfortably low in order to make the welt pockets look nice, since I didn’t want them in the gathers of the waist elastic. I am going to skip the zippers on the pockets, because I’m making them nice and deep, and I can put my keys in the inside pocket, so they won’t get lost.
The only pieces I haven’t cut out yet are the casing for the elastic and the inside flap to keep rain from coming through the zipper. I’m going to use the facing piece to cut it, since it will give me the right length, but I haven’t worked out how wide I need it to be yet. The elastic casing will be cut out of nylon mesh lining, which I’m also using for my pockets. This will reduce bulk at the waist. I could use the lining fabric, but I think the mesh will be easier to work with.
Sunday was muslin day! Exciting, right? Maybe not, but making a muslin is an important step, especially when you’re using fabric that is expensive, hard to come by, or leaves no room for error! Tasia at Sewaholic made a great blog post about making a muslin for this pattern, and it might be interesting to give it a read.
As for my muslin, I needed to make almost no adjustments to the pattern, which surprised me. My measurements put me in a size 16 in the high bust and waist (I measured over top of my down underlayer, and loosely, so there’s some wiggle room in my measurements), and a 10 in the hips. Remember, Sewaholic patterns are made for a pear shaped figure, and I’m more hourglass shaped. This means I always have to grade down in the hips with their patterns. This is a bit of a disappointment for me, because I’d really love to sew the Thurlow trousers, but they’d be a nightmare to adjust.
Anyway, once I worked out my size, I looked at the finished measurements and saw that there’s much more wearing ease in this jacket than I had expected. Even in the sleeves! My arms are about 13″ at the bicep, and the sleeves measured 18″ at the armpit, so I’ll have plenty of room. My full bust is 43″, and the bust of the size 16 is 47″. Again, plenty of room. No sleeve adjustment! No FBA? I’m shocked, actually, but this makes the jacket so much easier for me, so I’m certainly not going to complain!
I cut out the size 16, and graded down to a 12, because I wanted it a bit bigger around at the bottom, and I generally don’t like grading down that many sizes. Then I hunted through my stash for sacrificial fabric, and found two lengths of coordinating pink quilting cotton that I had purchased to make knitting bags and never used.
Here’s the end result. Yes, the muslin looks ridiculous, but I didn’t plan on making a wearable muslin, so I don’t care. I only cut the outside pieces, since I’m not worried about the fit of the hood, and didn’t need to bother with the finishing touches.
As you can see, the bust fits fine, but I think I’ll add another 1/2″, just to be safe. There’s plenty of room in the sleeves. The waist is a bit large, but that’s likely because I didn’t have 2″ wide elastic, which is what the pattern calls for.
The sleeves are about 1.5″ too long, so I will have to adjust the sleeve length, but otherwise, the fit is good. I may end up using a shorter piece of elastic, because the recommended length for my size doesn’t draw the jacket in enough at the waist. The placement is perfect, however. I tried the jacket with my puffy down underlayer, and it fits well with the down, so I’m ready to go forward with cutting this size, once I adjust the sleeve length.
I have yet to determine my pocket placement, but I’m hoping to make welt pockets like I had on my last rain jacket, which I handed down to my daughter since it doesn’t fit me properly anymore. I prefer zippered pockets on jackets, because I’d hate to lose my keys while walking the dog! I may get lazy, however, and just do side seam pockets using this tutorial. It should be fairly easy to add zippers, but my preference would be welt pockets. They’re fairly simple to do, it’s just the placement and angle that are a bit of a challenge.
There are a couple of things I’m going to change… I’m not a big fan of the way the waist elastic casing is sewn, especially since I’m making a waterproof jacket. I will sew an actual casing, rather than through the lining of the jacket. This way I can seam seal the casing, and stay dry. I’m also going to line the hood. As I mentioned previously, I’ll be adding piping along the raglan shoulder seams, as well as down the centre of the hood.
The only places that I can see seam tape being necessary are on the hood and on the raglan sleeve seams, as well as the underarm seams. The gathers at the collar won’t work with seam tape, so I will use liquid seam sealant.
My zipper facing will go on the inside of the jacket, though it will depend very much on how much fabric I have left after cutting everything out. I am cutting it pretty close on my yardage, so it is possible that I won’t have enough for a facing.
I do have one complaint though. Usually, Sewaholic has excellent, very detailed instructions, but this pattern is lacking in that department. The instructions for the collar are unclear, and if you’re doing view B (without the hood), there are no instructions at all. They do have a sewalong on the blog, but without reading through all of the posts, the collar instructions wouldn’t have been clear. Not everyone thinks to look for sewalongs, so the written instructions that come with the pattern really ought to be more detailed than they are.
I bought the zippers and elastic that I need today, since Fabricland didn’t have what I needed. I’ll be cutting out my jacket shortly.
I need a new rain jacket this autumn, because my old one no longer fits and I handed it down to my daughter. I was looking for a waterproof, breatheable jacket that was casual enough for hiking and dog walking, without velcro, that was lined. Do you think such a thing exists? I tried everywhere, and had two major problems… #1, I was looking for a style of jacket that is available in the spring, but not the autumn. Everyone had plenty of winter jackets, with removeable down or fleece liners, which made them much more expensive… I already have warm underlayers to wear with my jacket, so there’s no point in spending an extra $200 to get something I already have. #2, in order to get a jacket that fit me in the bust, it was too big everywhere else. When you added my requirements for lining (I don’t like the unlined jackets because they stick to your skin when you perspire), no velcro, and a colour that I like, I pretty much had zero options. After much frustrated shopping, I decided that the best course of action was to sew my own. Full disclosure, I’ve sewn outerwear before, but never with water resistant or waterproof fabric. I’m sure I’ll be relying heavily on this post on the Sewaholic blog, regarding sewing waterproof outerwear.
The first thing I did was choose a pattern. I decided to sew the Sewaholic Minoru, because the yoke gathers would make doing my full bust adjustment easy, since I wouldn’t have to add darts to the pattern (which would have led to more seam sealing). I also really liked the style of the jacket – it’s casual enough for walking the dog and even hiking, but still very flattering.
Once I decided on a pattern, I determined what modifications I’d make for my Minoru. First of all, I wanted to stay dry on wet days, so I had to buy waterproof breatheable fabric and seam sealing tape. I also wanted to be safe when I walk the dog in the dark, so I bought some reflective piping. The jacket doesn’t have any external pockets, so I will have to add some. I found this tutorial for adding side seam pockets to the jacket, but I really wanted zippered placket pockets, so that I don’t have to worry about losing things while walking the dog. I want to stay dry, but don’t want to spend a fortune on zippers, so I’m making my jacket with a flap over the zip. I could put the flap on the inside, since that should be sufficient in case of zipper leakage, but I may put it on the outside to cover the zipper. If I do, I’ll be using large buttons. I could use snaps, but I don’t always like the end result, and I’m unable to get more fabric if the snaps make a mess of things.
The next step was fabric, which was surprisingly difficult to find. I had to make things harder on myself, of course, because I really didn’t want a plain fabric. For whatever reason, the fabric absolutely had to have some kind of a pattern to it. After much searching, I discovered that Peak Fabrics had the best selection of patterned waterproof fabrics, and even their selection is limited. Other online retailers had camo fabric, but I am not a fan of camo! I bought some really nice chocolate brown and black textured fabric (I bought the last of it, so I can’t make mistakes), seam tape, and reflective piping from them. Their customer service was excellent, and I highly recommend contacting them if you are looking for performance fabrics. I bought Bemberg lining at Fabricland, at 50% off.
Today, I assembled my pattern, and will be doing my FBA. I will probably also have to add some extra to the upper sleeves, as I find that Sewaholic patterns are a bit snug in the upper arm on me. I plan to make my jacket a little on the loose side, so that I can put a warm layer underneath, rather than having a separate winter jacket. I also need to look into how and where to add the pockets. This looks like a useful resource.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to finish my jacket until later next week, because I need to make a trip to Dressew for zippers and wide elastic, but I should be able to make good progress over the weekend. Because I don’t have enough fabric to make any mistakes, I’ll be sewing up a muslin tomorrow, to confirm fit and pocket placement. Once I’m satisfied with my muslin, I’ll start sewing the actual jacket.
I needed a new, neutral shirt to wear with my Owligan, so I made another Sewaholic Granville, because I know it will be trouble-free, and I’ve already done the pattern adjustments. The only problem is that my upper arms have, um, grown a bit since the last one I made, so I had to add some ease to the sleeves. Yes, I can still wear the previous one I made, but the sleeves are a tad snug, and that’s just not comfortable.
I used the Curvy Sewing Collective post on sleeve adjustments to add ease to the upper arm. Turns out my upper arm measurement is only 1/4″ less than the actual sleeve measurement, so I definitely need to do the adjustment. I added just shy of 1 1/4″ to my sleeve width.
This adjustment is surprisingly quick, and I finished within five minutes. Just make sure to add your seam allowance when you draw the horizontal line, and draw it from that point, rather than right at the corners where the sleeve meets the cap. You will also have to redraw your grainline, because this adjustment shifts it outward more at the top end than it does at the bottom, and you want your sleeves to be on grain.
I traced the new sleeve onto a piece of pattern tissue, since I don’t enjoy manipulating multiple layers of printer paper when I’m pinning my pattern. Normally when you do pattern adjustments like these, you would put a bit of paper in the gap you created, tape it in, and carry on with cutting your fabric. I find patterns adjusted this way difficult to store, and difficult to pin, so I traced it onto tissue.
The fabric I chose is a quilting cotton. I know, “garments shouldn’t be made from quilting cotton”, but it was pretty, neutral, and the price was right. It also reminds me of a colouring book for grown ups. I couldn’t find anything I liked in the shirting fabrics, because all they really had were stripes and plaids, and I didn’t feel like messing with matching. THIS is why I didn’t want go go with plaid – I’m sure the finished product will be worth all of the extra work, but I don’t want to do that much matching. This is supposed to be quick to sew, remember?
At any rate, I’ve successfully sewn garments out of quilting cotton dozens of times. Would I have preferred a lovely Liberty of London fabric? Absolutely, but there was nothing interesting at Dressew, so quilting fabric it is. In fact, if you’re interested, Tilly & the Buttons has a great post about sewing garments out of quilting cotton, and I recommend that anyone considering it give the post a read. She does warn against sewing garments with sleeves in quilting cotton, because it is frequently stiffer than fabrics intended for garments, but I say, you be the judge. Some quilting cottons have more drape than others. My fabric is quite soft, so while it is certainly thicker than garment fabric, it has similar drape to a lightweight flannel, and flannel shirts are really popular for autumn!
I cut out my shirt on Tuesday, and finished it on Friday. I am pretty pleased with my new shirt, and I think that while the quilt fabric is a bit thicker than shirting fabrics, it works pretty well. I wore it out to dinner with my husband over the weekend, and found it very comfortable to wear. Remember the caution against sewing garments with sleeves in quilting cotton? No problem, they’re quite comfortable, and don’t feel stiff.
Here is a list of shirtmaking posts on the Sewaholic blog that are handy when sewing this shirt.
This is my second Collette Sorbetto. As I said in my previous post, I modified the pattern to have a curved hem instead of a straight across hem, which you can see better in this picture than you can in the photo of my yellow floral version.
I also made the pleat narrower, taking off 1/2″ of width from the marking on the pattern. The reason I did so is because the yellow version is a tad snug on the bust, and I didn’t want to have to do another FBA.
One thing that amuses me is that I seem to have a habit of making tops in pairs this year. I made two Granville shirts, and two Oakridge blouses… followed by two Sorbetto tanks! I do want to make more of this one though, with different detailing, as they’re super comfortable, and very quick to sew.
Sorbetto is a free pattern from Collette, available as a PDF. It’s also an excellent beginner pattern. I’ve been wanting to make a quick garment to wear this summer, and this one fit the bill. It’s been made umpteen million times (okay, maybe not that many, but it’s an extremely popular pattern), so how could it possibly go wrong?
Why did I choose this pattern? First of all, there are two pattern pieces. No fussy cutting, and only darts to mark. It has a bias finish on the neckline and armholes, so there are no facings. It’s flattering, classic yet modern at the same time.
Surprisingly, I don’t have much in my fabric stash that is suitable, but I did have some leftover linen, as well as some fabric left over from one of the Sewaholic Granville shirts I made in the spring, so I have some options. I found out the hard way that the fabric I used in the Granville shrinks horribly, so I prewashed the remaining fabric. Yes, I know I should have prewashed. I always do, but I was in such a hurry to make the shirt that I skipped prewashing, and now I have a lovely handmade shirt that doesn’t even fit my 13 year old.
Prewash, people! I’ve been sewing for more than 25 years, and I still neglect this important step sometimes. Often, it doesn’t make a difference, but when it does, you’ll kick yourself for not doing it. Trust me.
Anyway, I decided to make my first Sorbetto out of some lovely red & yellow cotton that I found in my stash. I’ll still have plenty to make a dress with, since it’s nice and wide. This pattern needs fabric with a bit of drape to it… I’ve seen it made out of quilting cotton, which is fine, unless you’re full-busted like I am. The pattern has only got side bust darts, and no real waist shaping, so it would fit like a paper bag if I used stiffer fabric for it. I usually save my quilting cotton for dresses.
Modifications were, of course, necessary. I had to do a full bust adjustment, which went fairly quickly and painlessly. I’ve done them enough times now that they come somewhat naturally, unless, of course, I am working with a more complicated pattern. Sorbetto was a piece of cake though. I ended up doing a 1″ FBA, and used the size 10. I did not have to grade the pattern.
The other modification I made was to change the hemline. The top is a little on the short side for my liking, and I don’t really like the straight hem, so I used the hemline from the Granville shirt to both lengthen and change the shape of the hemline on my Sorbetto.
While I’m waxing poetic about my Sorbetto, I’m going to leave this here. Look how versatile this pattern is! 7 Days of Sorbetto. She even made a pattern for sleeves, since she doesn’t like the sleeveless top. She’s made a few different neckline variations, and even a 1920’s style dress. I really quite like the tie front version, but I don’t think it would suit me.
My sister from another mother came to visit yesterday, and spent the night. She needed a comfortable dress for an event this weekend, and it had to be purple. We went shopping, and struck out completely. The only purple dresses were more of a dark fuchsia, which doesn’t work for her colouring.
I offered to make her a dress, knowing what her style is and that it wouldn’t take long, so we gave up on the mall and went to the fabric store. She picked out McCall’s 6952.
My sister isn’t always a big fan of long dresses, but she’s also not big on full skirts either, so we did view C (shown in dark blue) but in the view A/B length.
While I’m at it, I have to give kudos to McCall’s for using diverse models – it’s so important for people of colour to be represented, and it’s great to see that McCall’s uses models from many different cultural groups. My sister is Chinese, so she was particularly happy to see an Asian model on the pattern envelope, given how underrepresented Asians are in the West.
One of the nice things about this pattern is the fabric options. Basically, so long as your fabric has a nice soft drape to it, you can sew this dress. The envelope suggests crepe, crepe de Chine, jersey & interlock. It says “designed for medium weight woven and stable knits”. Options are good! We found some nice, soft polyester that was purple, but this weekend is supposed to be really hot, so we kept looking, and found this really great cotton blend knit fabric with purple and blue circles on it… bonus is, the fabric was 50% off, so the fabric cost was only $10. I ended up getting extra fabric to make a dress for myself.
The dress, as usual, took me longer than I anticipated, but I didn’t mind. I am notorious for underestimating how long a sewing project will take. I thought “oh, I should be able to whip that up in about an hour and a half” but it ended up being closer to three hours. At the end of the day, my sister is happy with her dress, and it’s something she’ll be able to wear again and again.
I am probably going to make the long version of this dress for myself. Fortunately, we’re pretty close to the same size, so I can use the same pattern. I tried the dress on, and I don’t have to do an FBA, due to the slight stretch of the knitted fabric.
This knit wasn’t too fussy to work with, fortunately. It doesn’t have a lot of stretch, and while it is a bit slippery, it wasn’t too bad to work with. The bolt said it was a cotton blend, but didn’t specify what it was blended with – I suspect rayon, which makes it a great summer fabric.
Of course, we can’t just go to the fabric store and buy what we need… so I walked out of the store with four meters of this adorable quilting cotton, which will likely become a Cambie dress for myself. It’s a nice cream colour, not white (which I generally never wear). I’d have been happier if they’d had this print on the olive green background like some of the others in this collection, but I like it on the cream too.
Unfortunately, both dresses have to wait, because I have another dress to sew for Louise! I’m off to iron fabric to prepare it for cutting now!