Two Pieces | Vogue 9181 + Jalie Emilie

An Outfit for First Snow of the Season

We had a marvellous autumn in western Canada with warm dry days and just a couple of hints of frost. When I was perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s site in October, I was tempted to focus on pretty florals for blouses or dresses but part of me knew that … (da dah dum … ) winter was coming. Fortunately, Fabric Mart was stocked with a huge selection of cooler weather fabrics that are perfect for winter or holiday sewing.

Over the past several months I’ve been planning my sewing projects so I have pieces that work together so I decided to pick a print fabric for a top, and a solid for pants, using navy as the base.

Pants

For the pants I selected a Poly/Nylon/Spandex Stretch Corduroy in Navy. Corduroy is great for cooler weather, but if you live in a cold climate with blast furnaces you know that heavyweight cord can feel good outdoors but too warm when you come inside. This fine 14-wale corduroy is warm enough to wear outdoors but will be especially comfortable indoors. It also has a bit of drape which makes it nice for trousers. And who doesn’t want some stretch?

I selected Vogue 9181 (Custom-Fit Bootcut Pants) because it is designed for stretch woven fabrics, it has bootcut legs, and it has a front mock zip. For the past several months I’ve been working on the Top Down Center Out fitting method for pants and this pattern, with its shaped waistband, works especially well when learning Top Down Center Out. I first made a half-toile using muslin, then marked up the pattern and cut out the corduroy. The fabric was really easy to cut and sew. It does shed a bit but not nearly as much as cotton corduroy. I used a stretch needle and sewed the seams on my sewing machine, then serged the seam allowances.

I made two mistakes when sewing the pants and both were simply a result of a lack of experience working with corduroy. The first was neglecting to sew a test buttonhole on scrap fabric. That resulted in a good hour of unpicking after I made the same mistake twice! The second error is more embarrassing but I know I’m not the first nor will I be the last to do this. When I cut out the cord I didn’t even think about the nap of the fabric. So my finished pants has the nap going up on the front and down on the back. It makes a difference! I’m hoping that no one will notice and if they do, they’re looking too closely.

These pants are super comfortable. I like the drape with the boot cut shape.

Top

The second part of my outfit is a loose-fitting turtleneck that is perfect for winter weather.

When I was shopping Fabric Mart in the middle of October there were a number of fun holiday print fabrics and I just couldn’t resist this brushed sweater knit with Christmas trees and cabins in non-traditional colours. I think this print will be wearable throughout the winter, not just over the holiday period. This sweater knit is a poly/lycra blend and the stitches are very fine so it feels like a jersey. It has lovely drape and feel cosy but not too warm.

I went back to a favourite pattern, the Jalie Emilie. This free, downloadable pattern is sized for girls aged 2 through bust measurement of about 51″. It’s oversized with dropped shoulders and a turtleneck collar. I’ve used this pattern several times and love it because it’s such a fast make and is a great shape for wearing over tights or pants. And it’s fast! You can sew the whole sweater on the overlocker or serger, or on a sewing machine. The only change I make when sewing this top is to slightly change the shape of the columnar tube collar so it’s more loose fitting around the neck.

As you can see, we’re already in winter mode here in western Canada! I know I’ll get lots of wear out of both of these pieces. Only about seven months of winter to go!

Thread Theory Designs Finlayson Sweater

Sewing for Men


From Thread Theory: This sweater is a grown up version of the classic hoodie. It will be a wardrobe staple due to its cozy boxy shape and hard wearing cuffed hems but there is no worry of looking like a slob while wearing it!

Early in 2022 I participated in a sewing challenge and my focus was free patterns from Canadian designers/pattern companies. This was a great exercise as it introduced me to new-to-me companies. One of those companies is Thread Theory.

When I decided to make something for my husband, I remembered Thread Theory and purchased the Finlayson patterns for a hoodie. This was not a free pattern however, I thought it was well worth the money because it’s a basic. (*Note – all of the companies I discovered in my challenge are included in my Resources page.)

The pattern is well drafted and easy to use. There’s one set of notches missing – you mark a notch on the bottom edge of the hoodie but there is not a corresponding mark on the bottom band. Not a big deal but worth noting.

This pattern was appealing because of the way the hood is attached – more like a shawl collar than just a hood stuck on in place of a collar or collar stand.

Fabric


Sweatshirt fleece from Fabricland West (Canada). It’s a nice fabric (that means expensive!) that wasn’t difficult to sew. Ideally, I would have used ribbing for the hem and cuffs. Next time …

Alterations

No alterations! Gosh, it’s easy sewing for a guy. Granted, it is a sweatshirt …

I cut a straight L for my husband. Because this is a relatively slim fitting design, I stitched the side seams at 1 cm to give him a bit more breathing room.

Embellishments

The inspiration for the embellishments was his BMW motorcycle – it’s blue, black and chrome as is the BMW logo. And his helmet is red (check out the embroidered rider). For embellishments I focused on things that were: a) masculine, b) sporty and c) not over the top because he’s not an over the top guy. 😆


My husband is a motorcyclist and anything BMW will be worn!

LEFT SLEEVE: I wanted a design that was simple and conveyed speed since he likes to ride fast. On the left sleeve I sewed on a stripe that is made up of two layers of grosgrain ribbon (1″ black with 3/8″ ivory layered over). The ribbons were first attached using Steam a Seam and then stitched along the edge.

RIGHT FRONT CHEST: He asked me to incorporate a BMW logo that he had sitting in a drawer. “You can sew it on with your machine.” Yeah, it’s rubber. It was stitched on by hand using topstitching thread.

BACK: I used my Brother ScanNCut machine to scan the logo for the model of his motorcycle then cut it from heat transfer vinyl and ironed it on. I haven’t used this machine much so this was absolutely the most challenging part of the whole project and took the most time.

INSIDE BACK FACING: The inside back facing got the most attention.I embroidered a motorcycle rider (with a red helmet), attached some grosgrain ribbon to finish/smooth the back neck seam and sewed on a Kylie & the Machine label.

He likes things that are relatively understated so this has enough accents and embellishments to make it unique but it isn’t so over the top that he won’t wear it out of the house 😁

Pamela’s Patterns Softly Pleated Dress & StyleArc Coral Cardigan

An outfit for Sew Over 50 Frocktails

I’m a super active participant in the @SewOver50 community on Instagram and also volunteer as the Relief Editor for the group. There are currently about 43,000 followers of the Sew Over 50 account and it’s a wonderful, welcoming community comprised of those who are over age 50 and sew. We don’t discriminate – those under 50 are welcome to follow along!

In September 2022, the two ladies who ARE Sew Over 50 organised a Frocktails event in Edinburgh, Scotland. Like a lot of people, I had trips planned prior to March 2020 and wound up with a bunch of airline credits waiting for an excuse. One of my pandemic lessons was that life can change in an instant. We don’t know what could happen next week or two years from now so grab opportunities when they come your way! So I took those airline credits and bought myself a ticket from Calgary to Edinburgh. Then I started thinking about what kind of frock I would wear to Frocktails!

I set a few requirements for my garment before I settled on a pattern and fabric: a) comfortable, b) pack/travel well, c) versatile and d) suitable for late-September weather.

A quick lunchtime visit to Rick Rack Textiles and I’m ready to sew!

Dress: Pamela’s Patterns Softly Pleated Dress

I’m a fan of Pamela Leggett’s patterns because they are well drafted classics that are designed to fit the more mature figure. For this event I wanted a comfortable dress that could be later worn to work, for dinner or out for events. This pattern fit the bill.

The fabric I purchased is stretch cotton (95% cotton, 5% spandex – about 200 gsm) designed by EttaVee for Riley Blake Designs. In the fabric description it lists that it is suitable for t-shirts, leggings and sleepwear. Does that make for a comfy dress? You betcha! I selected this fabric for the colours and also the design that was decidedly NOT florals. (I tend to gravitate toward florals and have way too many in my wardrobe.)

I selected this pattern because it was designed for knits, it has some shape (it’s not a loose fitting dress) and it is suitable for everything from a day at work to dinner out. Pamela also provides excellent directions on how to adjust her patterns, so I knew that I could finesse the fit.

Before I started cutting I made two adjustments to the pattern. First, I changed the neckline from a square or scoop neck to a v-neck because that’s more flattering for my bust. The second change was to line the bodice. This allowed for a beautifully turned v-neck and also helps the bodice to lie nicely. The photo on the left is of the lining in the bodice.

I selected a size based on my upper bust and went from there. Once the dress was basted together, it was clearly too large so I followed Pamela’s detailed instructions to move the waistband higher, shift the front and back pleats to the most flattering point, and taper the skirt. In the end, I wound up with a dress that fits so well. And it was made to be packed in a suitcase!

Topper: Style Arc Coral Cardigan

When I was shopping at Rick Rack for the dress fabric I spied a wool blend that matched perfectly and it seemed like the right weight for an autumn cardigan. I hadn’t planned to make a cardigan but the match was just too good and I expected that I would need a cardigan or jacket in late September. This fabric is called “Lana Bolito” and content is 65% viscose and 35% wool. The weight is 340 g/m2

I have several cardigan patterns but was ready for a change, and I also knew that this fabric would work best with a pattern that has some structure.

The Style Arc Coral Cardigan is a relatively basic cardie but what makes it different is the front band that ends at about the waist, giving a bit of definition and also showing the structure of the jacket. There is also a seam at the front with inseam pockets, providing a chance for the fabric to shine.

I’ve only sewed Style Arc one other time and know that their instructions are often rather minimal but in this case, it didn’t matter because this is a very simple garment that went together in record time. My skills are also much better than they were last time I sewed Style Arc.

This fabric doesn’t ravel so the seams don’t need to be finished and in fact, I could have gotten away without hemming the jacket or sleeves but I’m not that much of a bohemian.

In the end, I made one small change to the pattern. As you see in the photo on the left, there is a cuff for the sleeve. This fabric was quite bulky and I didn’t like the idea of a cuff so instead, I made a 1.5 inch (3 cm) facing for the sleeve and that gave a nice, crisp line.

I love this cardigan. I think it’s one of my favourite makes this year. When I finished it and took it to my closet, I realised that it coordinates perfectly with several tops in my wardrobe. That means it will be worn and not just hang in the closet! I suspect that I should have washed it several times to pre-shrink and am a bit concerned about how it will react to water so this will be a ‘dry clean only’ cardigan.

The cardigan and dress made it to Edinburgh for Frocktails and they had a wonderful time! As it turned out, Scotland (like Alberta) had a warm autumn so the cardigan wasn’t needed for the event but it wandered up and down the cobblestone streets of Leith.

If you would like to hear more about the Frocktails event, please visit take a look at my YouTube video – Janine Sews Goes to Frocktails. I’ve included many pictures plus video of the fun.

I’m so very glad that I went to Frocktails! I have memories that will last a lifetime, and will be reminded of my lovely sewing friends every time I wear my dress or cardigan.

Three Pieces for my new wardrobe

This post is shared in conjunction with Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog.

Until March 10, 2020, I worked in an office five days a week. And although my employer had a casual dress code, there was still a work ‘uniform’ which for me was a dress, trousers or skirt, a ‘business-appropriate’ top, and a jacket or sweater. And shoes with heels! The working world has changed and maybe I won’t be in an office again all week – it could be that I’ll be in an office a couple of days a week and working from the home computer on other days. That doesn’t mean that I want to live in yoga pants and a t-shirt, I enjoy being ‘presentable.’

My wardrobe has to adapt to this change plus be prepared for a new climate! This summer, we moved from the United States to my hometown of Calgary, Canada. Other than our brief stay in Pennsylvania, we’ve been in the southern U.S. states (where 10C/50F is considered ‘cold’) since 2002 which means that I need a lot of stuff for ccccccold weather.

I spent some time perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s website and found some great fabrics that spurred my creativity!

Piece 1: Dress/Jumper

The base item is a Lodo Dress from True Bias patterns. For this dress, I chose a pretty royal blue Ponte knit from Fabric Mart’s website. Ponte is one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear in cooler weather! I like that it has enough stretch for movement (like doing a quick vacuum between Zoom calls) and is comfortable for sitting at a desk all day. And it can be sewn on a regular sewing machine, serger or cover stitch. So versatile!

The Lodo dress is a classic that I’ve made before in the above-knee length. This time I went for the longer mid-calf length because I think it’s likely to be more wearable in a place where boots are the footwear of choice for five months of the year. The longer length is also more comfortable for me when sitting at a desk (no worrying about a skirt riding up 😉. While a lot of people wear the Lodo as a standalone dress, I like to wear it as a jumper/pinafore over a top and opaque tights.

Piece 2: Top

I’m so excited about this garment! When I saw this “English Canine Print” jersey on the Fabric Mart website, I had to have it. (Shhh – don’t tell the cats that I’m wearing something that features dogs!) It’s quirky enough to be interesting but not so out there that it looks like a novelty. It’s a stretch cotton jersey and is neither too lightweight or too heavy – perfect for a top that skims the body. The pattern I used is the Maven Patterns Somerset T. This boat-neck t-shirt can be made with different sleeve styles and I selected Bishops Sleeves with a deep cuff. Big statement sleeves continue to be in stores and on the runway but let’s face it – runway designers aren’t planning for those of us who need to wear coats. I love this long cuff because it keeps the sleeves where they are supposed to be, instead of half way up my forearms!

The knit was easy to sew. I sewed most of the seams on the serger, and then topstitched the boatneck and hem with the cover stitch.

This fabric is perfect for this pattern, although it would also work well with a bamboo or lighter fabric. I’m planning to make more – maybe next time I’ll use a contrast fabric for the cuff, or a sheer fabric for the sleeves for holiday evenings out.

Piece 3: Jacket

Edge of collar is left raw.

The final piece is a cosy, fleece jacket that can be worn as a cardigan or jacket, depending on the weather. The fleece I chose has “Prussian Blue/Vivid Auburn” horizontal stripes, and it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside, which was important for the pattern I chose. Vogue 8676 (out of print) is a Marcie Tilton pattern designed for fleece and boiled wool. All of the edges are left raw – so on the collar and cuffs you can see both the wrong and right sides. This fleece worked really well as there is a slight difference in the print on the right side and wrong side. Because of the design of the fabric, the collar edges look really interesting – almost like trim was added. The collar doesn’t have a button. I keep it closed with a stick pin that I borrowed from my mom’s jewellery box. You don’t really need to close the collar but when the north wind blows …Fleece is easy to work with. This particular fabric is medium weight and my machine didn’t struggle with the many layers on edges. I used a ballpoint needle and as mentioned, the edges are left unfinished so a serger or cover stitch isn’t needed to make a nice looking jacket.

And … The Outfit

I selected all of these fabrics online without using swatches and the colours work together just as I expected! On the top there are blue highlights on the Union Jack and River Thames and those match the Royal Blue dress, and the blue/auburn stripes on the jacket coordinate well with everything.

For labels, these Kylie and the Machine ones really add a professional touch. Does anyone remember when we didn’t add labels? Or we just wrote on a piece of twill tape with a special pen? (Dating myself, clearly.)

These three pieces will get a great deal of wear in the colder months. I especially like that all are so versatile and can transition from meetings in an office to hanging out at home – with a stop at a restaurant in between.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the garments and information on how I sewed them, please visit my YouTube channel.

Thanks for visiting!

Fore!

Fore!
This blog post was originally published on Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog on May 12, 2021. I’ve included a bit of extra info and more photos here.

Last year I decided to take up golf again after playing only a handful of times over the past two decades. When I think back to what we were wore for golf when I was playing in the 90s it was basically regular street clothes – 100% cotton pants and knit or woven tops with practically no stretch. Times have changed! Golf wear is now truly athletic wear and those constricting fabrics have been replaced by technical fabrics. But RTW golf clothes are expensive, in boring colors, and the sizing isn’t always inclusive. Time to make my own.

I spent some time going through my patterns and found that I had everything I needed to make a full outfit comprised of a top, jacket, skirt, and little shorts to be worn under the skirt.

Fabrics

If you sew you know that it can be quite difficult to find technical fabric for athletic wear. A couple of months ago I discovered that Fabric Mart has an entire section of fabric suitable for athletic wear! My jacket and top patterns both have side panels/princess seams so I picked out two fabrics that would look good together.

French Wine Pink Polyester/Lycra Techno Knit is a beefy athletic wear fabric in gorgeous cherry pink. There is plenty of stretch and it’s suitable for a top, jacket, leggings or even a dress.

Powder White Nylon/Lycra Tricot Activewear Knit is lighter in weight than the Techno Knit. It drapes nicely and is almost opaque. This fabric feels like many of my summer RTW athletic tops. It would be excellent for tops and lightweight jackets, and depending on your style, for leggings or skirts.

When I received my activewear fabrics from Fabric Mart, I discovered in my stash a piece of Stretch Bengaline (purchased from Fabric Mart/Julie’s Picks last summer) and it had that same cherry pink in the print. Best of all, the bengaline has almost 50% stretch along the length of the fabric. There’s lots of bending in golf so stretch is good! I now had everything I needed for my golf wardrobe.

Patterns

I selected four patterns:

Top: Butterick 6494 – close-fitting top with raglan sleeves, front and back princess seams and a small stand collar. The pattern has long sleeves, so I cut them short to make the top suitable for summery weather. (In 2017, I made this top in French terry .)

Shorts: Kwik Sew 4044 – elastic waist capris cut to short length.

Jacket: Kwik Sew 3452 (out of print) – quarter-zip jacket with raglan sleeves, side panels and stand up collar.

Skirt: Pamela’s Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt – elastic waist skirt modified to A-line with side slits and pockets. (I wrote about this pattern in 2019 in this post.)

I was a bit concerned about the sizing of both the top and the jacket. I had made the top before so knew that it fit but wanted to ensure that any pandemic-related spread was covered so cut generous seam allowances along the side seams. For the jacket, I read several reviews that said it was ‘close-fitting’ and even the pattern envelope notes that. The seam allowances for the jacket are just 1/4″ so I doubled those and cut 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere except at the shoulders, neck and hem. As it turned out, I didn’t need the added ease on either piece. Both are generously sized. In fact, I took off all of the excess on the front of the top. It’s easier to take away than add.

The top, jacket and shorts were all cut at the same time. All three of these patterns are easy to sew and a beginner could make them with a bit of understanding of how to sew knits. The neck opening on the top is a bit fussy but not horribly so.

For the jacket and the top, I basted the side seams together to check for fit and then used my serger to stitch the seams. There is a bit of hand sewing on the collars for both of these garments.

The jacket has excellent instructions for adding a zipper. I was a bit concerned about sewing a zipper onto stretch fabric but I needn’t have been. The pink Techno Knit is very stable.  As always, every project has to have one UGH moment and this one involved the zipper. I bought a decorative zipper pull, had difficulty taking off the original pull and broke it off. So I had to unpick the zipper – topstitching and all. Through all of that, the fabric didn’t stretch and I was careful enough that there were no pulls. Like all of my mistakes, this one counts as practice. 🙄😏

The shorts are a super-fast make:  left piece, right piece, elastic. I first traced the pattern onto tracing paper and checked the fit before cutting the fabric. I am still learning about sewing bottoms with legs (i.e., not skirts) and I found that this is a good pattern to play with because there are so few pieces so adjustments to the crotch seams are visually easier to work with. Even with this step the shorts were finished in record time.

The only piece that required design adjustments was the skirt. You don’t usually think of a pencil skirt for golf, however I have sewn this pattern a couple of times and felt confident that it was a great place to start. A note that the bengaline stretched along the length of the fabric. I was careful to layout the pattern so the stretch would be around the width of my body. The fabric print is random so this worked out just fine.

To make the skirt suitable for golf I made a few simple adjustments:

  • Created an A-line shape by adding 3″ on each side seam at the hem, then drew a line tapering out from the hip to the hem.
  • When stitching down the side seam I stopped 4 1/2″ from the lower edge to allow for side slits. The hem is 1 ½” which means the slits open 3”.
  • The seam allowances on the side slits were then turned under and topstitched, and the skirt was hemmed as usual.  
  • Two pockets were added: On the upper right side there is a small 4” square pocket big enough for tees, a ball repair tool and ball marker. On the left side a larger pleated pocket holds at least a couple of golf balls.  

And just like that I have a great new golf outfit 🙂

I wore this outfit to play 18 holes while walking and pushing a cart and this outfit is definitely comfortable. It was coolish when we tee’d off (55F/12C) and by the time we came off the 18th green it was sunny and quite warm (80F/26C). The fabric wasn’t sweaty or uncomfortable, it’s designed to be worn outside when you’re moving around in all kinds of weather.

EARLY morning of golf!

The athletic knit fabrics were much easier to work with than I expected. I am now on the hunt for more patterns for golf clothes. If only it was as easy to improve my golf game as it is to sew the clothes!

P.S. I talk a bit about this project on my YouTube Channel, Janine Sews.

 Tips:

  • If you cut more than one pattern at the same time, use Painter’s tape to mark the pieces so you don’t get them mixed up. I also use Painter’s tape to mark the wrong side of the fabric when necessary.
  • A fresh rotary cutter blade makes for beautiful clean cuts on athletic knits.
  • Use a fresh needle in your machine. I used a ballpoint needle for all parts of the project.
  • If you have a serger, use it! 
  • If you do not have a serger, these fabrics can be sewn with a narrow zig zag (I use a .5mm wide x 1.6mm long stitch)
  • When working with unfamiliar fabrics, test all seams and stitches on scraps before sewing. While it’s possible to pick out stitches on knit fabrics, there is always the risk of causing a pull.

Cashmerette Harrison Shirt

Cashmerette Harrison Shirt

Like many people with curves, I struggle to find button-down shirts that work for my body. If the placket doesn’t gape then it’s a shapeless sack. If it has any shape then the placket gapes.

My last experience with Cashmerette convinced me that I need to take a closer look at their patterns so I decided to give the Harrison shirt a try.

Finally, the answer to your prayers: a fitted button-down shirt that doesn’t gape over curves! The Harrison Shirt is designed with double princess seams for a uniquely curve-friendly fit and all the features of a classic shirt, including a two-piece collar, yoke, and placket, separate button bands, and buttoned cuffs. “

Sewing Bee

I was thrilled to make it to round 3 of the Pattern Review 2021 Sewing Bee and this shirt was my entry. The challenge was to make a garment in a print fabric and have the fabric pattern match across seamlines – to make it look ‘seamless.’ This pattern was not the best choice for this challenge because the double princess seams over the bust are basically impossible to pattern match (or I don’t yet have those skills). Ultimately, I went with this pattern because I wanted this shirt in my wardrobe and I have vowed to only spend time sewing things I will actually wear on a regular basis.

Fabric

The fabric I used is “Cotton Viscose Fabric Cashmere Blue Ivy Gingham’ from JoAnn. Fabric content is 60% cotton/40% viscose. It’s very soft and drapes really nicely. It also stretches just a bit on the cross grain. That wee bit of stretching meant a lot of pin basting, machine basting, hand basting and some Wonder Tape to align the fabric print over seams.

Toile

Before cutting into my fabric I did a quick toile. YES! I DID! I marked the grain lines and everything!

When I entered my measurements into Cashmerette’s website it was suggested that I sew a 14 G/H with a 2″ FBA, 18 waist and 16 hip. For the toile I went the lazy route and cut a straight 18. The thought of an FBA just was so unappealing. After messing around a bit with the toile, I settled on a 16 G/H with slight grading to an 18 for the waist and hip. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have more room over the hips if I’m going to always wear this over jeans or trousers.

Sleeve sizing: The sleeves don’t have a lot of ease below the elbows. My arms are not inordinately large – they are average sized. I would suggest anyone making this measure the sleeve width before cutting the fabric. Next time I use this pattern I will add 1/2″ ease between the elbow and the cuff.

Pattern Matching

Honestly, I don’t have much experience matching patterns. I knew that everyone else in this round of the Sewing Bee would be doing far more complicated projects (one entrant made a lined jacket, lined skirt, blouse and scarf in a WEEK – and it’s perfection) so I decided to focus on doing a very good job of practicing pattern matching on a relatively simple garment instead of trying to compete with those who sew at an advanced level. My goal was to match the main horizontal line around the bodice. There were a total of 11 seams to match around the bodice, then I also worked to have the sleeves match at the same point. The horizontal line I chose was at my waist.

First, I penciled in all of the seam allowances on the pattern pieces so I could fold them back and see where seams would intersect. I used Frixion pens to mark the fabric design. A couple of pieces were impossible to match because there were no markings (the sleeve plackets). There were also no markings on the sleeves so I did not cut those until after the bodice was completely assembled and then I marked the pattern tissue and cut.

One thing I have learned this year is the value of careful pressing and a good ham

I had one piece in the back that I was never able to align properly so it’s totally wacky at the yoke BUT it matches on the horizontal at the middle!

Sewing

Once everything is cut out and interfaced, this is a very straightforward pattern. Things that seemed complicated, like doing the button band, would be easy if it was not for the print.

Many times the pattern match was off by just a few threads.

Only one section was very confusing and that was the two piece sleeve placket. In the end, the pieces went in well and it’s very nice looking but I think the instructions could be a bit clearer (or perhaps more detailed).

The methods to attach the cuffs and button bands are very good. For the button bands, the shirt is hemmed first, then the button band is added. So if your finished hem is not precisely 3/4″, you can make the button band the length you need. The collar goes on next and, again, things fit together really nicely. It probably helped that I was being so careful to matching everything but if that’s what attention gets you then I guess I should be sew without distractions more often!

For the buttons, I used Prym self-covered button kits. I used 1/2″ covered buttons and matched the fabric to the button placket as best I could. Lesson learned: the shank portion has to be aligned perfectly with your fabric print if you want to easily match button to button band. I knew I should have bought more button kits than I needed!

Think I will need to replace that button that will not line up straight!

Conclusion

For the first time since about the year 2000, I have a button down shirt that fits well! I give a lot of credit to the crew at Cashmerette for designing a great pattern.

In looking at the gallery contest entries for the Sewing Bee I know that I won’t be moving forward and that’s okay because I am really excited to put this shirt into rotation in my wardrobe.

Sewing as an activity in my life right now …

In the last couple of months I have had a lot of success with my sewing. It’s a stupid and clichéd understatement to say that this is a ‘stressful time.’ Although I am ‘okay’, there is massive uncertainty and I would be lying if I said that there aren’t worries that keep pushing their way to the front of my mind.

One of my ways of dealing with stress is to be very present and focus on the task at hand. My earliest memory of this coping mechanism is of when I was 6 and I bonked my head very hard on a porcelain water fountain. While I waited in the classroom for a parent to pick me up, I worked on a colouring book. I recall focusing VERY hard on staying within the lines – and that kept me from freaking out over the massive goose egg that was growing on my forehead. These days I am focusing very hard on whatever it is I’m doing. It’s helping me to get through this time until we get the all clear, and also helping my sewing!

Take care.