Riff on a wrap

My most recent wrap dress was pretty traditional- but my second wrap project has some cool and new elements:  notably the d- ring closure and the super straight silhouette.  This is the Utu skirt from Named pattern’s Breaking the Pattern. I have been steadily working my way through this gem of a book.

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Wrap skirts - maybe even more than the wrap dress- are a crowd-pleasing wardrobe element. I have owned several- and they were also the run-away FAVORITE beginner sewing project when I was a student. When I went to middle school, female students were REQUIRED to take a sewing class and many chose to make a wrap skirt-remember: no zips and no buttons- but none were as cool and stylish as the Utu.

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I love the look of this quick and easy to make skirt. Be forewarned- you will need to curb your gymnastic moves as there isn’t a lot of fabric overlap on this wrap.  This skirt looks fabulous when standing at attention- or practicing your mountain pose (Namaste), but pay attention when bending or leaping.

I used Robert Kaufman Jetsetter twill- which has a little stretch and great recovery- from Fabric.com

The skirt is high waisted which is adorable on the pattern model- but I am long waisted- and short on the leg front.  So I modified the waistline by adjusting the darts. 

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I had this blue and white stripe in my stash- of unknown origins and unknown – or long forgotten -fiber content. One thing is clear- it is not cotton and it is fairly stiff. The fabric properties didn’t exactly match my idea for the top- but the color was a perfect match for this blue skirt- so I improvised…the sleeves may need modification.

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Wearing the pants: True Bias Lander

Wearing the fabulous Lander pants- finally!  You might be thinking I am rather late to make the infamous, celebrated, honored, and lauded Lander pant by True Bias- and you would be correct.

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The thing is, I am a bit biased to making dresses. I absolutely love making and wearing dresses.  And, truth be told, I don’t know if I ever had a pair of pants ready made or otherwise that were truly comfortable, flattering and well-fitting.  But that was before I made the Lander pants.

And here’s a bit of a dress-making back-story.  I grew up in a small town and I wore a uniform –a simple plain blue pinafore- to primary school every day.  Besides a few play outfits, I didn’t have many other clothes.  I dreamed of owning and wearing a closet full of dresses. Because there weren’t many ready-made dress choices in my little town and funding was an issue, I figured the best way to accomplish my dream was to learn to make dresses for myself.  So, I begged my Mom to teach me to sew.  She put me off until -left to my own devices at my grandma’s with a swath of fabric, scissors, and access to her ancient sewing machine one lazy Sunday- I made myself a dress.  When my Mom came to pick me up and I was decked out and proud in my completely self-drafted cobbled together hand-made dress- she finally agreed to teach me to sew.  And my dressmaking odyssey began.

So- back to these Landers. These pants might rival some of my favorite dresses and convert me to a lover of pants.  They are comfortable and the pattern is so flattering.  And they are pretty close to a perfect fit.   I did not make a muslin and I would only add a few fitting tweaks to the next pair.  These are probably my best fitting pants right now.

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The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are clear and straightforward.  This pattern is definitely deserving of the praise and legions of followers.

Amazingly- I discovered the Lander sizing is very close to my measurements.  Extra bonus- this pattern is drafted for a 5’5” individual- just an inch taller than me.  And although a muslin is recommended- I felt so encouraged and emboldened by these similarities- I simply cut a size 6 and went for it.

I used the Lander fly zipper expansion- I like the clean look and don’t want to fiddle with buttons on the fly.  The zipper pattern and instructions were clear and easy to follow. I also eliminated the pockets- because I may be one of the few people out there who is ok without garment pockets and I am always looking to reduce midsection bulk- both front and back.

The Jetsetter Twill I purchased from Lakes Makerie turns out to be the pant fabric of my dreams.  This is such an awesome color and a perfect weight and smooth twill face.  The fabric has stretch-love that in pants- with great recovery- no bagging out.

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The shirt is a mash-up: self-drafted somewhat including bits and pieces of various patterns.  It is not super successful so it doesn’t deserve a discussion except to note that the fabric is the best, lightest weight, silky cotton lawn- purchased from Mood Fabrics.. 

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Feminine, flattering and French- Majestic Aime Comme Marie

Here I am dabbling in French style in the flattering and feminine Majestic from French pattern maker: Aime Comme Marie.  I am always on the lookout for a pretty and versatile top pattern, and I was inspired by the lovely Bee Made’s fabulous creations sewn from predominantly indie French pattern makers.  The only hindrance to ordering French patterns- and cultivating French style- when you live in the middle of the United States is the international shipping cost- ouch.

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The Aime Comme Marie website indicates the printed pattern includes English instructions- but when the pattern arrived, I discovered that the English directions were very brief and a wee bit rough.  Thankfully, the line drawings included with the French instructions need no translation. I also found the top to be well drafted and it was straightforward to put together.

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One other caution- I was a little disappointed that there was no mention that the pattern did not include seam allowances. The instructions didn’t discuss this- and even though it was somewhat evident from the pattern pieces- I did an internet check to confirm.  I know it isn’t a huge deal, and I get the flexibility - but adding seam allowances makes me a bit grouchy.

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These are minor grumbles compared to the pay off for this pattern.  I am more than pleased with this flattering and stylish top.  Note the cute little scallop cut out at the hem. There are similar scallop cut out details at each sleeve hem. The fit of this pattern is fabulous for me.  I cut an extra small and graded to a small at the hip. 

The fabric is a delightful mid-weight Japanese cotton from Lakes Makerie- which perfect for this structured top. This fabric washes beautifully and -even though it’s cotton- it is wrinkle resistant. An excellent match for this stylish pattern.

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Style Arc Tully for the carry-on

Whenever we take a trip, I almost always sew something new.  Travel typically means a different climate and always means non-work wear clothes. So, I consistently seem to need something to fill a gap in my existing wardrobe.  That said, and as much as I have a closet full of clothes- I am truly a light packer.  For trips that last 5 days or less, I often just take a regular backpack.  For trips up to 10 days, I use my larger 55 liter backpack.  When we return home from an overseas trip- customs agents almost always ask me where my luggage is.  Ha! 

We recently had a very spontaneous opportunity to take a quick warm weather break.  I wanted/needed some light linen pants that would do double or even triple duty and be great for the beach and for sight-seeing and would provide winter white leg coverage and sun protection.  Important!

I had two days to get this done, I used the Style Arc Tully pattern that I owned – having made these up previously for my daughter.  I wanted simple elastic pants, and I appreciate the flat front and paper-bag waist features of the Tully. 

I found the perfect blue linen fabric from my local and fabulous fabric store: Treadle Yard Goods.

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Nicely pressed pants pictured above in my dining room and below while on delightfully warm holiday, all rumpled and beach ready.

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And yet another shot back home on the porch. Note, I modified the Tully because I wanted a loose wide leg.  This was simple to draft from the Tully. I simply drew a wider leg- following the grain line marking on the pattern- see second shot below. 

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And, in conclusion, a short story about the face hiding handmade hat. This hat is self-drafted- I copied an REI brand hat that I have had forever with a perfect not too big, not too small, just right brim.  I used buckram inside the brim – but next time, I will use another layer -or find something even sturdier- for more stiffness.  All the better to see!

 

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One more black coat

It may be March, but it is still winter in Minnesota, and today there is a winter storm warning for possibly 10 inches of snow! Our overcoat season is interminable, and I decided to make a new coat this year to help endure it. The upside to our long winters is plenty of time to finish a coat project.

My entire family gives me grief about my –ahem- large collection of black coats. And I admit, I may be rather stuck on black when it comes to winter outerwear. So no one was surprised when I chose an excellent black wool from emma one sock. It is no longer available- but if you are more broad minded about color, there are several options here.

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My plan was to use this snappy vintage vogue pattern that I previously made into a spring coat:

But, here is where the story gets even darker- when the coat was nearly done, and I was trying it on for finishing, I discovered the fit was off.  The fabric is lovely and dense but not at all bulky- this affected the drape and silhouette. 

I didn’t want to chuck the project- coating fabric is an investment. (Although, I did have to set this aside for a cooling off period.) After that, I committed to a do over. I think one key to sewing success is willingness to take a project apart and start all over again (read- seam ripping). Committing to a remake has a lot to do with ending up with clothes I want to wear. 

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So- I ripped out the side seams and removed the sleeves and the back body piece from the back yoke.  I kept the collar and front intact.  Then, I narrowed the shoulders and recut the back eliminating some of the fullness and reattached the back to the back yoke. Finally, I reset the sleeves.  The sleeves are not as flawless as the first endeavor, because of the fiddling. 

Even so, I am happy with the overall silhouette and fit now.  I really appreciate the two piece sleeves- they are comfortable and provide great ease of movement.  I also love the easy, subtle and deep pockets- and the spiffy collar. Yes -that is a snap used for the top closure- called for in the pattern!

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Taking a peek at the lining. It is not black!

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Tried to get an outdoor photo between snowfalls- but the snow flakes kept swirling!

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