Monday, January 30, 2017

Momentarily Obsessed

From Fantasy Linen

I came across this picture a week ago and fell in love with these loose linen overalls from Fantasy Linen. They remind me so much of an over-sized loose linen jumper dress I received in a clothing swap during college. They are so similar in construction except that these finish in culottes instead of a full skirt.

Yoko overalls

I went searching for a similar pattern to avoid having to draft one; which to be honest, considering my current sewing queue, would be a long way off. The first one I found was the Yoko convertible overalls by Hana Patterns. However, they are made in two parts and the bib is detachable while I prefer the seamless design of the inspiration piece.

Rachel overall

Another possibility is the Schnittchen Rachel overall which has the voluminous pant legs but it would require creating a bib, eliminating that center button placket, and creating an opening on the side.

I then thought a better source of something similar but with a looser fit might be a 1980-90s maternity overall pattern. Remember those? That was a time when women looked like over-sized toddlers in huge figure-hiding rompers with their ankles and wrists usually ending in gathered cuffs. Basically the traditional clown costume (see last image). While there were the 80s horrors we remember, there were some more wearable variations, such as the two below.

McCall's 8164
McCall's 7551

In the very first page of search results, I found McCall's 8164 from 1996 and it's incredibly close! Lengthening the bib straps and enlarging the width of those pant legs below the hips might be all that needs to be done. Even closer is McCall's 7551, which definitely has the correct legs, I would just need to drop the crotch an inch or so, like in the inspiration garment. This one could be a real contender.

Traditional patterns for or dungarees are on trend right now so those types are easy to find. Most are designed to be much more figure-hugging than what I want but I found Kwik Sew 3897 to be a bit looser at the waist and hips. It has a two-piece front but that seam line could be easily eliminated. The sides are constructed traditionally with buttoned placket openings that match the construction of my fave jumper.

Hyssop culottes

I also decided to check Japanese sewing patterns but knew that would be hard considering I can't read the language and wouldn't know how to describe what I wanted. Then I came across and discovered that what I was looking for may be called a salopette. After using that as a search term I found the Hyssop culottes from Tamanegi-Kobo, which has perfect legs but again would need a different bib.

If you see anything else out there that would work in replicating the Fantasy Linen overall, please let me know!

Oh and because I just had to pass this along, here is possibly one of the most misguided maternity patterns I came across. I love how they tried to make it all "disco fabulous" with the cherry red blusher and the wet-look lip gloss, but I just don't think it succeeded.

Butterick 4820

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore, We Will Miss You

Mary Tyler Moore
(1936 - 2017)

Mary Tyler Moore

Here are links to blog posts I wrote on how she (or more truthfully, her characters) influenced me in fashion and in home decor:

Fashion in Film: Want To Dress Like Laura Petrie?

Fashion in Film: Laura Petrie - The Dresses!

SHELTER Sets: "You're Gonna Make It After All..."

Not only that, the woman known to "turn the world on with her smile", accomplished an amazing F-U to Hollywood's love of typecasting when she starred as the ultimate cold and with-holding mother, Beth Jarrett, in one of my favorite films, 1980s Ordinary People.

She was amazing and will be missed. My condolences go out to her family and loved ones.

Images: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Friday, January 20, 2017

Oh Hi, 2017, Come On In

Okay, I wasn't going to write about the New year transition. I personally had a bad year and just couldn't wait to see the back of 2016 (I know I'm not the only one!) However, I feel I have to acknowledge the end of one year to truly appreciate the beginning of another.

Since May, I've been in a holding pattern professionally and an apathetic funk emotionally. Physically, I swear I can feel each sign of age and deterioration going on in my body.

Good news is that before the holidays I finally sought help and am slowly pulling myself together. My biggest hurtle right now is not focusing on the decisions that have brought me here. Hindsight has revealed them not to be the best but they were the decisions I made with "the information I had at the time".

One thing that helps me immensely is my love of sewing. Unless, of course I am paralyzing myself with indecision and procrastination for fear of making a mistake. Which, by the way, seems to be the old strategy for running my life that did not work. So I need to change that in order to get back on track. Some of my best and worst experiences, jobs, and relationships seemed to just "happen" without any direct action from me. I have made the mistake of letting my day-to-day life and its circumstances lead me to and fro instead of actively leading the way.

I have some goals for the new year but I'm not making any resolutions. In fact, some of my goals are so basic as to be laughable but when you have been brought low, those are some of the hardest to accomplish. Goals like getting appropriate sleep (I have a bad habit of actually going to bed in the early hours of the next day), eating healthy, and caring about my appearance (I kept putting off fixing a cracked tooth, I don't know when was my last professional haircut, and sometimes I let my gray roots get ridiculous.)

I need to put myself back together again and hopefully you will see signs of the progress here on the blog, whether my sewing output increases or my posts start to reflect more interests and experiences outside of sewing. I'm looking forward to learning a new way of thinking (and reacting) after all these years of my dreams feeling out of reach.

I guess I could say that my overall theme for 2017 is To Be Better.

P.S. One of my smaller goals might involve participating in my first PR weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cosy Knit Cardigan - McCall's 7254

Pattern: McCall's 7254 (2015)

Pattern Description: Unlined close-fitting cardigan with self-lined fronts extending into collar and back peplum.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes Y (XS-M) and Z (L-XL) Because of my measurements I assumed I would need to use a combination, M for the bust and L for waist and hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, very much. I was extremely pleased with the accuracy of the pattern images.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, this a very straightforward pattern. A beginner could easily produce a well made garment.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was really interested in the fact that this cozy design could also stand in for a casual blazer.

Fabric Used: Navy cotton interlock from Hancock Fabrics liquidation sale ($2.60 per yard, orig. $12.99), Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Navy #272, Pellon EK130 Easy-Knit fusible tricot interfacing, vintage* Wright's Trims non-shrink seam binding in Navy #55.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I debated on which pattern combination to buy and during a $1 pattern sale I went ahead and bought both size groups. The idea was to use the upper bodice pieces from the size M and blend them with the size L pieces for the peplum.

First, I pencil traced the size M onto the larger size pattern in case I would need to taper from one size to another. Noticeably, the sleeve patterns for the two size groups are completely different in cap height and armscye curves so I could only choose which sleeve works best after I selected the correct bodice. Therefore, I only cut out the pattern pieces in the Large size. Then from the fabric I cut the bodice pieces and stitched them together to see if I would even need to use the smaller size pieces.

Liking the fit, I chose to cut size Large for everything but I did shave a bit from the bodice armscye; cutting halfway between the M and L sizes, because the shoulders seemed a bit wide.

I interfaced the collar facing and loved how the interlock was transformed, it achieved a sleekness and body. The only issue was when I was basting the facings to the collar at the raw edges, unless I slowly smoothed out the unfaced side the edges stretched or contracted and would not match.

All the seams in this pattern are finished with two rows of stitching 1/4" apart, trimmed close, and the seam allowances are pressed to one side using steam and a pressing block. For a non-fraying knit this makes for a great finish to the project.

Before the final trim and pressing.
This cardigan can be fastened to more resemble a jacket but I think I will leave it this way. I am very happy with how it turned out.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! I love the feel of this cardigan, especially the interfaced foldover collar/peplum. I actually find myself petting it. The only way it could be better is if I had block fused the back bodice piece with the same knit interfacing.

Check out that smooth peplum.

I love this cardigan. I will probably make this again but I will shorten the main bodice length by two inches. I would like the back peplum seam to hit right above my derriere instead of getting hung up on it.

There are similar designs to this pattern out there in the indie world like the Mouse House Creation Julia and the Style Arc Fiona cardigans, but I chose this one because I am more familiar with Big 4 pattern instructions and these McCall's patterns only cost me $2!!

Julia and Fiona

Note the strong resemblance to the Fiona.
* Thanks, Allie J!