Monday, January 15, 2018

Wearing History's 1934 Long Coat

I recently purchased the 1934 coat pattern from Wearing History to make myself a long, warm, winter coat. It only comes in one size. Fortunately, it was the right one for me.

I am allergic to wool, but located some polyester faux Melton at Vogue Fabrics. I chose faux fur for the collar and flannel back satin for the lining. After cutting out the pattern pieces, I did my usual pattern alterations- FBA, lengthened the back waist, and shortened the hem length by 3" .

The directions were brief but accurate, and the diagrams exceeded any I have seen in a Big 4 pattern in both quality and information. The pieces went together really easily. Everything lined up beautifully, and it fit me perfectly without additional alterations.


 I dislike working with fur because of the mess it makes, but I really wanted a fur collar.

The faux Melton was so thick I skipped the bound buttonhole and let my sewing machine make one for me, then made a covered button of black velveteen.

I personalized the pattern by making a few changes:

-Pockets. I lined them, and instead of attaching them as patch pockets, I inserted them into the seams on either side. They fit perfectly and enhance the sleek lines of the coat.

-Inner pocket. I added an inner pocket on the lining for my cell phone.

-I skipped the cuffs.

-I pinned very carefully and inserted the lining by machine instead of by hand.

I tested my new coat on Christmas Eve and on subsequent sub zero degree days. It is very warm, and I feel elegant wearing it. It is incredibly comfortable. This pattern gets a two thumbs up- I highly recommend it. I am hoping to make a double breasted, belted rain/trench coat from this pattern in the Spring.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The 20 year Quilt

This winter we remodeled our kitchen. For years a simple seed packet quilt, now old and faded, hung on one wall. 

It would be nice to have a new wall quilt for the new kitchen, but where to start? Digging through a bin of UFO’s I found the answer.

Twenty years ago I made the background for a pictorial appliqué wall quilt. I pieced the sky and grass, appliquéd a white picket fence, and added a black and white checked border. 

I don’t remember where I intended to go from there, except that it included sunflowers. There is no doubt the quilt I just completed is very different than the one I started.

There is a peacock, representing the flock we once had.

An orange cat, in memory of my favorite.

I have always loved dimensional fabric flowers, so they were a must.

I added bees, flowers, and watermelon, as beekeeping and gardening are big parts of out life. I created machine embroidered appliqué pieces for many of these, something I could not have done 20 years ago.

I used a variety of hand and machine sewing, appliqué and embroidery techniques, and quilted it using the hand look quilting stitch on my trusty old Bernina. It really does brighten up the room.

Monday, April 17, 2017


I have always loved Jackets. When McCalls sponsored a Bomber Jacket Sew Along last fall, I decided it might be fun to sew along and try out their patterns using materials from my stash. 

First I made a sample jacket from Butterick 6181. I added black piping around the sleeve seams, stripes on the bands for interest, and a lining. It was easy to make and turned out well, but I did not care for the shape. 

I was afraid  McCalls 7100 would fit too much like a sweatshirt, but gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised. I loved the fit. I used brown faux leather for the front and back, and a very soft, lightweight brown denim for the sides and arms. 

I embellished the front with the Painted Roses design, #4079, from Urban Threads. The jacket pattern has no lining, but as I love lined jackets I added one in a blue and brown stripe.

I liked the fit and style of this jacket so much I made a second one. This time I used a soft black faux leather for the body, and a heavy wool-like polyester for the sleeves and sides and I lined it with black brocade. Cuffs, collars, and zippers were purchased from WAWAK. This jacket is very warm. I embroidered Urban Threads #1454 Koi and Lilies on the back, and one single lily on the front.

I added a cell-phone-sized welt pocket to the front of the lining and embellished it with a tiny dragon applique created using Urban Threads #13803, Passport to China-Dragon.

The challenge is long over, but I wanted to make a spring jacket. I spent a lot of time distressing and fatiguing my army green cotton duck yardage to soften it and give it some character. I used the washer, dryer, and clothesline, along with a variety of laundry products for this. Butterick 5927, view D was my starting point. This basic double breasted pattern is very simple and lends itself to achieving the military look I was after. 

I made the sleeves the focal point of the jacket. I carefully combined the upper sleeve of B5927 and the lower sleeve of V1036, eliminating the bell shape at the bottom. I love the seaming detail on the Vogue sleeve. 

I embroidered Urban Threads #6403 Elven Court Knot Cascade as a monocolor design on the top half of the sleeve prior to assembly. I also added plackets to the shoulders using a shortened version of the back placket pattern. The jacket has a dark green peach skin lining and military style buttons. It is extremely comfortable to wear. 

Jacket season is almost over until fall- or is it? If I have time in the busyness of summer, I just might make myself a sheer bomber jacket.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Game of Thrones Inspired Messenger Style Bag

I love the costumes from Game of Thrones, embellished elaborately with detailed hand embroidery, 3D embroidery and bead work. Michelle Carragher is a true artist. I have arthritis, so I do most of my embroidery by machine these days. The good news is that you don't always need an embroidery machine for this. You can do a lot with the basic and embroidery stitches on regular sewing machines, as I have here. I made my version of Cersei Lannister's red dress a while back. This time I decided to try something different. I love this dress worn by Sansa Stark, especially the neckline.  I thought something similar might look good on a bag.

I started by creating embroidered fabric, using the straight and leaf stitches on my Bernina and several different thread colors.  This took several hours, as the fabric is thick and dense, and some of the stitches just sank in to the nap. I embellished the pieces for the sides and the flap in this manner.

 The bag construction was fairly easy. I added a zippered pocket and an open, divided pocket to the lining as well as a cellphone pocket and magnetic snap under the flap.

 Once I had constructed the bag and inserted the lining, I added rolled roses, rosebuds, and leaves to the flap.

 I learned to make rolled roses years ago from the works of  Elly Sienkiewicz, who has written many books on Baltimore Album Quilts and dimensional applique. My roses were made using two different fabrics, both to reduce bulk(the bag fabric is very heavy) and to create depth. 

I made raw edged leaves by sewing two velvety leaf pieces together, right sides facing outwards. Stitched leaf veins add texture.

I am pleased with the finished bag. It is big enough to hold my stuff and my iPad if necessary, and small enough for a person (like me) who prefers small purses.