Well, my mom saw the post about the shawl and hesitatingly mentioned to me that perhaps something warm would be a better option for Tomoko, as she often feels cold due to her illness. My mistake --- I should have thought about it from a more practical perspective. I thought it would be nice to make something bright and "fancy", but I'll have to rethink this. The current shawl on my needles is a thin rayon in a lace pattern and is definitely more flash than warmth. Any thoughts are welcome.
It has been a while since I sewed anything non-Burda --- but I found this cute and easy Butterick pattern (#B4132) that I thought would be the perfect style to whittle down my stash of silk charmeuse remnants.
The top only has three pieces and no closures are required. The one caution is that the front and backs are cut on the bias, so I needed more fabric than I thought (probably would have been good to read the back of the envelope first). I made a test version using a silky from Joann's after first comparing the pattern pieces to the custom moulage and sloper that I made in my french pattern drafting class. It was pretty cool to take my plastic templates and lay them down on the pattern pieces to check the basics, such as length to waist, armhole length, width, etc. There were a couple of things I could have altered, specifically armhole length and width, but I decided to just test the pattern as-is and see where the alterations should be.
Here is the test top on my dress form. My form is a bit fuller in the bust than I am, so the top fits me a bit looser. Interestingly, the alterations needed are the ones I identified after comparing my moulage to the pattern! I need to raise the armholes by about 0.5 inches and decrease the width about 0.5 inches. Other than those fixes the top fit well. I like the drape of the cowl and the full facing for the neckline and armholes. It is a good basic top!
My latest knitting project is a lacy shawl for my mom's friend Tomoko. She is an amazing woman who knows a few things about sewing and knitting --- apparently she was quite the dressmaker and patternmaker in her time! She has been very kind and encouraging of my crafts, giving me a wonderful mid-century Vogue fashion book and a crochet piece with a unique stitch design --- all for inspiration. She has been fighting cancer for quite a while and is still doing well, for which we are thankful.
I've been wanting to make something for her, and decided that a shawl using a snazzy and sparkly yarn would be both practical and stylish. The yarn is a rayon/metallic from Blue Heron Yarns. I love the gold flecks that catch the light and the multiple colors that range from raspberry to purple.
The pattern is from a Japanese book. The designs are challenging, but that's part of the fun!
Our last-minute trip up to the Mendocino Coast was fabulous --- we had a great time! Mendocino is about 3 to 5 hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area --- the drive time differs depending on the route. We decided to take the faster Wine Country route through Sonoma and the gorgeous vine-covered hills rather than the longer coastal route.
Winery along the way...
Passing through an amazing redwood forest that winds along the Navarro River. The sunlight filtering through the trees was stunning. Sorry about the photo quality --- our windshield needed a wash.
We stayed at a wonderful B&B called Glendeven Inn, which is just a couple of miles south of Mendocino along the coast. In addition to the great accommodations and service, they have llamas roaming the property, hungry chickens and a very cute resident cat. We will definitely stay here again.
Up close and personal with a llama. Apparently llamas give each other "nose-to-nose" kisses when they meet, and I was privileged to get one! You have to approach them slowly, refrain from trying to touch them, and just lean forward. If they want, they will come up to you.
Mendocino is a quirky little town that is situated on an incredibly picturesque spot along the California coast. There are excellent (and expensive) restaurants, beautiful handcrafted art and a bohemian/alternative vibe. No Starbucks here. We enjoyed dinner at the Mendocino Cafe (eclectic mix --- was a bit surprised to see a brazilian fish stew on the same menu as a Thai curry, but it worked!) and the Moosse Cafe (fresh fresh fresh). Cookies from a tiny bakery on the street behind Main St. are a must --- the chocolate mocha shortbreads are to die for. And a visit would not be complete without a saunter into Moody's Organic Coffee Bar, where you'll get good espresso and a bit of local color.
I couldn't resist a stop into the Mendocino Yarn Shop. Great store and even better customer service. This was probably one of the most pleasant yarn-shopping experiences I have had. Everyone there was so courteous and helpful --- definitely want to go back, and wish it was my LYS! And look at that building --- classic coastal.
Mendocino Headlands State Park, which is right near the downtown shops.
...and at sunset. That couple in the photo is so brave to be out there in the cold --- we just stayed in the car!
We also drove up to the Cabrillo Lighthouse and then up to Fort Bragg, which on a map looks like "the big town", but in reality seemed kind of small. We had a great dinner at Mendo Bistro and enjoyed some tasty jerky at Roundman's Smokehouse (love their tagline --- "we'll smoke anything!").
Thank you for your kind comments regarding the Silk Wrap Coat --- I'm really pleased with it and looking forward to wearing it!
Just a couple of extra notes:
I was able to pad-stitch the sew-in interfacing because I underlined the coat with silk organza. I hand-basted the organza to every piece and treated it as "one". As I pad-stitched, I was able to catch the organza and not the silk. I have no idea if it is "appropriate" to use this kind of interfacing with silk, but I used it and I liked the end result!
The best welt pocket technique I've learned was taught in a tailoring class. Here are some notes on the technique:
1. Interface the wrong side of the welt. Fold in half and stitch the ends, keeping right sides together. Trim seams. Turn and press. Baste raw edges together with a 0.25 inch seam allowance. Edge-stitch the top of the welt if desired.
2. Measure the length of the welt along the raw edge. On the jacket front, mark the placement of the pocket (2 parallel lines, 0.5 inches apart, with the bottom line longer than the top by 0.25 inches on both ends). The length of the welt should equal the length of the bottom (longer) line. Stitch to reinforce both lines.
3. On the correct side of the jacket, pin welt so the basted edge matches the bottom (longer) reinforced line. The top of the welt should be facing down toward the hem; the raw edge should be facing up toward the top (shorter) reinforced line. Be careful to match the stitch lines and hand baste.
4. Turn to the wrong side and stitch along the bottom (longer) reinforced line. Trim excess seam allowance from welt, if needed.
5. Cut out pocket sack, fold and press in half. On the correct side of the jacket, center the sack on top of the welt and pin in place.
6. On the wrong side, stitch along both the bottom and top reinforced lines through all layers.
7. On the correct side, cut the sack between the two stitched lines all the way across. Then, cut through the jacket in between the two stitched lines so the cut line is parallel to them. However, stop short about 0.5 inches from both ends and make diagonal cuts to each end of the stitched lines. This will create triangles at both ends. It is very important to be accurate with these cuts.
8. Pull the sack through the slit and push the triangles to the front. Press.
9. Stitch the triangles down onto the sack to secure using a back and forth stitch. When the welt is sewn down, the triangles will not show.
10. Stitch around the sack and trim. Stitch down each side of the welt to secure.
At long last, the Silk Wrap Coat is completed! It is lightweight and very luxurious --- must be that silk dupioni and silk/cotton batiste lining. I love the light blue color and the beautiful sheen of the silk. And of course the buttons really pop --- I'm really glad I was able to get that one missing button to complete this coat.
I love skirts. They are feminine, easy to wear and flattering. They can take on a myriad of shapes, from straight pencil to full circle. They can evoke a certain mood --- playful mini, serious knee-length, elegant ankle-grazing.
This video from the NY Times this weekend showcased some saucy skirts --- fitted through the hips and flared below --- which I think is really flattering on most women --- it's a classic shape.
While this wasn't a skirt, one of the more interesting looks was a coat by Azzedine Alaia, which created the saucy shape by inserting tube-shaped inserts (rather than triangular godets) to create the effect.
I managed to sneak away from work-related activities during my trip to NY this past week to visit M&J Trimming. I love this place. I first heard about it on Project Runway (may have been season 1?) and it is the best place for buttons, braids, ribbons, rhinestones, etc.
Last year, I found a button that I fell in love with, so I bought a handful of them for a yet-to-be-determined project. The perfect project materialized --- the Silk Wrap Coat --- but I realized that I only had 5 perfect buttons for the perfect project! I considered another type of button, and posted a query here, but it seemed that the alternate was not as popular.
Luckily, I had a trip to NY planned that was long enough for me to find some extra time to visit M&J. I also found a pretty reddish pink button that I couldn't resist.
In addition to the buttons, I found this great hand-dyed silk ribbon. It comes in a wide range of color combinations (think Koigu) and widths. It is fabulous --- I may use it to trim a navy blue sweater that I'm working on --- weave it along the neckline and tie it into a bow on the side.
The weather in NY was fantastic on the day I went out, so I was able to walk around for many blocks. I had to drop by La Maison du Chocolat, a wonderful chocolate store that has amazing treats. The cocoa powder makes the best brownies! I also stopped into Minamoto Kitchoan, a Japanese confection store that has treats too beautiful to eat.
Well, Woolanthropy hosted an amazing prom --- Enchanted Evening --- tonight here in the blog world. It has been so fun to see the photos and enjoy the stories that were shared from prom nights across decades. The photos from the 80s (when I was in high school) were a total trip for me. I guess there's something about that time in life that evokes fond memories and good feelings --- despite all of the bad hair! Thank you for hosting the event!
The Silk Wrap Coat is in need of some buttons. I'm kind of a button hound, so after looking through my stash, I came up with two types that may work for this coat. I'm not sure if this is funny or not, but I only have 5 of each (the coat needs 6), so with either choice, I have to go out and buy one more button.
Here's the first choice, which is a cool button with three shades of blue, all pearlized, and a silver dot at the top. I fell in love with these buttons when I saw them at M & J Trimming in New York last winter. I'm actually going to be in New York next week, so I may pick up a few more.
The second choice is a standard pearl button that works well with the luster of the silk dupioni. I think I bought them at Joann's --- they are a nice and classic option.
I think either one will work well, but if there are any opinions out there, I would love to read them!
My Silk Wrap Coat is progressing well. After making the bound buttonholes, I made welt pockets, sewed the front, side and back seams and added the raglan sleeves. The fit is good --- more of a close fit for a coat, as I will wear it with lighter garments underneath. I'm at the point where I need to put in the collar, so I'm happy with the progress. I wanted to take more photos of the process, but I was working on it at night after work, so the lighting wasn't the best for photos. The silk dupioni fabric is really stunning in natural light --- just doesn't look as good without it.
I also finished the Portrait Collar Tank, which turned out very nicely. Here's a close-up of the collar. I really like the color and the way the daisy stitch pattern pops. I'll have more photos once I have a chance to model it --- looks like rain here today, so it may be a "stay in and sew" day!
I am a science/medical communicator who loves fashion and making beautiful clothes. I love tailoring jackets and coats; learning new sewing techniques; and wrestling with the mysteries of achieving a perfect fit. I live with a very supportive husband who has acquired an alarmingly large volume of knowledge about sewing, and a confident cat named Simon who insists on luxuriating on freshly washed and pre-shrunk yardage. I also design patterns for hand-knitters -- to see some of my work, check out www.jeankaori.com/blog. Thanks for visiting!