Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My New Cardigan Love: Paro Cardigan From Itch-To-Stitch Designs

January can be a cold and bleak time for many. The rush of holiday activities is over, yet the weather is still deary and frigid. By this time, I'm pretty much tired of people and just want to snuggle up in a warm sweater with a hot beverage. 

Paro Cardigan, new TODAY from Itch to Stitch ticks all my "warm sweater" boxes.

Long, but with a defined waist

Front and back feminine pleats

Roomy enough to wear over blouses and tee shirts

 Optional front closure where you can show off those over-sized buttons in your stash

Paro Cardigan is the same precise pattern you expect to see from Itch To Stitch Designs. Every notch matches and the step-by-step instructions are simple to follow. There are Lengthen & Shorten lines on all the major pattern pieces making it really easy to customize the proportions to your own figure. I removed just a couple inches from the sleeve and bottom pieces, plus a small swayback wedge, to adjust for my super short stature.

In fact, here's an example of a detail I only appreciated when I went to cut my plaid version. (yes, I have a plaid version!) The grain line on the front top and bottom line up with the edge of the first pleat...and each other

This means I can line up my print perfectly on the top and bottom pieces.

don't look at the hem. don't look at the hem.

Despite the complex look of the finished cardigan, Paro Cardigan comes together, from print to finish, in about 4 or 5 hours. During the week-long test, I assembled a muslin version without hems/button hole; I completed the rust sweater version seen throughout my post; I completed a plaid version using a rib knit and black ponte (not yet photographed due to weather); Plus, I made one using black crushed panne velvet that just needs the hems stitched. 

I know I spend a great deal of time sewing, but I promise that the Paro Cardigan really does come together that fast! Of course, if you are like me and you decide to deviate from standard button holes and machine hems, it will take longer. I know I talk about my button hole issue a lot, nearly as much as I express a preference for hand stitching hems, so isn't it fortunate that I can discuss both of them here?! 


The beautiful wood button I found at Joann's was absolutely perfect for the rust colored ombre sweater knit I used for my first finished version. At 2 inches in diameter, it was too big for any buttonholer I have, and as you can see, my attempt at making a large "manual" button hole was less than successful.

Naturally, that led me to ask myself, "Could I do [my favorite] Spanish Snap buttonholes in knit fabric?" The answer is YES, a thousand times yes! 

The process I used is the same as the Spanish Snap buttonholes on my Fari Coat. For the sweater knit version, I interfaced the part of the band where the hole would go and used a scrap of lining weight silk as the hole facings for both the front and back. On the black ponte band, I used black fusible woven interfacing for the 1.5 inch hole. Both were very successful and there is no bulk!

I finished up all the hems and cuffs with a neat little catch stitch. It's totally invisible from the front side and retains all the stretch of the fabric.

The pattern is written to use low-stretch medium weight fabrics like ponte. Equally important, I feel, is the recovery and drape of the fabric. If you have a sweater knit without good recovery, you will have a slouchy, possibly frumpy outcome. If your fabric has more body than drape, your pleats will stand out stiffly. These aren't necessarily bad things, but you'll want to keep them in mind to be sure you achieve the look you are after. In all cases, I would recommend avoiding fabrics that have vertical stretch. That will only cause droopiness. The variety of finished looks created by the other testers is always amazing to me. You can check them all out and see how different fabrics look in the launch blog post here.

Paro Cardigan is available now over in the Itch-To-Stitch pattern shop. Normally $10, you can grab your copy today for 20% off! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Stashbusting Tallies and 2017 Stashbusting Goals

It's the time of year to review how well I did on my 2016 stash busting goals and set some new sights for the upcoming year.

2016 Review

Well, this is pretty easy. I didn't write down my 2016 goals anywhere that I can find. They are probably buried in the Stashbusting Group Feed. I searched a bit, but couldn't find anything concrete. I know, at the very least, I wanted to end up with less stash than I started.

I toyed with using Evernote to track totals in January, but it was a failure. The pictures are nice and all, but tracking numbers was impossible. In February, I added everything to Excel and I love it. A new page for every month with automatic totals at the bottom. Worked perfectly for me. I uploaded a blanked out copy to the Stashbusing Group's Files HERE if you think it might work for you too.

What The Numbers Say

The numbers say I did not achieve my goal. I grew my stash by 11.36 yards in 2016.

Yards at the start of 2016: 294.02 
Yards Acquired in 2016: 119.04
Yards Sewed in 2016: 112.54
Yards at the end of 2016: 305.38

There is an error of 4.86 yards. That comes from some found yardage that didn't get counted originally. 

2017 Goals

2017 is my 3rd year with the Facebook Stashbusting Group. I learned during the first two years that over-specific and restrictive goals do not work for me. It's like a challenge to my inner rebel. This year, I'm going to try a different approach.

Here's the thing. I LIKE having a stash! I think it's a good thing. I don't always have the funds to run out and buy for my next project. Sometimes I want to participate in pattern tests, and it's important to have something on hand. Gazing at my fabric is inspiring, motivating and calming for me. I don't want to eliminate my stash. I want to curate it! My first goal is to refine and upscale my stash by using the poor quality fabric I have for muslins and making selective purchases that fit my love of high end fibers. Linen, wool, silk, quality rayons and non-pilling polyesters.

As my stash is now at 305 yards, it's a little too big for the space I have. I think trimming it down to about 200 yards would be just right. It's unrealistic to think that I will buy nothing and sew 100 stash yards in 2017. My second goal will be to reduce my stash by an over-all 50 yards by December 31st 2017.

I have many beautiful pieces in my stash. My third goal is to sew up some of these bits I've set aside for "someday". The Seasonal Sew Wardrobe challenge that I am hosting in the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Facebook group is helping me achieve that this year. The theme is Deep Stash. And while using "stashed" patterns is a requirement, I'm also requiring myself to use as much stashed fabric as I can.

As a bonus, I have 8 UFO projects lingering from various years that I would like to finish. A few are only half sewn, a few others only need small adjustments like a lining fix, or some hand stitching to finish off the buttons and button holes. My fourth goal is to clear out these UnFinished Objects from my sewing room and my head space this year.

One Last Goal

The final thing on my sewing mind for 2017 is not really stash related. It's completely tied to my favorite Indy Pattern Designer, Itch-To-Stitch Patterns. My fifth and final goal for 2017 is going to be the most fun for me: I want to work my way through the Itch-To-Stitch pattern catalog and make at least 1 of each design...current and new releases as they come out. I've already sewn up 14 patterns in the last 15 months or so, which means as of January 2017, I ONLY have 10 to go! At least...10 that are currently published. It will be lots of fun to see how far I get.

What are your sewing goals this year? Come check out the Facebook group Stashbusting Sewalong 2017 to stay motivated to work through your sewing stash this year.

Sew some of those Deep Stash Patterns into a brand new wardrobe... Sew Along in the Facebook group Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests.

Join me in the Itch-To-Stitch Designs Facebook group to see how many patterns I sew up this year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Plans and Best Intentions for Seasonal Sew Wardrobe Deep Stash

How are you planning your Seasonal Sew Wardrobe for our Deep Stash Edition? 

As of this posting there are already 44 member albums in the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests group containing hundreds of great patterns! Some sewers are using their group albums to plan and track ideas, some are showing snap shots of hand written, or typed lists... at least one had fabric swatches attached! Others are typing up their lists in a post and talking it out on the group page before deciding. It's so much fun to watch!

While poking through my stash, trying to work out a sewing plan, I discovered I had a (nearly) blank copy of 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook. Based on what I found written inside, I had filled out a few pages in January of 2015 but never followed through on anything.
What a waste! 

My Plans For SSW: Deep Stash

Fortunately, I'd written in my notebook using a Frixon Pen (thermal ink) and so I happily erased those pages the other day and started over using my plans for Seasonal Sew Wardrobe: Deep Stash. Here are some of the garments I intend to make:

The more I sew, the more I feel like an artist when creating garments...but when it comes to pencil and paper...utter failure! Out of the dozen items that are currently filling my book, I think I was only able to sketch two. One of them being the robe shown above. I plan to use the Purl Soho Woman's Robe pattern, which I downloaded for free last summer. I had intended to make it for the SSW:Sleepwear Edition, but never go around to it. I have a lovely soft black waffle weave silk suiting with a great drape set aside for this long robe with pockets.

So, what's a sewist to do when she can't draw accurately to record her plans? Trace? Perhaps, but the paper in this notebook isn't thin enough to see through. 

I know! Print off the line drawings from your selected patterns and tape them into place! My notebook, my way!

Above, you can see the line drawings for Closet Case Files Morgan Jeans. I attempted them this fall, and had a terrible time trying to get the back crotch curve just right. Finally, when I transferred my adjustments to the pattern and stitched up a real denim version....I had made a terrible mistake and ended up with a denim vagina. (ie, way too much fabric down there creating all sorts of folds and pockets where there should be none). In a fit of disgust, I threw it all in the trash. I think I might be ready to start over from scratch and try again. 

One of my garments will be the Mila Shirt by Itch-To-Stich . This top is one I have intended to make for a year, after the perfect fabric was gifted to me. (A cotton gauze plaid in blues and purples with yellow and white). I finally bought the pattern 6 months ago, but I continued putting it off because I really struggle fitting woven sleeves. In fact, in the time I've been sitting on this project, Itch-To-Stitch released the Bonn Shirt, and her sample uses the same fabric I intend for my Mila!!

My last garment that I'm going to share here is the one I am most excited about: The Quart Coat by Pauline Alice. I know, I know, I just finished a wool coat in December....but I've been dreaming and planning a wool pea coat for years, and I've been drooling over the Quart Coat pattern ever since I saw it's feminine side pleats. I have to admit that this is my newest pattern, purchased at Christmas this year for myself. The pea coat pattern I had originally wanted to use is too small for me. I decided to indulge myself one last time in 2016 and pick up the coat pattern I REALLY wanted. This coat will be made with stashed fabric for both the outside and the lining. I have an amazing winter white wool that I purchased from Toronto's The Wool House several years ago at my local ASE. The lining will be from a roll of pastel vintage kimono silk that I bought at least 4 years ago from a Japanese flea market website. The buttons are a vintage mother of pearl found at another ASE vendor the same year I bought the wool.

Resources For Planning Notebooks

If you'd like to try using 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook to keep your Seasonal Sew Wardrobe plans organized, you can order a copy HERE.

I've also seen Colette Patterns has a Sewing Planner that goes a little more in-depth with wardrobe planning pages. The link to check it out is HERE.

If you are looking for something a little more....FREE....There's always grabbing a notebook you've got on hand and getting started.. but I've got a couple of printable options for you too!

If you want to work through a "process" to determine what kind of wardrobe you need to make, you can check out this free printable wardrobe planner from Unfancy HERE. 
The Blank Slate Wardrobe Planner can be found HERE. It also has blank plan pages by month you can fill out.

If you would prefer something with a little more customization? Something you can fill out on your computer and then save/print? Something that is FREE? I found a great option for you! This one is actually my favorite because I can type in it using MS Word or Google Docs and it has places for things like overlocker settings and needle types! Check out the Sewing Journal Pages from Escapades in Sewing HERE.

We've got no excuses not to be organized now! 

Miss a post? Catch up on all the SSW:DS posts HERE, then join us in the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Facebook Group to join the conversation and fun!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Announcing Seasonal Sew Wardrobe 2017: Launch and FAQ

**Updates and Clarifications In RED**
I have a new challenge for you... Are you game?

I want to know: How deep does your stash go?

Since we launched the Seasonal Sew Wardrobe Challenges last January, I've been amazed at the imagination and creations of our Sew Alongs & Sewing Contest Members. We are launching our next session on January 1, 2017. This time around there are some twists and turns designed to pull you out of your comfort zone just a little bit, and encourage you to push yourself. 

The Focus

January is a time of renewal, goal setting and getting back on track after a season of indulgence. I have binged and splurged far more than my fair share, and that's why it was decided this season's SSW will focus on using what we already have

How many patterns have you grabbed only for them to be buried by the next inspiration to come along?

How many yards of fabric have you purchased for that great project idea only to find a year (or two, or ten) later that it's still sitting on your shelf? ...Likely discarded by loss of interest, fear of ruining it or just because it kept getting pushed down the project queue when something newer and shinier struck your eye.

Pull out those patterns you always meant to make...consider that fabric on your shelf with new eyes... Announcing SSW:Deep Stash!

Rules To Note

It's not enough for me to challenge you to use what you have. No, no. I've seen what the group is capable of, and so I'm turning it up another notch. 
  1. Each item must be made with a pattern acquired prior to January 1, 2017.
  2. Strongly consider only using stashed fabric as well. (We understand the need to grab a couple yards if you need jeans, but have no denim in your stash).
  3. You must sew all 8 items for the same person.
  4. No accessories! Wearable garments only.
  5. No repeats or multiples. You can make more than one version of a pattern, but it will only count as one item. 
  6. Caption the photos in your SSW album with an item number.
  7. One entry per person (sewer). Don't rush, take the time to fit and craft your garments!
  8. Items must be sewn between January 1st and April 30th, 2017.
  9. It's absolutely OK to change your mind as you sew through this challenge....as long as your new choices follow the rules!

FAQ Details

What are the challenge dates?

The challenge starts January 1, 2017 with a submission deadline of 11:59pm April 30th (Eastern Time Zone)

Registration Deadline
This contest has proven to be overwhelmingly popular. As a result, we are adding a registration deadline of January 31st 11:59 PM EST. Registration is completed by creating your SSW:DS album in the group photos tab. Be sure to include your Facebook name and SSW:DS in the title of your album so we know it's yours.

Who is eligible?

All members of the Facebook Group Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests can participate. We accept and encourage participation at all levels from beginner to advanced. If you are somehow reading this and aren't part of the group, you can click the link and send us a message to join.

How do I participate?
Check out this challenge's theme and rules. Select fabric and 8 different patterns....get sewing! Be sure to register by January 31st by creating your SSW:DS album in the group photo tab.

Are there Prizes? 
YES! All qualifying members will be entered into a random drawing for the prize.  Only albums that meet all the requirements indicated here and in the Facebook Group page will be entered into the drawing. If your name is drawn, you will win everything listed below. Please click the links and check out our generous sponsors.

Random Drawing Winner Prizes:
Ralph Pink, 1 PDF pattern
Waffle Patterns, 2 PDF patterns
Sew Chic, 1 PDF pattern
Mrs Depew Vintage, 1 PDF pattern
Filles A Maman, 1 PDF pattern
Decades of Style, 1 PDF pattern
Craftsy, 1 Class

How do I qualify?
Each participant needs to have an Album in the group photos tab for pictures of their finished items. Please make sure the album title contains your name and "SSW:DS" (Seasonal Sew Wardrobe Deep Stash). Step-By-Step directions for creating an album are detailed below. Make sure photos of your wardrobe pieces are uploaded to your album by 11:59pm April 30th (Eastern Time Zone) and are captioned with the item name and number. For example:"#1 Jeans". This type of organization helps Admin keep track of our growing member participation accurately. You will need at least 8 qualifying pieces to be entered into the drawing. Here is a link to a sample photo album.

What patterns do I have to use?
The focus of this Seasonal Sew Wardrobe challenge is Deep Stash. You don't need to buy anything special to participate. In fact, new purchases don't qualify! To be considered "STASH", patterns/fabric need to have been acquired prior to January 1, 2017. I won't be requiring proof of acquisitions, but the whole point of this theme is to dig into something you have, but never got around to using...patterns and fabric that are languishing in a pile of "someday". If you accept this challenge, we expect you to play by the rules!

NO self drafted patterns or tutorials. Please use DESIGNER-DRAFTED stash patterns.

Magazines/books such as Burda or Colette Handbook which include drafted patterns are OK to use.

You can use a previously sewn pattern, but the point of the challenge is to push you to dig into your stash. I can't stop you, but Please don't cheat yourself by making 8 TNT patterns!

How many items do I need to sew?
As many as you like. One entry per person (sewer), with a minimum of 8 wearable garments. 

Does the wardrobe have to be for me?
No. You can sew for someone else if you like, but all items need to be for the same person.

Can I use a pre-made garment?
Not this time. We have 4 months to sew 8 garments, so please only enter items sewn between January 1st to April 30th 2017. 

What if I finish a UFO or a WIP during that time?
I'm sorry, UFOs and WIPs are not eligible for this challenge.

What about finished items from Pop-Up Sew Along Challenges?
Any wearable garment completed for a Pop-Up challenge during SSW:DS may be included in your SSW:DS wardrobe.

Are accessories eligible items?
No. This time all 8 minimum items need to be wearable garments: Shirts, pants, dresses, cardigans, jackets, ect. If you want to include a coordinating accessory in your wardrobe, that is great! However, it won't count toward your total to qualify for the prize drawing.

Is lingerie eligible?
Undergarments are not being included in this challenge. If it's inappropriate to wear when your son has a friend sleeping over, it's considered lingerie.

Are Bathing Suits/Coverups eligible?
Bathing suits are OK. If you want to make a bathing suit cover up, you'll need a bathing suit in your wardrobe!

Are PJs/Robes eligible?
"Pajamas" must include both a top and bottom. Robes and "house coats" are OK.

Are costumes eligible?
No, this is a wardrobe challenge for the things you will wear regularly.

What sort of items can I sew?
Include balanced coverage for the top and bottom half of the body in your wardrobe. Collections of all tops or all bottoms are ineligible for this challenge. A wardrobe of all dresses/toppers qualifies, but if you make tops, you will need bottoms.

Bottoms: skirts, pants, shorts, culottes
Tops: Blouses, t-shirts, button-down shirts, sweaters/sweatshirts, tank tops
Toppers/Outerwear: robe, cardigan, jacket, coat, hoodie, blazer 
Misc: Dresses, overalls, jumpsuit

I don't like skirts, do I have to sew skirts or dresses to qualify?

NO! As long as you can cover both halves of your body with your wardrobe, you can sew any combination of tops, pants, skirts, dresses and toppers you like.

On the topic of multiples
You can sew a pattern as many times as you like. Maybe you will discover a new TNT. However, multiples and repeats will only count once. 8 different patterns will need to be used to complete this challenge.

You can use multiple views of "wardrobe" patterns, as long as they are different garment types. (shirt and jacket, skirt and pants, ect)

It's OK to hack a stashed pattern to work for your style, but only one view counts. (no multiple pieces with different hacks of the same pattern).

You can mash multiple patterns, as long as they are both from your stash.

Is there a social media hashtag?
Yes!  #SSWDeepStash

How do I create an Album?


  1. Click the "photos" link at the top center of the group page 
  2. Select "albums" 
  3. On the right-hand side, select "create album" 
  4. Select a picture from your computer, via the box that pops up, to start your album. 
  5. After the photo loads, you can add a caption if you like. 
  6. On the left-hand side, change the date to your album name. Your album should contain your name and SSW1 so that your wardrobe pictures can be easily found. 
  7. Add additional photos now or later as you like. 
  8. Press the blue "post" button on the lower left-hand side when you are done. 


  1. Select "info" from the top of the group page 
  2. Select "photos" 
  3. Select "Albums" 
  4. Select "Create New Album" 
  5. Change album title to one that contains your name and SSW:DS so that your wardrobe pictures can be easily found. 
  6. Add an album description if you like 
  7. Hit "create" 
  8. Add photos now or later as desired. 


  1. Click to add a photo on the main page.
  2. Choose photo
  3. Underneath your name at the top of the screen: click "+ Album"
  4. Choose "Create Album"
  5. Name the title to include your name and SSW:SE
  6. If you would like add a description!
  7. Click "Save"
  8. Click "Upload" (You can add a caption to the photo as well if you'd like)
  9. Congratulations! Your album is now created to add more photos now or later!

On iPhone if you're in the groups app -
  1. Go to the group. At the bottom you'll see pic icon which takes you to photos. 
  2. At top of that, there is an Albums tab. Click that. 
  3. Then, at the very top right, click the + to create your album!

I need some additional help

No problem! Just post your question in the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Group page and tag Crystal Rice, Jewel McClellan and/or Judy Flatt O'Day. We can help!

Join the conversation at our Group's Facebook Page, Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests, and share what you are working on this week!

Have you missed one of the Seasonal Sew Wardrobe 2017 posts? Find all the links HERE.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

That Time I Sewed Manicure Wallets For Christmas

Several years ago, at the first American Sewing Expo I attended, there was a booth of painted glass nail files. They were lovely, but I didn't bring any home with me. The next year I went, the booth was gone, and I haven't seen it since. I was incredibly disappointed, as I'd come to think they would make a great gift for my girlfriends. 

This year, I decided to poke around for glass nail files online. I stumbled onto some sets for a good price. They include a small file, a standard size file and a pedicure file. Upon their delivery, I thought they were so pretty that I was inspired to sew something to go with them and make a manicure themed Christmas present for the ladies in my life.

It took some Googling, but eventually I stumbled on the Snappy Manicure Wallet: a free pattern from Noodlehead. It was exactly what I'd wanted. Not too big with a zippered pouch and little pockets for a small selection of polish bottles.

Most of the supplies came from my stash. I only purchased some black ShapeFlex interfacing, 5 zippers and a half yard each of the skull and cherry blossom fabric. All the other fabrics, white ShapeFlex interfacing, fusible fleece, 18 pearl snaps, elastic and 1 zipper were all on hand already.

Making 6 all at once was both tedious and time effective. Each new step was interesting; a nice break from fitting garments and hand stitching my wool coat. Well, at least it was for the first few. By the time I had got to the 4th repetition, it was less fun. 

It may look like a complicated project, but honestly the instructions are incredibly well written. Each piece fits properly and there really isn't anything to struggle with.

Even still, I managed to create plenty of hiccups for myself along the way. Skipped stitches, broken and bent needles....All of these things were totally avoidable if I hadn't been a lazy seamstress.

I'm not entirely sure if I measured the snap placement correctly, but I really didn't like the way they looked as instructed. So, I pried them off and used an evenly spaced three-snap combo closer to the flap edge.

It took me quite a while to add snaps to all 6 wallets, but then again, I mis-measured several having to pry them off and start over.

I have recipients in mind for 5 of the 6 wallets. I'll hang onto the extra one for now. I'm sure something will come up and I'll find a place to send it.

Here is how I plan to gift the manicure wallets, With a set of glass nail files and a bottle of polish tucked into the pockets.

Sewing for others is not something I do. But, every now and then, I am inspired to break my own rules.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Coat Cravings: Fari Coat First Steps

Let's start talking details! My first Coat project this fall is going to be the Ralph Pink Fari Coat. The Fashion fabric is a charcoal wool melton that I picked up locally on sale for about $21/yard. I'm going to use a poly charmeuse from my stash for the lining. I know, I know...poly...but just look at it:

The photo really doesn't do it justice. It's a bold abstract boarder print with mustard, tan, grey and black on a white background. It will be perfect for a lining that will show frequently. Because the finished product will be dry cleaned, I washed and dried the poly charmeuse like any other fabric, and steam treated the wool myself. I know there are other ways to pretreat your wool such as paying your dry cleaner to steam press it (without creases, of course) or to toss the yardage into the dryer with damp towels and run it until the towels are dry. I once had my dry cleaner steam press wool for me and it worked out great, except for the ridiculous cost ($20-$30). I know that can vary as some ladies in the group can get it done in their town for $7. It's worth asking around to avoid the labor. I have not tried the dryer trick because I don't trust my dryer. It's very old and the heat it puts out is inconsistent.

I first looked at making this coat in the spring of 2016. I went so far as to cutting it out and starting to construct the outside before I realized the fabric I selected was not at all suited to the structure of the garment. I abandoned that version and set all my supplies aside for the summer. The first thing I did when preparing to restart Fari Coat this season was to try on my existing muslin. It's still fitting just the way I want... which is awesome! That means all the pattern adjustments are already complete and I can get cutting and constructing!

Below is my first and second muslin. As you can see in the blue, initially both the sleeve and coat length were far too long for my short frame.  The pattern does not have shorten/lengthen lines, but I found it very easy to draw my own, perpendicular to the grain line. I was satisfied where the hip and waist hit, so I placed the lines just under the welt pocket markings. This helped me avoid distorting the cocoon shape of the coat. I did also make a slight forward shoulder adjustment to the top of the sleeve line. That and a firmly interfaced collar on the white muslin corrected the slight shifting to the back I experienced. 

Finally, before beginning to cut, I had to decide which was the right and wrong side of my wool. Is it the textured weave side or the smooth side? I asked the Facebook group and Googled like crazy. The consensus was that whichever side I wanted was the right side, with the smooth side as a runner up. I chose to go with the smooth side.

The pattern calls for about 3 yards of wool, which is what I bought. Because I shortened the pattern so much, I only used 2 of it! Next up is deciding what sort of tailoring I want to do and then prepping the pattern pieces with interfacing. 

Where are you in your Coat journey?

Join the conversation at our Group's Facebook Page, Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests, and share what you are working on this week!

Have you missed one of the Coat Cravings posts? Find all the links HERE.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Coat Cravings: Fari Coat Is Finished!

I've been a naughty Coat Cravings host. Jumping out of the gate all raring to go....then totally stalling out for 2 months. Don't worry, I did pick my Fari Coat back up again...I even finished it! Here, let me share the highlights of my Coat making with you:

Welt Pockets

I do believe when I last left you, I was just about to start my welt pockets.

I added a nice healthy square of interfacing to the back side to support the stitches and opening.

Then, I very carefully hand basted the prepped pocket pieces to my opening. 

I was more than a little paranoid about things being very precise, this seemed the best way to ensure nothing shifted while stitching.

It made machine stitching a breeze, as I could see the stitch lines very clearly, and just needed to follow the basting stitches.

No matter how confident I am in my stitching, slicing into the pocket opening is always gut-wrenching...

Will I have ruined my coat?

No, Not at all, they came out perfect!

The Lining

Once I managed to gather the correct supplies for my lining...mainly having to take a special trip to pick up some more fusible hair canvas interfacing... it came together super quick!

I took my time and did the cutting when I was all alone with Netflix one evening. Overlocking the lining parts together took no time at all.

Trims And Holes

The trim was applied to both the lining and the outside of the coat in the same way: Like a v-neck. I stitched on each of the 8 corners first, then went back and eased the banding in along the straight edges. Truthfully, everything fit perfectly, and so after the fuss of the corners, it was just a matter of stitching some straight lines.

To remind myself how crazy-simple Spanish Snap Buttonholes are, I did a quick test. But, I had some real trouble sewing the actual holes on the jacket. The seam allowances are so close to the button hole placement that the fabric wanted to shift every time the needle went up. I ripped the first one out 3 times before I decided to stitch it upside down from the interfacing side. SO much easier to see the thread. 

It's a pretty tight fit for the button, but it will be fine. I made the facing slightly larger so that it will be easier to slip stitch the layers together at the end.

Putting It All Together

Stitching the sleeve of your lining to the wrong sleeve of your coat is not a great way to get started.

 So I ripped them out and started over. 

The sleeves went in on the correct side the second time...but having never bagged a lining before...and with the pattern instructions providing no direction on how to do it, I messed it up the second time as well.


It was a rough day. But I got through it and pressed open the seams all around the perimeter of my coat. Wooden point presser and my clapper were invaluable for this part!

The first time I went through grading and clipping seams wasn't good enough. There is an incredible amount of bulk in there, and I needed to go back through a second time and be far more aggressive.

The wine helped me worry less about clipping TOO closely.

It's hard to tell from a camera shot, but the button hole feels really thick. It wasn't until too late that I realized I'd made a big mistake. Instead of using interfacing on the facing side of the button hole, I used a piece of wool. It's a shame because even with hammering and lots of steam it will still be too thick. Thank goodness I selected buttons with a shank. A flat button would never have worked.

Since I couldn't go in and fix the facing, I trimmed it as small as I dared and catch stitched the edges in place to keep it from distorting or flipping out. I'm sure that over time, it will be less of a bother to me.

Final Details

It is necessary to "stitch in the ditch" around the entire perimeter of the coat to seal the outside and inside trims together. Otherwise, it won't lay flat together and looks very unattractive. I didn't trust that my seams would match up on both sides, so I chose to hand tack. I know, I know, but it gave me so much control and is invisible. It also took FOREVER. It was worth it though, truly.

The last thing I needed to do was stitch on the buttons. I chose black enameled shank buttons with 24K gold edging. I used 3/4 inch buttons for the sleeve tabs and a 7/8 inch button for the collar.

They have a really nice weight to them without being heavy. I also think they look sleek and classic without being boring.

Finished Coat!

The day I went out and took these shots, the snow was deep. The light was gloomy and overcast, the temperature was -13F and my ears hurt before I could get very many shots. Here's Is my finished Fari Coat! I'm incredibly proud of this finish and have been wearing it around town at every opportunity.

Coat Cravings Challenge ended on December 15, 2016. You can check out our winner's coats HERE. (That's right, she made two!)

Our next Sew Seasonal Wardrobe contest will begin on January 1st. Watch this space, and our Group's Facebook Page, Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests, for the details. I hope you'll join us and Sew Along!

Have you missed one of the Coat Cravings posts? Find all the links HERE.