My Annual Winter Coat Project - Hollywood 1214


I think most of you guys know by now that I'm not much of a planner.  Usually I cast my little squirrel eyes around and sew what ever seems bright and shiny at the current moment in time.  Funny though, I looked through the blog archives this week and discovered that my squirrel brain always likes sewing a coat in January/February.  It's almost like the cold weather sets off a craving to cocoon myself in coating weight wool.
This year I finally broke out the coat pattern snagged off of ebay months ago for $5.00, yes $5.00!  Oh I was sooo pleased with my bargain pattern acquisition of Hollywood 1214 that it was never even pulled it out of the envelope. When I did so to trace it in December that's when it was discovered there were no directions. Crap!
Now I don't rely on directions that heavily, but they do come in handy on non printed patterns. I use them while tracing a copy of the pattern to correctly label all the pattern pieces. It's also nice to have a reference for things like top-stitching and any sort of vintage sewing technique that has fallen out of fashion.  I was also a little concerned about the pockets on this design. I've sewed a lot of garments, but never one with pockets that look quite like this.  After mulling it over for a day I decided to give it a shot.
Between several years of coat sewing experience, 1 year of familiarity with non-printed patterns and an excellent fashion illustration it all worked out. When sewing the muslin I turned off my brain and my hands figured out how the pockets went together without a hitch.  Isn't it nice how a lot of garment constructions is common sense? The rest of the sewing was standard coat/jacket stuff that I can do without any directions. Hooray!  I also lucked out that the 40's fashion illustration was very detailed and showed where all the top-stitching should go. You'll probably have to look at the illustration yourself to be able to see any top-stitching details. My light gray on light gray stitching mostly gets lost in the photos.  I do want you to know that I spent hours trying to get smooth top-stitching curves on my coat lapels. ;)
On to the review portion of the blog post..

Hollywood 1214

Fabrics used
Stashed gray wool coating - originally from Gorgeous Fabrics
Stashed floral viscose as lining - originally from Emma one sock

Pattern changes/alterations
1. Standard 1/2 forward shoulder adjustment to the shoulder and sleeve head.
2. Added 1" extra ease to the hem line and hem.
3.  Removed 3" of ease out of the sleeve cap. Some was removed by making the dart at the top of the sleeve wider. Some was pinched out.
4. Drafted my own lining for the coat.

- This pattern seems to have been drafted with shoulders that are supposed to jut out past the natural line. Despite all the extra shoulder padding I added in that area it still looks like I didn't fit the coat right.  If I had to do it over again I would take the shoulder line in to met my natural shoulder edge.

- I do like all the little details this pattern has. Lots of top-stitching, the little faux belt at the back, the lovely big pockets. It's really hard to keep your hands out of them!

- Compared with all my other coats, the lack of buttons below the waist feels a bit odd. I'm always thinking that I've forgotten to fasten a button or two. Thanks to the thickness of the coat there isn't too much problem with the bottom half blowing open unless it's a really stiff wind.

- Confession, the bugs got to this piece of wool too. One yard was badly compromised, but there were nips taken out here and there through out the yardage. The bugs seemed to favor the fuzzier side which probably was the right side of the fabric. I decided to use the "wrong side" and not worry about cutting around any nips in the fabric.

Husband + Son Comment
Steve - "Looks like there's a lot of room in that coat."
Desmond - "Room for 100 people the size of ants!"
Steve - "I was thinking along the line of thick sweaters or smuggling goods, but sure."

My Final Thoughts
Not gonna lie, my red McCall's 6800 is still my favorite coat. You know how a looooove red.  However this project was an interesting sew and gave me a real ego boost. It's nice to find out that you can finish something without out any directions.
Can you guys believe this is the last of my stashed wool coating? I'm going to cry big crocodile tears next year when I have to fork money over for my seasonal coat.

Deep Stash Plans


It's February but it's never too late to talk about first quarter-ish sewing plans.  Heck at the rate I'm currently sewing what else do we have to talk about?  OK maybe cookies, but I'm fresh out of those too.  Could someone send a cookie drone? Carbs/sugar are the only things keeping me stable right now.

This year I have to keep a tighter reign on my purchases to continue reducing the size of my stash. (BTW, total stash reduction for 2016 was 90.5 yards.) So far instituting the rule that I must complete garments out of stashed fabric to get "credit" to buy new fabric is working.  In January I sewed up 3.75 yards and didn't buy any new fabric.  Froggie laughs and asks if I'd like a gold star for lasting a whole 5 weeks without buying fabric. Hey frog, I work in a fabric store so give a girl some credit!  I only thought about buying fabric every Friday.

To help with the stashed garment sewing I signed up for the Deep Stash sew along going in the FB Sew along group. The general guidelines for the sew along are:

- All patterns and fabric need to be from stash.

- You need to sew 8 garments for the same person.

- No repeat garments. All 8 garments need to be from a different pattern.

There's a 4 month time frame to complete everything if you want to be eligible for the prize pack. That might be too short for me cause I've got to overly complicate everything.  That's OK, having a prompt to get me pairing stashed fabric and patterns together is great. Here are the garments I've got planned so far.

Garment 1 - Hollywood 1214 in light gray wool coating and some stashed lining not pictured.

Garment 2 - McCall's 3242 out of plaid wool which was a Christmas gift from my father.

Garment 3 - McCall's 4265 in some washed silk.

Garment 4 - Smooth Sailing Trousers in tencel denim.

After sewing those 4 up I'll have to figure out another 4 garments.  Maybe I'll put my number #1 man on the job.  Froggie work your magic!

Sewing Vintage in February


Hello all, today's post is about the Stashbusting Sewalong FB group.  I've been an active member for a number of years and it's been a wonderful group that has helped me make put a dent in the size of my fabric stash.  Mr. B no long worries about being smothered in his sleep by toppling piles of fabric. He still can't fit all his clothing in the closet but I'm working on it.  That goal might also be reached if Mr. B throws away some of his 10 year old T-shirts/pants with visible holes....but we're getting off topic.

This month I'm hosting the stashbusting group sewing theme which is Vintage Sewing!  Seems we have a number of vintage sewers in the group because this was one of the most requested themes. So without further ado let me lay out the general guidelines for sewing on theme.

- You can sew true vintage patterns.
Break open your pattern stashes and pull out all those vintage pattern you've been hoarding.  Or go out and buy a new vintage pattern you've had your eye on. The definition for vintage patterns is 20 years or older, which means any patterns from the mid 90's and older are eligible.   (Feel free to harumph and say, "What I wore in high school isn't vintage!" That sentence has been heard in my sewing room more than once.)

- You can sew vintage reprints or vintage inspired patterns.
Not in the mood to grade up a vintage pattern to fit yourself?  Really like that new pattern from Gertie's line? No problem. Feel free to sew up patterns that have a vintage look even if they were published recently.

-You can sew something you drafted yourself.
Have something on your sewing list you've been meaning to draft that has a vintage vibe. Feel free to use this month's theme to finally get that project done.

-You don't have to sew clothing, vintage accessories or home decor counts.

As you can see there are many way to sew along with the theme.  I hope everyone has fun and I can't wait to see your makes.

Guess what I made 3 months ago? - Simplicity 1155 and Decades of Style Empire Waist Trousers


What's that I see on the horizon? Is it a new blog post? It couldn't possibly be! We all know I've disappeared into the fabric shelves of EOS and/or my winter hibernation cave.  It's true, I've been spending most of my time in those places and battling the tidal wave of germs that elementary kids so helpfully bring home to share.  But today I'm temporarily germ free and thought it was time to finally show you the last two FO's of 2016.
Wayyyy back in October of last year I blogged about some "Unofficial Halloween" sewing plans. You may remember that only because of the kick ass skull fabric that was dug out from the bottom of the stash. Fueled by the desire to show off my sewing skills to impressionable children, I stayed up a few late nights to finish in time.  My "candy giving out" costume was exactly what is pictured here.  It managed to simultaneously scare children under the age of 5 and illicit exclamations of, "That is so cool!" from middle school aged girls.
One of the design features of this blouse is the high neckline with visible darts on the front. Mmmmmm delicious darts. Of course if you need to lower the neckline then all those delicious darts are gonna become a problem.  I thought, "Well I know that 40's necklines can be super high but I'll muslin this as is and hope for the best."  Yeaaaaahhhh, that muslin was like being slowly strangled by a lethargic snake.  Not exactly what I'm looking for in handmade clothing.  After letting my brain mull over the problem over night, I decided to try lowering the neckline and lengthening the darts the same amount.  Viola, problem solved.
No other major issues to report on Simplicity 1155.  The sewing is very straight forward if you've made any sort of blouse in the past.  I do like both the button back and the full sleeves.  (You can tell I've drunk the 40's cool aid because I would have laughed about these sleeves a few years ago.)
Now on to the trousers.  Those of you familiar with this pattern might be saying, "I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to have a waistband." You are correct eagle eyed readers.   I got a little excited about sewing this outfit and didn't think about how a nice soft rayon probably isn't the best fabric for empire waist pants. (I was thinking about how rayon would make nice swingy pant legs instead.) Also once muslining the pattern I realized that my low bust point wasn't making this look like it did in my head. Any sort of waist definition disappeared and that bothered me.  So what to do to solve both of these problems? Cut some of the Empire waist off of the top of the pants and turn it into a wide waistband.  I did take pictures of this process so if you'd like a quickie "How to" blog post just say so in the comments. Otherwise I sewed this pattern as drafted and like it a whole bunch.
(Not the best pic of the back, but this was literally the only on in focus out of 35 pics)

Simplicity 1155 and Decades of Style Empire Waist Trousers.

Fabrics used
Blouse - Stashed Crepe de Chine from EOS.  Thanks to Facebook time hop I can tell you this was bought in 2010 about a month and a half after Desmond was born. (Just making myself feel better about not sewing it right away.)

Pants - Stretch Rayon from Marcy Tilton. Fabric was a new purchase in October, but has sold out since then.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. Lowered the neckline .5" and lengthen the neckline darts the same amount.
2. Standard 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment to shoulder and sleeve.
3. Added 1/2" more length to the sleeve.
4. Redrew the placement of the buttonholes on the back.

1. Extended the back crotch length about .75" (Used the Wearing History Smooth Sailing Trousers as a guide since those fit me well.)
2.  Took in 1.5" inches in at the side seams at the waistline. This alteration was mostly because of my fabric choose of a stretch woven. I had to give that area some negative ease to get it to stay in position.

1.  I found the bias width of 1.25" a bit slim for my fumble fingers when finishing the neckline.  I increased it to 2".

2. The directions say to close the sleeve cuffs with thread loops and buttons.  I found this out really late in the process and was not in the mood to hand sew some thread loops.  Instead I checked to see if the cuffs would fit over my hands with a buttonhole added.  They were wide enough thanks to my hand and wrists being the daintiest part of my body. I did end up doing a standard button and button hole finish to the cuffs. Now 3 months later I'll admit that doing the thread loops would have been better. The cuffs are just a little bit too tight when the blouse needs to move with me.

Husband Comment
Pretty sure he said, "I like your sleeves" because Napoleon Dynami quotes are a staple of our household. Though I think this outfit is on the husband scale of "I'll keep my mouth shut because she'll put on a less weird outfit soon."

My Final Thoughts
It might have taken me three months to show off this outfit but I'm pretty pleased with it. In the end it turned out just like I'd imagined.
Going forward I'm hoping to blog a little more regularly. There's still plenty I want to sew and share with like minded people.   So here's hoping for a little more sewing and blogging time in the new year.

Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes


Wow, I've had quite the busy and exciting September! For those of you who don't already know, in mid September I was hired at Emma One Sock.  Hooray!!

I really couldn't ask for a more perfect job for my current situation.  I get to touch fabric all day people!!! Also thanks to Linda's and Eric's flexibility I start early in the day and can finish in time to pick Desmond up from school.  I love that we don't have to give up our walks home from school yet. Otherwise I wouldn't get my daily dose of animal facts and kooky 6 year old theories of how the world works.

We're still adjusting to the change, but so far it's going pretty well.  Mr. B is doing great handing the morning start by himself. (I'm already up in EOS headquarters by the time the Boy B's get up.) Desmond hasn't commented on the change at all.  Well he was surprised that I was at home on a Saturday morning because the concept of a weekend is still an amorphous thing when you're 6.  " it the weekend again? Yeaaaaaa!"

While I'm super happy to be working in a sewing related capacity, the reduction of my actual sewing time is a bit shocking.  How have all of you full time ladies been making garments by only sewing on the weekend? I try and squeeze in 30 minutes on work evenings, but most of the time my brain is too tired.  Back in September I'd planned out a whole "Unofficial Halloween" wardrobe to complete this month.  Not gonna happen.  Siiiigh.  First world problems, am I right?

The logical side of my brain took over and reminded me that some of the "Unofficial Halloween" wardrobe could be sewn.  I only had to decide what garments would make the cut.  First up will be my new pattern acquisition Simplicity 1155, view 3.   "I like you're sleeves. They're big."
I'll be using a long stashed Emma one sock fabric, this silk crepe de chine. Skulls = Unofficial Halloween. you see where I'm going with this.
Most of the "Unofficial Halloween" wardrobe is just an excuse to sew black separates which are needed for the rest of the year. I did get a jump on this by finished up a pair of black rayon "Empire Waist Pants" from Decades of Style.

These will go very well with Simplicity 1155 so maybe I'll hold off and photograph them together.  I'd also like to sew the skirt portion of Hollywood 1756 in black rayon as well. We'll see if there's enough time and if I feel like buying more black rayon.
That's all I've narrowed down for now.  Hopefully I'll settle into my new sewing groove this month and get a few of these pieces done. Cross your fingers for me. :)

PR Hacks - Split Cowl Dress


I know what some of you are thinking. "I say Heather, that dress looks verrrry familiar."  You're right!  I was a sneaky knock off artist this month. Muhaa haa!
It probably won't surprise you to find out that stuff designed for slim 20 older old's doesn't fit me right. There's a lot of things I can let slide, but bad fitting garments isn't one of them. Therefore I had to take matters into my own hands and draft my own version of this dress.  Of course I documented it all to share with you.
Using the PR Winter Street dress as a base pattern, I'll be showing you how to alter the bodice to add a waist inset and change the skirt shape. After that we'll do a little free hand drafting to created the cool color and the waist tabs.  Pop on over to the PR blog to get the details.

Bonus Husband Comment - "Heyyyyy First Lady!  You can wear that when I get inaugurated."

40's Casual Style


This summer my Sister-in-law gave us the option to join her family on a cabin camping trip up in Rickett's Glen. They usually do some sort of camping trip during summer vacation and had plenty of extra room in their cabin for the three of us. Steve and I though Des would enjoy running around the woods and cooking with fire so we accepted.  Which meant it was time for every seamstress's favorite activity.... planning some trip sewing!

Seriously though, as someone who is a "lifetime fancy dresser" the amount of casual clothing I own is 3 pairs of yoga pants and some ratty old Renfrews.  My suitcase was in desperate need of a few items of clothing that could handle a slog through the woods.  Guess I just "had" to buy some new patterns to fill this hole in my wardrobe.  (Let's pretend I wouldn't have bought a new pattern for any type of vacation.)  What I ended up purchasing was the recently mentioned Simplicity 3885.  The bottom half of the pattern worked out a lot better than blouse portion of the pattern.

View 1 is the button up skirt with some nice little patch pockets.  Pockets which happen to be big enough to stow your sunglasses when the hiking trail turns out to be deeply shaded.

Then maybe it gets hot or you want to go play tennis with the girls....assuming you are far more coordinated than I. Unbutton the skirt layer to reveal.....

View 2 Flirty Shorts! Here I am doing "Vanna hands" to show off the pocket welts of the nonexistent pockets.
The plan was to have pockets, but the residual post baby fat shelf caused some major gapping issues. In a perfect world I should have muslined with pockets and figured out how to adjust for that. Instead this was deadline sewing and some corners were cut.

Pocket issue aside, these were very easy to fit to my lower body.  Mostly thanks to 40's styles being really loose around the lower derriere area.  Not having to worry about under butt wrinkles is a giant relief.

Simplicity 3885, Shorts and Skirt.

Fabrics used
Light weight stretch denim from

Pattern changes/alterations
1.  Graded up the bottom pieces one size.

2. Raised CB of shorts 3/8".

3. Removed side seam pockets from the shorts.

4. Took in CB of skirt 1/2".

6. Let out side seams of skirt 3/8".

- I didn't muslin the skirt portion figuring how much fitting does a button up A-line skirt need?  Ummmm plenty if your me. Ended up having to take in or let out most of the seams and I'm still not happy with the waistband fit. You'd think I'd learn by now that muslins are not optional for me.

Husband Comment
"Hey pretty lady, I like your grandma shorts."

My Final Thoughts
Both garments served me well on the camping trip. I ended up wearing yoga pants for the long hike and used these garments for short walks and trips to the lake.  It got me thinking that adding a few more causal garment projects to the sewing list would be a good idea.   Occasionally....only occasionally a dress isn't appropriate for having fun with your kid.

Speaking of him, let's just say he had a blast.

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