Ginger Made: Ebony + Nanette + Scout Tee = Happiness!

Hi, guys! Hope your week is off to a great start! Let me start off with a word of explanation: I really, really, really didn’t mean to buy a summery print so late in the year. But I stumbled across this Nanette Lepore linen/silk blend (!) online and immediately fell hard for it (good news- it’s still in stock!!!). [Sidebar: while I can't afford to wear Nanette Lepore, I would love to- I'm such a huge fan of the Garment District, and so I really appreciate her commitment to bringing garment production back to New York. For more about this, check out Overdressed, if you haven't already read it!] But, it’s October, so I tried to talk myself out of it. I left the browser window open for two days when I saw Mary‘s tweet that she had just ordered the same print and, well, that little nudge, plus some encouragement from Roisin, was all I needed to pull the trigger! Friends, I’m telling you, Twitter is a DANGEROUS place sometimes! So, my October Mood Sewing Network project looks a bit like an August project! Oops!

I’d planned to use this gorgeous fabric to make a really special dress (check out Kelli’s dress made with a different colorway of the same fabric!), but after I thought about it for a bit, I just couldn’t justify making a dress that would be stuffed in my closet until May. I’ve recently noticed a major hole in my wardrobe- cute tops for everyday wear! So I figured a top would allow me to wear this fun print with a greater degree of frequency.

Haha, this photo shoot was made difficult by the wind swirling around… things don’t usually look this tent-y!

Since the print is so large-scale, I knew that I needed something with a lot of surface area to show it off. I remembered Ebony’s hack of the Grainline Studio Scout Tee pattern, something I’d been meaning to try since I first saw her post. Ebony has the best style and everything she makes I immediately want… she’s just so cool (#girlcrush)! Now, Ebony used a knit, but I thought I could get away with using a woven since the original pattern is designed for wovens and the fabric is quite drapey.

Ebony details how much width and length she added to her pattern, but I didn’t want to do quite as much as she did (plus, I suspect she’s taller than me). So I dropped the front hem by 3″ and the back by 8″ (blending from 3″ at the side seam of the back piece to 8″ at the center back, giving it a nice curved hemline). I also lengthened the sleeves by 4″ (Jen at Grainline has a tutorial for how to do this if you need some pointers!). I slashed and spread the front and back pieces by 8″ each (the most I could do and still fit the pattern pieces on 44″ wide fabric). That’s plenty of extra volume- 32″ total added to the sweep of the hemline! Whoa!

The fabric was super easy to sew and didn’t fray as much as 100% linen, luckily. But it tends to relax and rumple just a bit when you wear it, which I really like. Since it wasn’t fray-crazy, I didn’t bother with fancy seam finishings and just serged the seams. Sometimes you just want to keep it simple! The neckline is finished with bias binding, and the curved hemline got the narrow hem treatment.

I know this isn’t the most flattering garment, but it makes a big splash and is really, really fun to wear. I just feel so happy when I put it on! And isn’t that the best thing about sewing your own clothes? You can wear whatever you like! And, you can channel inspiration from as many sources as you like (in my case, Ebony, Mary, Roisin, Jen, Kelli, and, of course, Nanette Lepore! And the finished garment even makes me think of Liza Jane, somehow) and turn it into a cool garment! I’m really looking forward to seeing what Mary makes with this fabric!

What are you making these days? What are your favorite top styles?

I saved you my derpiest photo as a treat. DERRRRRRRRRRRP.

 

Ginger Made: Ginger Jeans!!!!!

Guys. I made jeans.

This is a big deal.

Here’s the thing. I wear jeans every day. Like, every single day. I’m wearing them now. I wore them yesterday. Honestly, I have no idea when I last wore something else outside the house! But I have to admit that I’ve never, ever, EVER wanted to sew a pair! They’re right up there with bras for me- I know some of you sew these successfully and beautifully, but I just don’t have the precision, patience, or fitting skills to do it myself.  Then, way back in May, Man Friend and I visited Montreal for his birthday and snuck in a wee brunch with Heather Lou (sidenote: if you want to see an example of saintlike patience, it’s Man Friend calmly and pleasantly eating while Heather and I talked and talked and TALKED about sewing on HIS birthday weekend). This is what went down:

Heather: “Did I tell you I’m naming my next pattern after you?”

Me: [super touched by this gesture]

Heather: “It’s a skinny jean”

Me: [@#$%]

Confession: I had zero confidence in this project the entire way through. Jeans just seem so… impossible! Annoying! Un-fun to sew! I didn’t think I could get them to fit correctly or to be tough enough for everyday wear. I thought they would break my sewing machine. I figured there was about a 97% chance that I’d quit midway through in a puddle of tears and snot… not a pretty thought! Spoiler alert: sewing jeans is totally doable!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Without further ado, meet my Ginger jeans! These look pretty gosh darn good for a first pair of jeans, yeah?

Let’s talk construction! I made view A, with the lower waist and stovepipe legs, which closely mimics the style of my favorite Levi’s. Everything I needed to know was covered in the pattern instructions. I’ve never made pants before, and I’ve only sewn a front fly once (in my Moss mini), so this was all pretty new to me. But I just took it one step at a time and everything went together smoothly. There were one or two things that were confusing to me, but Heather addressed all of these concerns in the final pattern instructions.

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Jeans

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it was WAY easier to sew these with two sewing machines. I think this is the first project I’ve done with contrast topstitching since getting my Juki, and it was a breeze to stitch the seams on my Janome, serge them, and then topstitch with the Juki. I’ve done contrasting topstitching before, but I had to keep switching thread spools and bobbins and it was annoying. If you only have one machine, this is the perfect excuse to set up a sewing date with a friend and pool resources! Or just carefully consider your construction order so you don’t have to swap thread as much. :) Speaking of topstitching, I bought a 1/8″ compensating foot for my Juki which made it a BREEZE (and it was only $6… the benefit of your machine taking industrial feet!). Previously, my attempts at even topstitching have been… sad. So if you have an edgestitch/topstitching/compensating foot, this is a great time to use it! Or take a good look at the feet you do have and see if there’s one that can help you get straighter lines than your regular presser foot (I’ve heard that blind hem feet can be good for lining up with your seam/edge). It’s worth it to practice before diving in, especially if you’re using thread in a contrasting color.

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

My machines didn’t break, and actually both performed like champs! I used denim needles on both of them, and they happily sewed through everything. The only problem I had was attempting to do bar tacks- I could have easily gone through the layers with my Juki, but it doesn’t do a zigzag. When I tried it on my Janome, with topstitching thread in the bobbin, my machine was like, “You’re hilarious. I’m not doing that.” [ETA: I did my topstitching with regular thread in the bobbin… I just thought I needed topstitching thread in the bobbin to do bar tacks). I can’t adjust the presser foot pressure, which might have solved that problem. I settled for backstitching a few times on my Juki. Fine by me! Otherwise everything was easy- I didn’t even have trouble making a nice buttonhole with my basic Janome! Yay!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Next up, materials. I used denim from Mood that I bought a couple of years ago. I’m not certain what the stretch percentage is in the fabric, but I compared it to a pair of Levi’s that has 2% Lycra and it felt similar to me, so it’s in the right ballpark. I used regular navy thread for the seams and a spool of Mettler topstitching thread. It was my first time using that heavier thread, and it looks really cool! I’m glad that I tried it! I had jeans buttons and rivets in my stash from Taylor Tailor (I used them for my Moss mini and my Romy anorak). I felt pretty bad pounding on the rivets (using a hammer and the back of my cast iron skillet)… my poor neighbors were probably wondering what on earth that sound was! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the jeans button on securely enough, so it popped off right as I was heading out to take blog photos. I decided to scrap the photo op and just take the jeans to Star Snaps so they could set the button, something Puu recommended to me (she told me it’s Kenneth King’s favorite spot for snaps/rivets/etc!). It cost me all of 45 seconds and $2 and I had a snug, secure button! I used scraps of cotton shirting for the pocket bags… actually, every single thing I used for these jeans I already had! Stash-bustin’ win!!!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

OK, let’s talk fit! This is the thing I was most scared about. I’ve seen many sewists discuss pants fitting, and they bandy about all kinds of terrifying terms (ex: “crotch whiskers”. I WANT NO PART OF THIS.) So I dove in with more than a little trepidation. My waist and hip measurements match the size 4 measurements, so I was able to cut a straight size. When I basted everything together, I noticed that I was getting some gaping in the back (a frequent issue for me… I used to have to take my RTW jeans to the tailor’s to have them taken in back there, ugh). So I pinned out a dart in the back yoke and altered the pattern piece by slashing and overlapping 1/4″ to remove the excess I took out in the dart. Then I took out a 1/4″ tuck in the same spot on the waistband, twice (once for each side since you cut two back yokes and only one waistband). If anyone needs a visual for this, let me know and I’d be happy to show you what I did. I could probably have taken out a smidge more, but I didn’t want to risk things getting too tight after a big bowl of spaghetti!  After altering the pattern, I just recut the yoke and waistband pieces and my muslin became a wearable pair of jeans! OK, full disclosure: I had to cut the waistband THREE times… once for the original muslin, once after changing the fit, and one more time after I accidentally sewed the pieces together upside-down, completely ignoring the instructions and notches WHOOOOOPS).

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Oh, you know, just relaxin’ with my hands on my head awkwardly so you guys can see the top of my waistband…

On my next pair, I plan to use flat-felled seams for a cleaner finish. Since this was a muslin, I basted the seams to check the fit, then just serged the seams and topstitched them down. I may give myself a little more room just through the knee so the fit is just like my favorite pair of RTWs. And, here’s where I could use some advice- there’s something a little strange happening at the front crotch (I don’t think they’re crotch whiskers… at least, I really hope not) but I don’t know what’s causing it. Too much length? Any thoughts? Also, I didn’t realize until I was nearly done with my jeans that the topstitching thread was getting all gross and birds-nest-y on the underside when my machine needed to go over something thick like a belt loop. This problem was easily solved by folding up a piece of denim and placing it behind the belt loop so the presser foot wouldn’t have to go over it at an angle. I’ll be sure to use this every time on the next pair! You can also buy a “humpjumper” (STOP SNICKERING) just for this purpose for a couple of bucks, so that’s an option if you want something more professional. :)

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

If you can’t tell by now, I’m a jeans sewing convert! I’m so, so impressed by this pattern, and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to sew these up! I really appreciate the way that Heather has taken garments that are scary (swimsuit, jeans) and made them approachable and even fun to sew. Thanks, Heather, for the fun pattern, and for letting me be your muse! So if you’re thinking about sewing a pair of jeans, but you feel skeptical or nervous, I really recommend you give the Ginger jeans a try! I was so pleasantly surprised by how easy this process was, so much so that I’ve already planning a second pair [whispers] in a novelty denim! You can buy the pattern here, if you’re interested!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans | Ginger Makes

Guys. What do you think? Do these look like real jeans? Would you sew your own jeans? Have you already? If so, how did it go? What’s the scariest thing you can imagine sewing?

Now, Heather, PLEASE don’t release a bra pattern because I really, really, REALLY don’t want to sew one! ;)

Let’s Go to the (Blog) Hop + Fun at FIT!

Anybody else hear the phrase “blog hop” and get “At the Hop” stuck in their head all day? I mean, I ain’t MAD… it’s a catchy tune! I’ll wait a minute for you to finish dancing.

OK. I was nominated for the writing blog hop by two of my favey-faves, Amanda of Bimble & Pimble and Vicki of Vicki Kate Makes. If you haven’t checked out their blogs before, you definitely should!

Amanda is an Aussie with a heart of gold and an infectious enthusiasm for sewing and life. Everything she posts is a hoot to read and her photos are always hilarious. Plus, she has two dogs as well, so I don’t feel like the only crazy dog lady around!

Vicki lives in the UK and is one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever internet-met. She is so thoughtful and encouraging, and I would love to share a cup of tea with her and chat her ear off in real life. She’s got a passion for cute fit & flares and always picks a great print! Also, her son is, quite arguably, the cutest child on the face of the planet. I mean, THAT SMILE.

Let’s get down to business. The questions! Now, there were slightly different questions on Amanda’s and Vicki’s posts… I have no idea if these are two separate hops or what that’s about, but I’m being totally cheeky and combining them here!

1.) Why do you write/sew?

I got into film/TV, like most people in the field, because I’m an artsy-fartsy type. But the actual job is all organization, logistics, and problem-solving. I fell into sewing accidentally when a coworker invited me to take an intro sewing class with her and was immediately hooked. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed having a creative outlet! I love that sewing sits at the intersection of creativity and pragmatism- you get the fun process of turning an idea into a finished thing, but it’s also wearable and usable (unlike when I was really into painting and gave one to my parents… who hung it up in their laundry room).

As far as the writing part goes, I’ve always been a writer of some sort, from keeping ridiculous diaries and having an unreasonable number of pen pals as a kid (thanks to my parents who let me use tons of stamps to send letters all over the world!) to writing awkward screenplays in college and keeping a blog about books when I first moved to NYC. But I’ve really appreciated finding the sewing blog community because it’s so much more fun to connect with people over the shared love of craft! I’m an extreme extrovert and I love being part of an online community where I’m constantly finding new bloggers, new techniques, and new ideas. And it’s so cool to befriend people online and in real life that you otherwise wouldn’t cross paths with- it’s nice to interact with people from different walks of life!

2.) What is your writing/sewing process?

My sewing process generally begins with a list of projects to make that I write up every time the seasons change and then promptly ignore in favor of whatever suits my fancy! I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants” person and I tend to make whatever I’m in the mood for, although I’m trying to be a little more focused so that I’m spending my time wisely. In the past I’ve often gotten to the end of a season and realized that I didn’t make the garment I most wanted to wear, so I’m trying to remedy that and prioritize makes a bit more.

My writing process is pretty unorganized. I take blog photos and then sort of blast out a post without thinking through it too much. I’ve recently started a little notebook to keep notes in for each project because I often forget what changes I’ve made to a pattern, what size I cut, or what changes I’d like to make the next time. Hopefully this will help me remember things and write more detailed posts!

3.) How does it differ from others in its genre?

I don’t take things very seriously around here, which might be different from some blogs. Sewing is about experimentation and play for me, rather than a serious pursuit. I want to do a good job and use the right techniques, but I like to try new things and don’t mind looking a little goofy. Also, pugs! (See also: Where Heather Grows and Shanni Loves for more pug-spiration)

4.) How do you keep motivated to blog?

I feel like I’m checking in with my friends when I blog, but even when I’m not blogging with super frequency, I like to stay on top of my blogroll and see what everyone else is up to. Blogging has always felt like a dialogue to me, and since I’m super chatty, I always want to do it. The only thing that’s a mojo killer for me is feeling obligated to post. I receive a lot of requests to review books or pattern test, and I only say yes to a few things because I don’t want to feel like blogging is a heavy responsibility. The second I “have” to do something, my inner rebellious teen just doesn’t wanna do it and I don’t want to blog at all, so I try to keep obligations to a minimum. I feel like you would be able to tell if my heart’s not in it! Also, if there’s a garment that I don’t feel like blogging about, I just don’t do it! I try to review every new pattern I try, but I hate asking Man Friend to help me with photos of a basic garment or something I’ve made before, so I just skip ahead to the next thing to cut down on the number of photo shoots he has to do.

5.) What are you working on right now?

Ooh, I’m so excited to tell you! I’m starting in on a coat project! Right now I’m still not quite settled on the fabric or the pattern (I want to make six or seven coats, but I NEED to just make one), although I’ve gotten the options down to two fabrics and two patterns and I just need to make the final decision. I’ve just ordered a used copy of The Complete Book of Tailoring by Adele Margolis and am anxiously awaiting its delivery! Still trying to decide if I want to go crazy with interlining and tailoring… decisions, decisions!

Now, I had a hard time deciding who to choose to do this hop next, so I decided to cheat a little and pick the authors of the two blogs I’ve followed for the longest time and for the shortest! I haven’t emailed them, so don’t feel any pressure to do it, girls, but do check out their blogs, everyone! Gail at Today’s Agenda is one of the very first bloggers I followed that’s still active, and I’m anxiously following her October tailored blazer project! Chloe’s blog, Loops and Life, is brand new to me, but I love her style and kinda want to steal all her handmade clothes! If any of you readers want to answer these questions, consider yourselves nominated!

OK, I have a little business to attend to! Patricia from Laurence King Publishing asked me to announce an event that’s happening at FIT on Tuesday, November 4th. They’re bringing three of their authors to FIT to speak about their books. I’m really looking forward to Karolyn Kiisel’s draping demonstration- I’ve watched her on the DVD that accompanies Draping: The Complete Course, and she’s super entertaining! New Yorkers, come check it out! You don’t need an FIT ID to get into this event, luckily. :)

Speaking of FIT, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet on the blog, but I’m taking a ladies’ tailoring course this semester and it’s super fun! I’ll give you a full run-down when I’ve finished the class, but… I’m sort of scared even saying this out loud… I’m kind of getting into slower sewing processes. I KNOW. It’s very soothing for this fidgety gal to do repetitive hand sewing!

Alright, what’s shaking with you guys? What are you working on these days? What’s new?

Book Report: Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress (+ Giveaway!)

Hello, friends! Hope you’re all having a great week!

Today I have a book review to share with you! Chronicle Books sent me a copy of Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress. The book features 10 patterns to help you recreate iconic LBDs from the 1930s to the 2000s, and 10 variations on these patterns that are shown in colors or prints to help you imagine these dresses in another setting. I’m not really into historical or vintage sewing, but I thought some of you might like to see the book, so I agreed to check it out. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the dresses, for the most part, aren’t too costume-y!

Coco Chanel-inspired

Coco variation

The author is Dolin Bliss O’Shea, a technical designer and patternmaker. To  be honest, I’m often leery of the patterns in books like this- they just don’t always seem to work- but knowing the author’s background and qualifications makes me much more comfortable.

Joan Crawford-inspired… I really like the waist inset. Pretty!

The designs are inspired by Coco Chanel, Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Mary Quant, Liza Minnelli, Anjelica Huston, Princess Diana, and Kate Moss… a few of the usual suspects, but a few that are a bit off the beaten path. It would have been nice to have some diversity in the lineup, though.

Ava Gardner-inspired

Ava variation

The sizing in the book runs from 33″-25″-36″ (XS) to 45″-37″-48″ (XL). The patterns are printed on lightweight paper, about the weight of newsprint, and they’re double-sided so they need to be traced. But they’re crazy messes to trace like Japanese sewing books or Burda magazines… I sometimes buy those, and never work up the energy to trace them!

Audrey Hepburn-inspired

Audrey variation

I’m a little bit mean, and I snickered a tad at the wigs the models wear to look more like their inspirations. I found them a tiny bit distracting, but I’m childish and silly. :)

Grace Kelly-inspired. I really, really like the lines of this, especially with the sheer fabric at the shoulders.

I bet that folks who like sewing dresses would enjoy this book. There’s a lot of bang for your buck, since the MSRP is 30USD and you get so many patterns. And they’re actually all really wearable. Also, the bodices and skirts for the Joan, Audrey, Ava, and Grace dresses are interchangeable for even more versatility. Sadly, I probably won’t do too much sewing from the book as I’m in a self-imposed dress ban at the moment. My closet is packed full of dresses, but I only have a few tops and they’re all pretty grungy, so I’m making it an effort to make tops instead of dresses for the foreseeable future! Turns out you CAN have too many dresses! :o

Mary Quant-inspired

Now, the good part! I have an extra copy to give away! If you’d like to be entered in the drawing, please enter your name and email into the survey below (it’s just gotten too crazy trying to figure out email addresses from comments… this way there’s no room for error!). I’ll close the giveaway on Wednesday, October 22nd at 9PM EST and choose a winner with a random number generator. Yay!

Liza Minnelli-inspired

Liza variation

Alright, guys, what is your ideal little black dress? Have you made one? Are there any historical dresses or outfits that you’d love to recreate?

Ginger Made: Undercover Hood + Hudson Pants!

Hi, friends! Hope everyone’s had a wonderful weekend! Question for you: those of you who blog, do you find it hard to blog basics? I often find that I start wearing them right away, and once I’ve worn something a few times it feels kind of silly to blog about it! I’m also not sure if people are interested in reading about basics- too boring, maybe? But I decided to finally share these garments as I wear them ALL the time and it just doesn’t seem polite to ignore them.

Let’s start with the pants! These are the True Bias Hudson Pants. Kelli is a blogger I’ve admired for a long time- her style is just so cool. I kinda want to break into her house and steal everything out of her closet (and her daughter’s… Kelli’s made her some awesome clothes!!!).

I tested this pattern when Kelli was developing it, but these pants were made with the final pattern (I made two pairs during the testing process, but the fabric I had in my stash was earmarked for my sister, so I sent them to her. Then I somehow lost or threw away the test pattern, so I printed out the new one when I made these up). I am one size smaller in the waist than in the hip for this pattern, so I went with the larger size since it’s fitted through the hips and the waist is elasticized.

There’s not much to say about constructing these puppies! They’re very straightforward and quick to sew, and the end result is really cute. I’ve also made the Papercut Patterns Anima pants (Kelli and Katie developed their patterns independently at right about the same time, coincidentally… great minds think alike!), and compared to those, the Hudsons are a much slimmer fit (here are my Animas for comparison). I used a thick, strange knit from Mood. It’s definitely something synthetic as it feels almost… squeaky?… against my skin, but the print is so cool that I couldn’t resist it! I really like how they look in this print!

The top is the Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood… minus the hood! Katie sent me the PDF as a thank-you for testing the Anima pants, and I was really happy to check it out. It’s got the option for a hood (obvs) as well as a kangaroo pocket, and there is a cropped version, too, but I decided to do a basic pullover this time around. I used a wool jersey from Mood, an end-of-bolt remnant I’d had in my stash for a really long time, so I was glad to use it up! I made this for our trip to Iceland in July and it was absolutely PERFECT! We spent most of our time outside in kinda crummy weather, and it kept me nice and warm layered over a buttondown and under a waterproof shell. It was nice because at the the end of the day, I could take off my jacket when we sat down to dinner and I actually looked pretty presentable and not rumply and gross. I wish I had taken some photos of it in Iceland, but I think I had my rain jacket on the whole time! You’ll have to hop over to Cashmerette if you want to see awesome handmades-frolicking-in-Iceland photos. :)

I’ve worn the grey sweater so much that I decided to make another! I’ve had this grey and white stripe in my stash for a while and was planning to make a Breton-style dress with it. But let’s be honest- I’d wear that dress every once in a while, but I’d wear a pullover constantly! So it became another hood-less Undercover Hood! (Lladybird made a dress with the same fabric… cute, right?)

Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood | Ginger Makes

Here’s where fabric is funny: the striped fabric is stretchier than the wool, so the sweatshirt felt way bigger. Strange, right? After sewing it up, I took off the cuffs and hem band, shortened them by 2″ and 1″ respectively, and it looked much better. It was just a bit too slouchy before! Sidenote: is there a way to perfectly match stripes on a raglan sleeve? I just. couldn’t. do. it. Ugh! Hopefully it’s not too noticeable.

Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood | Ginger Makes

Now, this fabric is a really nice weight, and I didn’t want the little bit I had leftover to wither away in my stash, so I did what I had to do: I sewed a pug sweater.

I know.

I’m sorry.

Milla Milla Dog Hoodie & Sweatshirt | Ginger Maes

Somebody isn’t happy about his new sweater.

Pretty sure I’ve now officially entered Crazy Dog Lady status. I didn’t want to fuss around with drafting a pattern, so I downloaded one from Milla Milla, a Japanese company that offers PDF dog sewing patterns. It’s Very Purple Person‘s fault! She made matching shirts for her son and her dog that turned out really cute, so I downloaded the same pattern. Pugs don’t fit well into regular ready-made dog clothing because their proportions are different. Hear me out! They have thick barrel chests and basically need dog FBAs (OK OK OK I know I’m crazy!)! But this pattern was drafted specifically for French bulldogs  and since they’re also squat, chesty dogs, I thought it would be perfect!

Milla Milla Dog Hoodie & Sweatshirt | Ginger Makes

This is the Hoodie & Sweatshirt pattern, and it was surprisingly complicated! Once I watched the video showing how to sew it up, it was a breeze, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how the pattern pieces went together before watching it. Fellow pug owners, if you’re looking for the right size, just select “FB” from the drop-down menu. There’s also a version drafted specifically for dachshunds… it even comes in two sizes! So Anne, Juli… you’re covered!

Now let’s play a little game of “Who Wore It Better?”! Feel free to cast your vote!

I have no idea how to wrap this post up so I’m just going to stop talking. What’s on your sewing table? Have you ever sewed for your dog or cat? Be honest!!!

Ginger Made: Little Pink Ninot Jacket

Hi, guys. Thank you so much for your kind comments about my grandma. No matter how much time we have with our loved ones, it’s never enough, but it’s nice to share happy memories about them. So thanks for listening and for your sweet words.

This might be a little weird, but when I heard the sad news, I sort of buried myself in this jacket project. It ended up being way more hand-labor-intensive than my sewing projects usually are, but that was really soothing. It was nice to have something absorbing, but not difficult, to keep me occupied.

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket | Ginger Makes

But I’ll back up and start from the beginning. This is the Ninot Jacket pattern from Pauline Alice. I downloaded it a while ago, thinking it would be easy to fit long-distance (I sew up a muslin and mail it, then my mom or sister texts me photos and I try to identify any fit issues). The relaxed fit made it quick to adjust- I just did a 1/4″ broad shoulder adjustment and that was it (I’d planned to lengthen it, but my mom liked the shorter length and she wears higher-rise jeans than I do, so it works on her). I realized later that I’d used the size I cut for my sister, so if I’d used the proper size for my mom, I wouldn’t have needed any additional width.

muslin!

The pattern came together easily, except for a small problem with the sleeve. The upper and under sleeve pieces didn’t match along the seamlines (the undersleeve was shorter by about 7/8″), so I re-drew it and trued the seams. I alerted Pauline to the problem, so it may be fixed in newer versions, but it’s worth checking before you cut into your fabric. Otherwise, I liked the pattern. It’s a bit more bare bones than most indie patterns, though. For example, I would’ve liked lengthen/shorten lines, and for the pattern pieces to be labeled with which fabric should be used (self, lining, etc.), but it’s not the end of the world at all. It was easy to use and the end results are nice.

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket | Ginger Makes

The fabric is a Marc Jacobs cotton/linen blend that I ordered online from Mood when it was one of their deal of the day fabrics (it’s still available here if you like it). I ordered it as a backup when I was making my runway-inspired two-piece set back in February, so I’m happy to get it out of my stash! The fabric is loosely woven, so I serged all the edges to keep them from ravelling, even though I knew they would be covered by the lining. This jacket better last a long time!

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket | Ginger Makes

I used medium-weight woven weft interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, leftover from my Colette Anise jacket, and it gave just the right amount of stability to the jacket. Even though the fabric pressed well, the seam allowances were a bit thick, so I took my time and catch-stitched all the seams open so they would stay nice and flat. I wouldn’t ordinarily go nuts with something like that, but it was very meditative to do something repetitive and it was just what I needed. Similarly, I installed the lining by hand on my 12-hour car trip back to the Midwest, and while it took about 88,000 stitches, it was nice to have something to occupy my hands on the trip. The lining was a cream-colored acetate from my stash, purchased eons ago from Mood NYC. More stash-busting!

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket | Ginger Makes

OK, finishing touches: I didn’t do everything the hard way- I took the coat to Jonathan Embroidery and had them do the buttonholes! Call me crazy, but for some reason I don’t really like the look of bound buttonholes, so I had keyhole buttonholes done instead. Since there were only three buttonholes, that only set me back $3- not bad! I used covered buttons (covered by my brother, heeheehee… gotta put ‘em to work!) for a cute and classic look. The buttons and the welt pockets are basically invisible in this busy print, but they’re there, I promise.

I think this looks pretty cute on my mom. She has a fun personality and doesn’t take her wardrobe too seriously, so I knew she would enjoy a pink print. She’s a very casual dresser, but she likes styles that are classic or slightly vintage, so I thought this cropped swing jacket would be just the thing for her. Plus it was nice to be able to give her something happy at a sad time. I think she likes it, don’t you?

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket | Ginger Makes

I did nothing to prompt this move. Modeling just runs in the family!

OK, what about you? Do you enjoy hand stitching, or are you a speedy machinist? What’s on your sewing table these days?

Goodbye, Grandma

A favorite picture of my grandparents, taken a few years ago at my sister’s wedding.

I’ve been away for a few weeks, and last night as I wrote my post for the Mood Sewing Network, it felt very strange to write about sewing again without acknowledging the reason for my absence. I lost my beloved grandmother about a week and a half ago, and while I generally keep personal stuff off this blog, I just feel like she was too much a part of my life to let her passing go without comment. I just want to share some photos and a few things about her to honor her memory, if that’s OK, before diving back into my regular posts.

Pretty sure it’s Grandma’s fault that all her kids and grandkids are crazy animal lovers!

My parents were very young when I was born, so my grandma was really involved in my childhood, more than most grandparents. I was even lucky enough to spend part of my childhood living next door to her. She was unbelievably energetic, hardworking, and selfless. If something needed to be done, or if she thought it needed to be done, she just did it, regardless of how difficult or unpleasant the task was (don’t get me started on the time Man Friend and I stopped to visit her and found her, well into her 80s, at the top of a rickety ladder cleaning out her gutters!!). She took care of huge gardens and canned and froze tons of vegetables and fruits for the extended family to enjoy (I don’t think I ate a store-bought vegetable until I started eating school lunches!). She drove us all around town, she babysat all the time, and she went to all our school concerts and sports games.

It was a family joke that my grandma never cooked- aside from her holiday jello salads, I don’t think she ever made me anything other than instant oatmeal or Kraft macaroni & cheese. But she and my grandpa were on a first-name basis with every diner waitress in town!

My grandma on the right with her sister, Marilyn.

My grandma had a hard life with lots of heartbreak and sorrow, but she was a very strong person and her response to tough situations was also to find a way to be of use to others. You could count on her for anything! She loved music and dancing, and found a lot of joy in those things.

Her wedding day, in 1946.

I’m going to miss her so very, very much, but I know that I’m lucky to have had such an amazing woman in my life for so many years. I’m so grateful for all that she’s done for me, and for her example of generous living. I’m grateful for all the great memories I have of her and I’ll never forget her.

I love you, Grandma!

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