Interview with O! Jolly!, Knit Textile Designer!

Hi, guys! I hope you’re all well! OK, I know that most of us who sew are into fabric, but I’ll speak for myself and say that while I like sewing, I LOVE fabric. But I struggle a bit because I’ve learned that the textiles industry isn’t very earth-friendly and doesn’t have a great track record for human rights. Of course, not all fabric is produced in an unethical way, but it’s really hard to know where each bolt of fabric comes from. So I was really excited when I heard that Olgalyn Jolly was producing a line of cotton sweater knits that are grown, ginned, spun, and knit in the United States! The knits are non-GMO and they’re not dyed- the beautiful brown and green are grown-in color! It’s exciting to see fabric options that are healthier for the earth and for the producers. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s excited to learn more about healthier fabric choices, so let me introduce you to Olgalyn!

Here’s Olgalyn in a gorgeous Grainline Morris blazer made from her color-grown Mesa plaid… click on the picture to go to her blog post!

Olgalyn is a knit textile designer here in NYC; she creates beautiful sweater knits for fashion designers and now for home sewers! She also blogs as O! Jolly! I’ve gotten to know her through the large circle of sewing enthusiasts here in New York and I’m really glad that I have. She is gracious, kind, and warm, and is the kind of person with whom you can feel instantly at ease. But for those of you who are far away, I encourage you to get to know her through her Instagram. Her photos always inspire me, whether she’s snapping pics of her own designs, cool knitwear she sees in her travels, or her neighborhood. Her journey to becoming a knit designer is an unusual one, and her love for knits is so exciting that I’ll let her tell you herself! Take it away, Olgalyn!

Q: I’d love to hear about your journey to becoming a knit designer! What was the path that led to where you are now? Did you study textile design? And why knits?

A: I had a career in show business; I was a dancer who also sang. Dancers can have quite limited careers. The body simply gives out or acts up one body part at a time. I’d been dancing since I was three and wanted to find something else that I was passionate about and had been thinking about my next career for a couple of years before I left the biz. I was on tour in Japan with the international company of a Broadway show in the mid 80s at a time when I was also becoming aware of the Japanese fashion designers who were achieving international fame. I fell in love with the color combinations and concepts from from Kansai Yamamoto and the shapes and textures from Yohji Yamamoto. I especially loved the sweaters.

I appreciate knits in their many forms. Knits can be form fitting without darts or they can be extravagantly draped. I enjoy the process of designing knitting stitch patterns. There’s a formality; it’s a grid. You can build texture, play with color, or even shift the grid.

I never took a prescribed course of study, which I regret a little bit now. Instead I took the technical classes I really wanted to take with the people I wanted to study with, kind of an à la carte education. I studied Weft Knitting Technology with George Tay at Fashion Institute of Technology, who’d been highly recommended by my Draping teacher at Parsons when she found out I loved knits. At Parsons I also studied with Susanna Lewis, author of my absolute favorite machine knitting technique and resource book, A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabric. I took several other classes at FIT over the years.

I made sweaters for other designers and designed sweaters under my own small label for a little while as I gradually began to understand that the part that really got me excited wasn’t the sweaters. It was designing the knit fabrics — coming up with stitch patterns, trying the patterns out with various yarns and yarn combinations. I didn’t get to specialize in designing sweater knit fabrics until years later however.

Q: How does your design process change when you’re designing for home sewers?

A: My design process changes significantly depending on whether I’m working with a client (fashion designer) who has a strong idea of the type of design she wants or if I’m submitting work to an agent who’s been “forecasting trends” or if I’m designing independently.

Because my new sweater knit fabric line for home sewers was going to be exclusively for cutting and sewing by people who do don’t necessarily do this as a profession, I wanted this collection to be relatively stable. I made certain design choices so that someone who was venturing into the wonderful world of sweater knits would have success their first time. Sweater knits, otherwise, can be notoriously unstable if there’s a lot of openwork or if the fabric is loosely knitted.

Q: Why did you choose cotton for this collection?

A: I chose cotton for this collection because there simply aren’t enough cotton sweater fabrics available to home sewers. I absolutely love wool and hope my next collection will include wool, but cotton is a true easy care fabric, that can make beautiful sweater fabrics and therefore beautiful sweaters.

Q: I’m really interested in natural dyes and more earth-friendly textiles, but before your new collection, I’d never heard of color-grown cotton. It’s such an exciting idea! I’d love to hear more about how it’s grown and processed!

A: As I understand it, cotton grows naturally in various shades in parts of North and South America and Asia, but the strength and longer staple length of white cotton made white cotton more favorable early on for commercial development. Sally Fox is the person usually credited with the breeding of color cotton in this country in the late 1980s. She selected for qualities that would allow the color cotton lint to be spun in conventional mills. Color cotton began to be used commercially in the 1990s by a few commercial brands. I remember that Levi’s used color cotton for a little while. I don’t know if they still do. Sally Fox also has her own line of products.

The yarns I’ve used for my new fabric originate from a different seed stock than Sally Fox’s. I was so excited when I was able to find a source of this beautiful yarn! All cotton used to make these yarn was grown in the United States by farmers who use sustainable growing practices. The color cotton is spun with a natural white cotton to create the earthy pastels I’m using, giving a very subtle heathered look to the color jerseys.

Q: What’s next for O! Jolly!? Do you plan to introduce any new ethical fibers to your shop?

A: I hope so. I was recently introduced to an Oregon rancher whose sheep are the source of the most wonderful wool. The ranch is 30,000 acres and the people who live and work the ranch take very seriously their stewardship of the land, their domestic animals, and the wildlife.
Once one’s aware of the impact that the textile industry can have on the earth and human lives, it’s very difficult to go back to conventionally produced textiles. Right now I’m at the very beginning of a transition to ethical fibers professionally with my fabric design and also in my home life, just asking questions and taking steps, little by little. I’m glad there are alternatives available, but sometimes they’re hard to find and they’re usually more expensive. (Yes, that means buying less!) I hope that the sewing community finds the ethically produced textile a valuable and worthwhile product and will seek it out, whenever possible.

Thank you so much for telling your story, Olgalyn! It’s so fascinating to learn more about you!

If you want to know more about O! Jolly! knits, check out the links below. I’ll also be blogging a garment made with one of her gorgeous sweater knits very soon!

Book Report: The Shirtmaking Workbook!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! It’s been so long since I last blogged- I’ve missed you guys! Between starting a new job, taking an accelerated summer session class at FIT, and teaching a class at Brooklyn Craft Company, things have been really hectic around here! But even though I haven’t had much time to sew, I’ve been missing that part of my life, and so I was really excited when Creative Publishing offered to send me a copy of David Page Coffin’s new book, The Shirtmaking Workbook. It’s really been enjoyable to read through the book, dreaming about adaptations I can make to my favorite shirt patterns!

I should probably preface this review with the fact that I really love shirts. I love wearing them, and I’ve even come to enjoy making them. I even love making them for other people! There’s just something so satisfying about the process of making a shirt. So I find this book particularly thrilling because it focuses on the details of shirts. I really appreciate this- sewing patterns can be very basic, especially for things like men’s buttondowns, so it’s nice to have a resource to help you customize your handmade garments.

DPC’s (I should probably just refer to him as David, but that doesn’t seem formal enough and also doesn’t make him sound like a rapper) previous book, Shirtmaking, is a very thorough guide to making elegant, professional shirts. I bought it when I first started sewing shirts, a few years ago, after it was recommended on several blogs. I have to confess, though, that as a new sewer, I was overwhelmed by all the detail and wasn’t ready for such a serious book. I need to revisit it now that I have a better understanding of basic shirt construction so I can finesse my techniques a bit!

The Shirtmaking Workbook feels quite different from Shirtmaking, to me. It is very design-oriented, with lots and lots of photos. DPC investigates a number of RTW shirts and compares their details and construction. I love snooping at RTW clothing, particularly higher-end clothing, so it’s really fun to look at these examples. He also looks at vintage shirts, which I found really interesting and I’m guessing many of you would really be into!

DPC’s approach to shirtmaking is to work from blocks and change up the details. This makes sense to me, especially since most people who have been sewing for a while have a shirt pattern that works for them. He discusses blocks and useful sewing techniques, and after that, the final five chapters each deal with options for a particular kind of shirt: the dress shirt block, the sport/work shirt block, the knit shirt block, the folk/rectangular shirt block, and the shirt jacket.

Also included in the book are profiles of several designers. I really enjoyed seeing their work and reading about them. I found them all very inspiring! And at the end of each chapter, there is a section entitled “Resources”. Here DPC suggests further reading, whether in the form of books, blogs, DVDs, or Threads articles, as well as specialized tools and techniques. Yeah, I can definitely google different techniques, but it’s nice to have a vetted list of the best resources!

Hi, Peter! Hi, Jen!

An interesting thing about the book is the online content. The book was released earlier than anticipated, so not all of the online content is available, but what I saw and downloaded was very cool. There is a PDF guide to all of the resources that are available so you can find what you’re looking for in an organized way. There are large photo sets of the different garments that are featured briefly in the book so you can take a closer look at the shirts. There are lots and lots of patterns for different collars, cuffs, plackets, etc. I wondered how you could have patterns for things like this that could be multisized, but the collars are sized by the length of the neck opening (ex: 12″). I haven’t had a chance to use any of the patterns yet, but I’m looking forward to it. There will be interviews with the designers featured in the book (they weren’t ready for download yet when I last checked the website), and there are detailed instructions for some of the techniques that are briefly discussed in the book. Considering that the retail price of the book is $27 and you can get it on Amazon for less than $20USD, even if you only got the online resources that are available right now, you’d be getting a bargain. So I’m looking forward to checking out the additional resources as they become available!

I found this book really interesting and was really inspired by DPC’s approach to shirtmaking. His attitude isn’t “do it like this”, but rather, “try it and see what happens”. For example, he shows you different collars and photographs how they look when you change the shape up slightly. I’m really excited to drape a couple of different collars and see what they look like! I know in the online sewing world, sometimes it feels like there’s a scarcity of books that aren’t aimed at beginners, so it was really refreshing to find a book that (I think) would be inspiring to newbies and advanced sewers alike (and super inspiring to shirt geeks like me)!

Now, I’m going to take a page (ahhhhh pun alert!!) out of DPC’s book (double pun!!! SORRY!) and leave you with some additional resources:

Now tell me- what have you been up to lately? Sewing any shirts? Feeling inspired to sew any shirts? Do tell! :)

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well and enjoyed a lovely weekend! I had a great weekend enjoying the beautiful May weather and hanging out with my visiting in-laws. I even managed to sneak in some sewing and a trip to see Mad Max: Fury Road! How about you guys?

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

Question: do you fear trousers? Even though I love wearing them, I’ve been a little nervous at the thought of sewing them. Welt pockets, a front fly, fit… there’s just so much to think about! But after sewing up two pairs of trousers for my second semester of ladies’ tailoring this spring, I was stoked to take on a pair for myself! So I was excited when I saw the Guise Pants in the new Papercut Patterns collection- I was really hoping to find a pattern for pleated trousers! Katie kindly sent me a review copy for free… thank you so much!

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

The pattern features front pleats and a fly closure, with side pockets and back welt pockets. A unique feature of the pants is the elasticated back waist- I’m not usually very excited about elastic waists as they can look a little too casual, but my waistline fluctuates constantly by a few inches, so it’s nice to have some flexibility there. Plus, I never tuck in my shirts, so you’ll never even see the elastic in the back!

My plan was to make these in a nice soft wool, a pretty mint green, if I could find one, and if I couldn’t, in grey. But somewhere along the way I had the idea to cut into this strange synthetic jacquard from my stash. I bought 3 yards from Chic Fabric ages ago for something like $7/yd, planning to make an Elisalex for a winter wedding, but I didn’t have time and it’s sat in my stash ever since. It’s a pale gold that’s really metallic (hard to tell from the photos), and the wrong side is actually mauve. It smells a little funny when you press it, frays like crazy, and is super scratchy. So maybe not the best choice! But it was really fun to use! The thread, button, and zipper were in my stash, too, and I had *just* enough elastic to make it, so these are a total stash bust! Yay!

Here’s a shot so you can see where the rise sits on me (a few inches below my natural waist).

OK, let’s talk construction. These are a very straightforward sew and nothing was too confusing or difficult. I followed the instructions for the welt pockets and fly and everything went smoothly. One thing I noticed is that Katie refers to “left” and “right” as you’re looking at the garment rather than as you wear it, the way some pattern companies do. It’s clear from the diagrams which side is which, though. There’s a typo on step 7- it should say 3/8″, not 3/4″. And one little thing I did differently from the instructions was to finish the curved edge of the fly facing before doing anything. It’s just easier for me that way. I also finished the hems with seam binding to help control the fraying.

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

As you can see, this fabric is pretty stiff, and these pants would probably look much better in something with more drape. I had to omit the button loops from the back pockets- they were just too bulky in this fabric. It’s kinda funny… in my tailoring class, I realized that I had most success with welt pockets when I chose fabrics that don’t fray easily, but for these trousers, I picked a jacquard that seemed to disintegrate in front of my eyes! Oops!

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

Next time I make this pattern, I’ll add 3/8″ to the lower edge of the waistband facing- Katie has you neaten the waistband edge and topstitch it down from the right side, but I prefer the seam allowance to be folded under. And I will add a bit more room through the ankle- I have been noticing lately that I just don’t have enough room there in almost every pair of RTW pants I own. I could stand to take these in at the side seam a bit, but I was afraid to fit these too snugly since the fabric is so ravelly! I thought I might blow my seams out if the trousers were too fitted!!!

Overall, I really like these pants! I know this relaxed fit isn’t for everyone, but I like to wear this tomboy style and am excited to work these into my wardrobe. I’m thinking I should wear them with a black top, or maybe a classic white buttondown? What do you guys think? I’m hoping they’re not too “mature lady”, as Man Friend described them. :D

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

Alright, fess up- are you afraid to sew trousers? If not, do you have a favorite pants pattern? Any you would recommend to me?

Steeplechase Leggings!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve blogged! Most of my sewing energy this month went towards the final projects for my tailoring class, but that’s over now so I am free to sew more fun stuff, yay!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Apologies for the pasty-white limbs… it’s been a long winter!

This is a little bit embarrassing, but, you guys, I can’t touch my toes! Even worse, I’ve NEVER been able to, not even when I was very small! So I’ve started doing yoga recently in a sad attempt to gain some flexibility and strength, and decided to sew up some clothes I can wear to class (I wore my lycra crazy dog lady leggings to my first class and oh wow, they do NOT breathe at all!).

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

I used the Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings pattern. Melissa Fehr and her husband visited several weeks ago and I got to play Garment District tour guide, yay! Melissa was kind enough to bring me a copy of this pattern, so I was stoked to sew them up! I’ve admired the Fehr Trade patterns for some time, but, to be honest, I’m not very comfortable in snug workout clothing. But loose clothing just doesn’t make much sense for yoga, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to try this pattern. PLUS, this style is modeled on equestrian garb, and you guys KNOW how I feel about horses! :D

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

I bought supplex at Spandex House on Melissa’s recommendation. I don’t know anything at all about athletic wear or technical fabrics, so I relied on her expertise and this fabric seems like a much better choice than lycra for a situation where you’re working out. Plus, it’s softer and not as slippery as spandex… definitely better for yoga! I bought a yard each of navy and fuchsia for $12/yard, and I was able to fit the full-length pattern pieces onto a yard (perfect for days when you don’t want to shave your legs before working out… I KNOW YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT), so the material cost was only $12 for each pair! And I even have some small pieces left over, enough to sew into sports bras when I need to replace my current ones. I don’t often feel like I’m saving money when I sew, but athletic apparel is so expensive that making your own can save a bundle!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

These leggings are pretty interesting to sew up- there’s no inseam, which is probably comfortable for people who run more than the few miles at a time that I can muster up! The pattern piece is pretty crazy-looking… it was fun to see how it went together! My waist is a size larger than my hips, so I opted to sew up the size that fit my hips since there’s an elasticized waist. The pattern has an optional inner pocket where you can stash money or a house key- I added it to one pair, but not to the other, so I could decide if I liked it or not. I shortened them by 2″ so they hit right at my ankle, and my rise is slightly lower than Melissa drafted because I used the 1″ elastic I had in my stash instead of the recommended 3/4″. But my personal preference is a pretty low rise… I might even shorten it a bit if I make another pair. Oh man, one more thing: I keep noticing on RTW and in sewing patterns that leg openings are really tight around my ankles… do I have cankles? Is there a cankle fit alteration???? Ugh!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Alright… let’s talk about what’s driving me CRAZY. The curved seams look AWFUL. They’re lumpy and ugly, and look sooooo homemade. I wish that I hadn’t serged the seams- I think that added a little bulk. In hindsight, I probably should have experimented with my serger to see if I could get a flatlock effect… I think that’s possible with the basic Brother that I have? Anyway, it’s kind of a bummer that these look so crummy, but they’re definitely wearable and will keep me comfortable during yoga, so really, that’s all that matters. But if anyone has any suggestions for how I can fix this, I’m all ears!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Alright, guys, do you make your own activewear? Is it possible to blind classmates with electric pink leggings? Am I the only one who really wants to give up mid-class and just lay face-down on the yoga mat?

Man Friend: “You’re not going to like this one”.

Color Me Fabric Tour!!!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I’ve got something a little different to show you today- kid sewing!

I met Hayley of Mouse House Creations last year and immediately wanted to be best friends with her. She’s super fun, sweet, and is involved with so many cool crafting adventures that it’s kinda crazy (she’s the designer behind Mouse House Creations and a co-founder of the Willow & Co pattern collective). So when she asked me to be part of the blog tour for her new fabric collection, I was stoked! And get this: it’s fabric that you can COLOR on! How fun is that?!

The collection is “Color Me” by Hayley Crouse for Michael Miller Fabrics. There are two variations, “A Royal Life” and “Space Adventures”, and each variation has a border print in addition to an all-over. Hayley worked with her kids, Ethan and Ainsley, to design the fabric, so everything that’s included on the fabric was requested by those two. Fun! I would have been so excited to customize my own fabric when I was a kid… I used to agonize for ages before picking out my Lisa Frank designs, so how great would it be if you could avoid the choice and have both killer whales AND golden retrievers?! Mind. Blown.

I decided that this fun fabric was a good excuse to sew something cute for my nephew. He’s two years old and is absurdly adorable, and now that he looks more like a little boy than a baby, it’s prime time to start making him cool clothes! So I chose “To the Moon and Back” for him because ALIENS. What kid doesn’t want a shirt covered in flying saucers?!

I mean, look at this little alien. I LOVE IT. It’s ridiculously cute.

I knew right away that I wanted to make a little buttondown for Noah. He’s too big for M6016, a tot-sized pattern that I used to make a teensy Magnum P.I. shirt. So I did what I always do when I’m stumped- I asked the friendly folks on Twitter for pattern recommendations! Becky Jo suggested I try Ottobre, and was kind enough to send me the 3/2012 issue. There are so many cute patterns packed into the magazine! I’m looking forward to trying out several of them.

I used pattern #19 in a size 96 (he’s between sizes, so sizing up seemed prudent). I made some modifications to the pattern to simplify it a bit- since the print is so over the top, the bias-bound hem and faced sleeves would be a bit much. I mean, the shirt is covered in aliens and planets! It doesn’t need anything else! ;)

Oh, and before I forget, the fabric is printed on Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture fabric, so it’s a bit thicker and softer than the quilting cottons in my stash. I think it will make for a really comfortable shirt!

I couldn’t resist… I had to try a little coloring myself! :D

Thank you for letting me be part of your tour, Hayley, and thank you for the fabric, Michael Miller! If you are interested in this fabric, check out the store locator, and be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour! The first blogger, An of Straight Grain, made an adorable fabric coloring book. I’ll be making these for the little people in my life, for sure!

One last thing: if Noah goes crazy coloring on all his clothes, it’s not my fault. :o

Grainline Morris Blazer x2!

Hi, guys! I hope you’re all well. Before we start talking sewing, I just want to take a moment to say that if you’re reading from Baltimore or Nepal, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. The firsthand updates from my sister in Baltimore and a childhood friend in Nepal have been so heartbreaking. Praying for healing, restoration, and safety for everyone!

OK, let’s talk about the Morris blazer. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of this pattern for ages! In fact, I’ve had a piece of ikat linen stashed away for it for something like two years! So I was surprised to find out that it was designed for stretch wovens or stable knits… pleasantly surprised! I had a RTW double-breasted blazer in French terry that I wore until it was dead, and never found a replacement. I frequently wear my woven blazers, but it’s nice to have something even easier to wear for situations where you’ll be running around or taking your jacket on and off.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

So, for April’s Mood Sewing Network project*, I ran to Mood with 15 minutes to spare before my evening class (NOT RECOMMENDED!) and raced straight up to the neoprene section. I’d planned to look for a fun print, but this color jumped out at me and I had to have it! As I had the fabric cut, another shopper spotted it and hovered, waiting to grab the bolt as soon as I was done with it. The color is that good!

Now, neoprene is one of those fabric fads that seem to pop up from time to time. All of a sudden it’s everywhere! I’ve been curious about it for a while, but I’ve mostly seen it used for bodycon dresses or pencil skirts and that’s just not my cup of tea (this particular fabric was labeled as Alexander Wang, and I’m pretty sure it’s what he used for this dress). But I thought it would be a fun experiment to try a nontraditional fabric for a blazer and thought it might work for the Morris since it’s such a streamlined design.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Before I sew with a new fabric type, I like to stitch samples to make sure I’m making good decisions before I start in on my garment. I had best results using my walking foot, a 75/11 ballpoint needle, and a regular straight stitch. Since the fabric is pretty thick, I had to lengthen my stitches a bit to get them to a normal size. I found that the fabric layers slipped a bit as I sewed, so I had to sew slowly and use lots of pins. I tested out binding the seams, but in the end decided to reduce bulk by just leaving them unfinished. As you can see, the lapels have tons of body in a fabric like this, which I like, but if I changed my mind, I could tack them down to the jacket front with a couple of teeny stitches.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

I interfaced the facing pieces with Pro-Tricot Deluxe Fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply (don’t worry- I fused a sample piece first to make sure nothing would melt!). But pressing is pointless on neoprene, so I topstitched the seam allowances down. I actually love how this looks- it gives the jacket a sporty feel. And when I needed to turn under the seam allowances of the facings, I machine stitched on the fold line so the perforations would help me make a crisp fold. The only place I ran into trouble was at the sleeve head. There’s no way to topstitch that seam, so I opted to catch stitch the seam allowances down. You can see slight indentations from the stitches on the right side, like a blind hem, but that looks much better than a mushy seam! Speaking of the sleeves, I got to do my favorite sleeve trick, which is hemming them before I set them in. It’s so much easier to navigate those little sleeve openings when you’re not wrestling the entire jacket out of the way!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Let’s talk about the pattern. It goes together quickly, which was so fun and satisfying compared to the sloooooooow tailoring projects that have been taking up most of my sewing time lately. It’s unlined and there aren’t any pockets,which was great for a keeping the bulk down. I did notice that the facing isn’t smooth where it meets the front hemline, like Lizzy mentioned. This goes away when the collar is flipped up, so I think the lapel rolling over in heavy, slick fabric makes the front sag a bit. I will probably go back and catch stitch the facings in place (or maybe even topstitch them!). Easy fix!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Otherwise everything went together smoothly and I didn’t have any issues. I made a 4, my usual Grainline size. I could stand to do a small narrow shoulder adjustment (I usually should, but I’m lazy and often just skip it), but otherwise everything fits well. The stretch of the neoprene is really pretty awesome- I had so much fun stretching my arms out to see how unrestricted my movement was in a stretchy blazer! I could totally throw a haymaker in this thing without popping a seam! Good to know that my outfit won’t get messed up if I get caught up in a street fight on my way to an important meeting!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

I was so pumped up after making this that I immediately cut out another! Anybody recognize this fabric? It’s leftover from my Lola dress two years ago! I’d hoped to turn it into a knit Victoria blazer, but was never confident about choosing a lining or dealing with the lapels in a knit. But the fabric was perfect for another Morris! Stash-busting win!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Now I’ve got a pile of fabric stacked up on my cutting table, just crying out to be blazers! I may be making nothing but Morrises for the next little while!!!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

How about you guys? Tempted to try this pattern? What kind of fabric would you use? And have you tried using neoprene? Any fabric fads you’re excited to try? Any you’re avoiding like the plague? Do tell!!!

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. :)

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt!

OK. It’s another quilt. Yeah. I know. Send help!! It’s an obsession!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

This is a gift for one of my dearest friends, one of the very first people I met when I moved to New York. She’s expecting a baby boy next month, and I’m just so excited to meet him!  So when I saw Miss Make‘s wonky log cabin tutorial, I knew I wanted to try it! I like that it’s a free-form way to build a quilt and that you don’t really need to be precise. Plus, the end results are so cool!

These quilt blocks came together really quickly, especially because I had help! My friend Carrie came over to help, so I cut and stitched and she pressed all the seams open- man, I wish I could always sew with an assistant! We came close to finishing the blocks in one afternoon! Piecing is a blast when you can chatter away the whole time! Anybody wanna be in a quilting bee with me? :)

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

The quilting part went much more smoothly on this quilt, thanks to the suggestions in The Practical Guide to Modern Patchwork.* I bought curved safety pins and they made a huge difference. And instead of trying to stitch in the ditch, I quilted 1/4″ from the seamlines inside each piece to kind of emphasize the irregular shapes created by the wonky log cabin process. It looks much better!

The only trouble I ran into with this project is that I found I needed more fabric than Devon suggested. I picked up an extra 3/8″ yard of fabric from the get-go and needed to buy another 3/8 to get the blocks to the correct size. So maybe grab a bit more just in case if you follow her tutorial.

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

Picking out coordinating prints was so much fun! My friend tends to wear lots of grey, so I wanted to start with grey and add in some soft color, but not go nuts with bright colors (always my first impulse!). She and her husband love cats, so I wanted a kitty print, and when I saw the dignified lion, it really made me laugh to include it with the kittens! Here are the fabrics I used, if anyone is interested:

I really liked making this quilt, mainly because it was fun to make something for a dear friend with another dear friend, but also because it’s so stress-free to construct quilt blocks this way. If you’re looking for a way to try out quilting but you’re worried about accuracy, you should really give this a try! C’mon, do it!! We can be quilt-obsessed together!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

*Before I forget, the winner of the Practical Guide to Modern Patchwork giveaway is Laura! Congrats!!! Also, I just realized I never announced the winner of the Girly Style Wardrobe giveaway! It was Raquel from JC… I sent her the book ages ago, but forgot to mention it on the blog! Hope you’re enjoying the book, Raquel!

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