Named Tala Vest!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! OK, I have a thesis for you: a fuzzy wool vest is the perfect transitional garment. Now, wait, don’t run away! Hear me out! They keep you warm in cool weather without limiting your mobility or leaving you with bulky sleeves that you need to roll up. They’re easy to toss on, over a tee, a sweater, or a jacket. You can wear them under a rain jacket or a windproof shell for an extra layer of warmth. And they give you an extra set of pockets to shove stuff into when you’re out walking the dogs or running errands. And how much nicer is soft, squishy wool than a static-y nylon vest? SO much nicer, dudes. Are you convinced?

Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest | Ginger Makes

So, for my latest Mood Sewing Network project*, I reached for this springy, fluffy wool knit. It was labeled as Rag & Bone, and it has plain knit stitches on the wrong side and a really woolly, brushed face on the other. My original plan was a moto jacket– wouldn’t that have looked cool?? But after some thought, I couldn’t justify another jacket- I have too many! And I have a sad, worn-out, cheap down vest that really needed replacing. So there it was! Now that I have a vest, I’m glad I do… I know I’ll be able to wear it more than yet ANOTHER jacket. :)

Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest | Ginger Makes

I decided to try out the Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest. While this isn’t exactly faux fur, it’s spongy and really thick, so I knew that this would work well with a pattern intended for faux fur. It doesn’t have a lot of seam lines or a notched collar, which is great for a fabric that gets bulky fast. The pattern comes together really quickly, like a jacket lite. It’s amazing how much faster it is to sew something that doesn’t have sleeves to set in and hem! Oh, and if you want to see what this pattern actually looks like in faux fur, check out Rachel’s cute version! (And if you’re scared to try faux fur, don’t be! Here are my tips for handling it). This was my first Named pattern, and it was a good experience. Well… let’s not count the Jamie Jeans pattern that I traced, but ran out of confidence before getting to the cutting part. Or the Vanamo dress, that I muslined at the very last minute before an event when there was absolutely zero chance of actually completely a garment in time, but I tried it anyway… OK, OK, obviously I need to visit my UFO bag! But it’s scary!!

Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest | Ginger Makes

Now, because this is a knit and the pattern is drafted for a woven, I was careful when handling and stitching. The pattern already called for the armholes, neckline, shoulder seams, and hem to be interfaced, but I would have done that anyway. The interfacing kept things from stretching out and really gave a nice substantial feel to the seamlines. Also, I was between sizes, and I decided to size down, which worked well.

I used a universal needle and a longer stitch length (since the fabric is quite thick, a longer stitch length gets you to a normal-looking stitch) and just sewed it with a regular straight stitch. This worked really well. Since this is a wool knit, it pressed beautifully and the seams stayed nice and flat, even though they were fairly bulky. I was quite aggressive with clipping and notching to make sure that the curved seams in the shawl collar were nice and smooth.

Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest | Ginger Makes

I lined the vest with a definitely-giraffe-print silk leftover from the plaid Coco jacket I made earlier this yea. It’s so nice using up odd bits from the stash, isn’t it? I also used a small piece of a different silk print, this one leftover from one of my final tailoring projects in the spring, to add pockets, which, in my opinion, are essential for a vest. I put them in 5″ below the armhole, which seemed like OK placement. I never know exactly where to put them when I add them myself! I do a lot of pinning and trying things on, but I still don’t feel confident when I stitch them in!

I’m so excited about this vest and I know I will wear it all the time (even though Man Friend opined that I look pregnant in this… OK, he may have a point there; the side view in particular is pretty unflattering, oops!)! I have this weird winter wardrobe that’s black, white, and grey (don’t ask me why, but I’m not excited to wear colors in the cold weather), so this will mix and match with nearly everything in my closet! Hooray! What do you guys think? Would you sew or wear a vest?

Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest | Ginger Makes

One last item of business: this is my last post for the Mood Sewing Network. I’ve absolutely loved being a part of the network and trying out so many fun and special fabrics! I have too many irons in the fire right now, and I had to let a few things go, which is sad, but I’m so grateful to Mood for giving me this opportunity. I know that I wouldn’t be half the seamstress that I am today if it wasn’t for joining the blogging network- I really had to push myself to keep up with the other amazing bloggers!

Named Clothing Tala Faux Fur Vest | Ginger Makes

*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. :)

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress!

Hellooooooooo! How are you guys doing? Everybody having a good day? I hope so! So, do you ever notice themes in your sewing? Lately my sewing has been all about fun fabric in a simple shape. Fussy sewing and fussy garments just aren’t very cool in the heat! So, for August’s Mood Sewing Network project*, I decided to stay the course and make one more fun print + simple silhouette dress. Why not keep the streak going?:) I chose this beautiful rayon print because I loved the abstract images… I mean, are these birds, or are they palm trees? My vote is for palm trees, but that might just be because I love them!

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

The fabric has a delicious crepe-y texture, and it’s ever so slightly sheer. I’m hoping that the voluminous shape counteracts the transparency of the fabric. I think it works- no sneaky peekies on display in these photos, anyway! However, I finished the seams with pinking sheers because I worried that serging or Hong Kong binding might show through or look lumpy on the right side. Instead of using fusible interfacing for the facings, I stitched in silk organza, because I’m a very fancy person and definitely not because I ran out of interfacing and accidentally ordered the wrong replacement.😉

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

I really enjoyed working with this fabric. The texture of the fabric gave it some grip, so it wasn’t slippery to cut or sew, and it responds beautifully to steam. I was careful, though, not to press with the iron on the right side. In a crepe fabric, the texture comes from the twist and crimp in the fibers, which can easily be crushed with the iron. When that happens, you get gross shine marks… no good! So I pressed from the wrong side, steamed from the right, and used my fingers to mush the steam into the seams. Super technical stuff!:)

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

The pattern is the Papercut Patterns Sway dress, the long variation with a tie belt. Katie sent me a copy to try along with the Guise Pants. Thanks, Katie! Now, I was really drawn towards the shorter, trapeze-ier version, but I figured I’d give this longer length a try just for kicks. It feels a little frumpy compared to the shorter dresses I’ve been wearing lately, but I may just need to wear this a few times to get comfortable with the length and the belted waist. The pattern is very easy to put together and the instructions are nice and clear. I generally avoid anything with bias seams as I hate leveling out the hem, but it was really pretty painless. I’ll definitely revisit this pattern!

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

The dress has center front and center back seams, and I was concentrating so hard on fitting all the pattern pieces on the fabric with the print all going the same direction that I didn’t even consider matching the print. Whoops! Hopefully it’s not too noticeable.

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?!?!

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes
Why, it’s a reversible dress! Since it only needs to fit at the shoulders, it can be switched around and worn with either the v-neck or the round neckline facing the front! Tricky business!

Man Friend review: “The belt is nice”.

OF COURSE.

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

Alright, now please tell me- what’s on your sewing table right now? Simple silhouettes with fun prints? All solids all of the time? Complicated tailoring projects? And, are you Team Palm Trees, or Team Birds? 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. :)

Carolyn Pajamas!

Hi, guys! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and if you celebrated Canada Day or the 4th of July, that your weekends were extra festive!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

OK, while I have, overall, a really serviceable wardrobe that’s starting to reflect my style, I have to admit that when it comes to the “unseen” items, the situation is dire. Socks, underwear, pajamas… they’re all in sad, sorry shape! Since I began to sew very seriously a few years ago, I just haven’t had the interest in shopping, but it’s also seemed quite silly to spend time sewing things that will never be visible outside my house! So when evening rolls around, you’ll usually find me in a shabby t-shirt and a pair of nearly-transparent men’s pajama bottoms. Sexy stuff, I know! So when Gillian #sewingdare-d me to sew a pair of pajamas, I was excited! Just the kick in the pants that I needed to sew up some respectable jams!

I decided to make myself some fancypants PJs for the Mood Sewing Network*, so I picked out this crazy cotton poplin because, well, it includes: dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, birds, frogs, chickens, and farmers in straw hats! How could I say no to that? Then I opted for a bright lime-green shirting to use for the piping. No reason to wear boring pajamas!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

The pattern I used is the Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas. The pattern was a gift from Heather– thank you!!! These are classic, vintage-style pajamas with a modern cut. The pants are fitted a bit more through the hips than other pajama patterns I’ve made in the past, and the rise hits me right where I like it to in pajama pants, so they are really a much nicer fit than any of my RTW pajamas. There’s a notched collar and chest pockets on the top, and slash pockets in the bottoms. You have the option to do cuffs with piping, if you like, or you can sew plain hems. There are short- and long-sleeved tops, and you can choose from pants or shorts. Because the pants are more fitted and less unisex, trust the size chart and don’t size down.

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

The pattern instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The notched collar construction was a bit different than others I’ve sewn in the past because there isn’t a back neck facing, and while I found it quite difficult to attach the collar neatly at the neckline (by “quite difficult”, I mean, I had to unpick the collar approximately ten times, no exaggeration!), but I finally got it done and it looks pretty good. If you haven’t done piping before, Heather walks you through the steps quite clearly. Let’s see… I used buttons from my stash and I went rogue, using 1″ elastic instead of 1.5″, because that’s what I had in hand. LAWS ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN! I made no attempt to pattern match because life is too short… they’re PAJAMAS. Oh! One last thing! I’ve never used a copyshop pattern before because they’re so expensive to print at chain office stores, but I discovered Flash Blue Printing in Brooklyn- you email them the PDF, and they print them out for $5/sheet, regardless of the size of the sheet. Even better, they understood me immediately when I told them I needed them printed without scaling. They’re pretty far off the beaten path, but it might be worth it to go when you have a few to print out at once. Definitely worth the price to avoid sticking together a million sheets of letter paper. And folks in other towns, try to find a blueprinting shop!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

Here’s the funny thing about the piping… now that I’m doing fancy upholstery, I spend SO MUCH TIME making and applying piping. So it’s kind of goofy that I would elect to do it in my free time, no? But instead I was excited to use the technique for a garment, kinda like when my job was sewing with faux fur and then I made a faux fur coat. Maybe I’m just nuts. ANYWAY, piping isn’t hard to do, but it does take some time. I made my own using cotton cording, which I covered in bias-cut strips of shirting. Don’t forget to pre-shrink your cording if necessary… it would be a real bummer if you went to all that work and then things went crazy in the wash! Also, there are special cording feet that you can purchase to make piping with, but personally, I just use the adjustable zipper foot that came with my Juki (it looks like this). You can stitch very close to the cording with it and you don’t have to worry about using a certain size of cording… one size fits all with the zipper foot! If you’ve never made your own piping before, I really recommend giving it a go- it’s fun to sew and it really adds a nice touch to your finished garment!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

Not gonna lie, now that I have these, I’m pondering a second pair of summer bottoms and a nice flannel-y set for the fall! I feel pretty fancy swanning around the house in them! Thanks for the pattern, Heather, and thanks for the dare, Gillian! Alright, guys, ‘fess up: what sad items lurk in your wardrobe, begging for an upgrade? Saggy sweatpants? Stained t-shirts? Come on… tell me I’m not the only one with dark secrets hidden in my closet!

Just add coffee!

*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. :)

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. :)

Ginger Made: Coco Jacket!

Hi, guys! I hope your week is off to a great start! One of my favorite things about sewing clothes is that you can find unique ways to make a style your own. For example, you can take the edgy, menswear-inspired moto jacket, but make it up in pastel lace,  and you’ve created a unique look that really shows off your personal style! Personally, I’m a really casual dresser, but I’m always looking for ways to dress up my everyday wardrobe a bit without looking too dressed up. So, I tried the classic Chanel-inspired silhouette, but in a casual (and extremely washable!) fabric that screams “me”!

Schnittchen Coco Jacket | Ginger Makes

I knew right away that I wanted to use a plaid flannel cotton for my take on this look, and what better way to go than a classic buffalo plaid in red and black? So for my Mood Sewing Network project* this month, I used this flannel that I bought with my allowance a while ago and then didn’t end up using. I’m so glad I saved it for this project! My original plan was to quilt the flannel with a layer of cotton batting- wouldn’t that have looked cool?? But after further reflection, I started to think that the jacket might be too warm with the added layer (since it’s a cropped jacket with three-quarter length sleeves, I won’t be wearing it on very cold days). But I wanted it to have a bit more body, so I fused all the pieces to ProSheer Elegance Light, except for the facings (I used a medium-weight weft interfacing for them). I like the effect of this- it’s not as drapey and baggy as flannel is on its own, but it’s not stiff, either.

Schnittchen Coco Jacket | Ginger Makes

Now, there are quite a few patterns you can use to make a little French jacket like this, but I chose the Coco jacket by Schnittchen. Silke from Schnittchen kindly sent it for me to try out after I found her company during my autumn coat obsession. As a fairly rectangular person, a really boxy jacket can look pretty terrible on me, so I decided to use this pattern over a few similar styles because because it includes front darts and there’s a fair amount of shaping in the center back and side seams. Plus, I like the rounded corners at the center front- I feel like they help to keep things from looking too boxy, too. I really enjoyed putting together this pattern, and found that this two-piece sleeve gave me the nicest-fitting sleeves I’ve ever had in a blazer! Just for reference, I made a size 36 and didn’t make any alterations. This was my first time using a Schnittchen pattern and while the instructions don’t include drawings, I didn’t need them (and there is a step-by-step photo tutorial on her blog if you need it). Also, I just noticed that her PDFs are only 5 euros, (about 5 USD these days!), what?! I’m pretty sure I’ll give into temptation soon and order the Tina jacket & vest pattern! I’m thinking it will make for a very fancy sweatshirt! [Sidenote: have you seen Kelli’s version of this jacket? I’m hoping that I bump into her in a dark alley so I can just grab it and run!]

Schnittchen Tina vest

One thing I noticed is that for the sleeves to go in nicely, the sleeve seam and the side seam don’t line up- they line up with notches instead. One nice thing about this pattern is that the notches are numbered so you know exactly where they’re supposed to match up! Clever! Also, a tip if you make this pattern: when I go around curved edges like the center front, in addition to shortening my stitch length, I also sew one side with the facing up and one side with the jacket front up. This way you’re stitching the exact same curve in the same direction on each front (from top to bottom in my case, but you could also sew bottom to top). If you’re a very accurate stitcher, you probably don’t need to do this, but in my experience, my curves are much more symmetrical when I do this!

OK, let’s talk about the elephant in the room… the PLAID elephant. GUYS. I totally failed to match the plaid at the side seams. Here’s the thing- I always use this technique to match the front, back, and sleeve pieces at a spot 2″ below the armscye, BUT, I completely forgot to factor in the dart! As a result, everything matches… between the armpit and the dart! Ack! I spent ages matching this and it doesn’t look I even tried! I didn’t have enough fabric to re-cut the front pieces, so I decided to just live with it and really, it’s not the end of the world… as long as I don’t think about it too much because HOLY COW SO ANNOYING!

Schnittchen Coco Jacket | Ginger Makes

I lined the jacket with a Mood fabric I’ve had in my stash for a very long time. Now, I love me an animal print, so when I needed to buy some black lining, naturally I grabbed the black-on-black animal print! There is a bit of disagreement in my home regarding the exact animal we’re dealing with- the fella feels that it’s python print, while I’m CONVINCED that it’s a small-scale giraffe print because EWWWWWWW PYTHONS NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Obviously it’s a small-scale giraffe print. Wait, that makes me want to see a small-scale giraffe!!! Scientists, get on that! Remember the miniature elephants in Jurassic Park? I’m still waiting for that to happen!

Oops, I’ve been sidetracked by tiny giraffes! ANYWAY, I’m really happy with this little jacket and am glad to have a little more tomboy chic in my wardrobe. I’d like to make another version in something fun and textured, like jacquard or a chunky wool knit! This is the PERFECT style to use up special pieces from your stash- it doesn’t take very much fabric, and will look really different depending on your fabric choice. I’m already planning a few more! Now, tell me, do you like to sew classic shapes in untraditional fabrics? What’s the most fun you’ve had mixing up a look? Jackie O sheath dress in vinyl? Classic trousers in quilted nylon? Peacoat in neon boucle? Do tell!

Schnittchen Coco Jacket | Ginger Makes

PS- I’m wearing my Coco jacket with my new favorite t-shirt, the Megan Nielsen Maker tee! I’m so pleased to support this awesome collaboration between Megan and Freeset– read more about it here! I’m not even kidding when I say that when I wear this tee, I basically beg people to let me tell them about it! Fashion with a heart is so dear to me, so THANK YOU for for this opportunity to support women in need, Megan!

*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. :)

Wool + Pleather Linden Minidress!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well and sewing up a storm! OK, question: do you have seasonal color palettes? I know I do! Sometimes I feel like my closet is split between two different people- winter me and summer me! In warm weather, I’m all about bright colors and fun prints, but in the winter, I wear much more subdued colors, like heathered browns, navy, or, my very favorite, greys. My cold weather clothing drawer is almost entirely grey! The unexpected benefit of this is that I have a really, really easy time getting dressed in the winter- my separates all mix and match, and for once in my life, even my boots, tights, hat, and scarf get along with the rest of what I’m wearing, yay!

Grainline Studio Linden Minidress | Ginger Makes

So, for February’s Mood Sewing Network project*, I decided to give one last hurrah to Lady Grey and choose this delicious wool blend sweater knit. Guys. It’s SO thick and warm, but it’s amazingly lightweight. It’s a nice firm knit, so I don’t have to worry about it being too sheer or bagging out, but the wrong side has tons of loft so it’s really incredibly comfortable in cold weather. I planned to look for a bit of pleather in black for a bit of contrast, but I found this beautiful grey Rag & Bone pleather in the vinyl section on the third floor and couldn’t resist it. I really like that the contrast comes from the textures rather than color- it’s subtle, but fun.

Grainline Studio Linden Minidress | Ginger Makes

The pattern I used is the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt. This is actually the fourth Linden I’ve made this month, but I haven’t blogged any of the others. I made one for my #LindenSwap partner, another for my bestie, then one for me. So, this pattern was on my mind and I decided to just go for it. In Grainline sizing, my hips are two sizes smaller than my bust, so I just chose the size based on my bust measurement and dropped the hem by 9″ to give me this minidress length. The extra size through the hips gives me plenty of ease to move and sit. I used the hem band piece unaltered, since I didn’t add any additional width, but I shortened the sleeves by 4.5″ and adjusted the cuffs accordingly to give me a three-quarter-length sleeve. If I’d thought this through a bit more, I would have planned for the sleeves to finish at this length without a cuff… the cuff seam allowance is a bit bulky. I thought about cutting off the cuffs and turning under a hem, but I don’t really want to lose the sleeve length, at least not while it’s this cold! Lori suggested using the pleather for the cuffs with a v-notch detail, which could be really cute and would give me more ease (since the pleather doesn’t have any stretch, which you usually want in a cuff).

Grainline Studio Linden Minidress | Ginger Makes

For the pleather details, I cut two pieces 2″ by 24″ (a little longer than my sleeve length) and lightly pressed the long edges under by 3/8″. I tested this first on scraps, but I was able to use a warm, dry iron on the wrong side without any damage to the pleather. Then, I centered the strips over the shoulder notch and the midpoint of the wrist on the flat sleeve pieces and taped them in place with light masking tape. If I’d had a fabric glue stick, I would have used that instead, but I didn’t, so I was stuck with tape. I edgestitched the pleather in place, sewing in the same direction (i.e. top to bottom) for each side to help prevent pulling and puckering. I was a bit nervous about sewing pleather to a knit, so I did a few tests before I sewed on the actual sleeves. I had success using an 80/12 universal needle and holding the fabric in place firmly in front of and behind the presser foot so it wouldn’t stretch out of shape or drag. Then I trimmed off the excess pleather and inserted the sleeves like usual. Ta-da!

Ahhhhh… look at that soothing grey-on-grey action. It’s so comforting! It makes me want to get back into my winter cocoon and stay there til spring! Now, do you have a seasonal color palette, or am I just a crazy person? 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. :)

Ginger Made: Gerard #2, or, I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum, You Know?

Hi, guys! Hope all is well with you, and that if you’re here in the northeast, you’re not too tired from digging yourselves out of the snow! I must confess to secretly being glad about the snowfall… what better excuse to wear my new faux fur coat?!

Friends, I’ve wanted a coat like this for many years (to be exact, since I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums way back in 2001, when I was but a wee college freshman. I fell in love with the movie, the soundtrack, and Margot’s coat). I’m so excited to finally make one! I know that sewing with faux fur can be intimidating to many, but at the workshop where I began working this past summer, we sew with it all the time, so I’ve gotten in some good practice and I want you all to know that it’s not hard at all! It takes some time, to be sure, but it’s not difficult and it’s so rewarding! DO NOT FEAR, DUDES! Moody Margot Tenenbaum coats for everyone!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

So, I decided that my first Mood Sewing Network* project of 2015 would be The Coat! I spent ages at Mood, torn between different fabrics, and had a really hard time making a decision! But this golden fabric looked really expensive and lush, plus it’s imported from France, ooh la la! As a bonus, I look like a giant golden retriever, and who doesn’t want that? Decision made!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I considered a few different patterns, but in the end, opted to use the République Du Chiffon Gerard pattern again, the same one I used for my bouclé coat. Doesn’t it look different in fur??? I love how much fabric choice can alter a pattern’s look! Plus, this is a pretty simple design, which is key when you’re working with faux fur. Each seam takes time to prep and finish, so you don’t want to add extra work for yourself, plus the fur itself will obscure the lines, so there’s no point in making something with lots of design lines. Another thing to think about is that since fur is puffy, things look bigger in it, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing a shape. You can see how much bulkier this coat looks than the bouclé version!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Since I didn’t want any unnecessary seams, I cut the coat back and the lower facing on the fold (originally they both had a seam at the center back). I also eliminated the patch pockets and instead made side-seam pockets for a smoother silhouette. Now, this is controversial, but I didn’t use any interfacing at all! I’d initially planned to baste in silk organza, but I decided I wanted a very soft look, so I skipped it. But I did tape the neckline, lapels, and any other area I thought might stretch, applying twill tape that I’d ironed to shrink with a catch stitch. Faux fur can get really heavy, so I wanted to make sure things wouldn’t sag and stretch out of shape over time. Likewise, I taped the roll line like I did last time. I meant to include a back stay again, buuuuuuut… I forgot. Oops! Also, I realized this time around that I made a slight mistake on my last Gerard by adding a seam allowance to the upper edge of the sleeve interfacing… this made my sleeves 1cm shorter than they should have been. The length is perfect with the 1cm added back in!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

The most important thing of all when you’re dealing with faux fur is to check and double-check that your nap is going the right direction! It would be super uggo if one of your pieces is cut the wrong direction! It can help to make an arrow on all your pattern pieces just to make sure you’re positioning everything the right way. I had to re-cut the upper collar because I got confused and cut it the wrong way… I just barely had enough fabric to do this, phew! I sewed everything together with a longer straight stitch (around 3mm). After sewing the seams, I use a comb (just a regular plastic comb for hair!) to pull the fur out of the seam on both right and wrong sides, then I trim all the fur out of the seam allowance. I couldn’t press this fabric, so I just finger pressed the seams open and catch stitched them down. Slow, but it does the trick! I’m going to post some detailed tips on how to work with faux fur very soon, so keep an eye out for that!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

If you sew a faux fur coat and decide to bag the lining, learn from my mistake and do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to turn it back out through a hole in the sleeve lining. Holy cow, that was a huge mistake! It’s not that the opening isn’t big enough, but rather that the coat is too bulky to pull through the sleeve itself. Turning it through an opening in the center back seam is a much better idea.:)

I splurged on kasha lining from A Fashionable Stitch for the coat, and it’s really, really nice! Kasha is a flannel-backed satin, much thicker and warmer than usual lining fabrics. For additional warmth, I interlined the coat with lambswool from Steinlauf & Stoller here in the city. The coat is so warm and snuggly… I love it! I used 2 yards of faux fur, 1.5 yards of lining, and 1 yard of lambswool (we had a miscommunication at the store,  but I was able to make it work by piecing one sleeve together… phew!).

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I’m really pleased with my final coat! I’ve left off a closure for the time being as I’m still deciding what I want to do, but I’m leaning towards a large hook and eye so I can wear it open or closed without seeing any kind of closure (I’m thinking a snap might look kind of ugly when the coat is open). The whole thing is a bit over the top, but hey, it’s really fun to wear! Man Friend, on the other hand, isn’t so sure about this one. He was excited by the fabric (“you’ll look like a lemur!”), but when I tried on the finished product, he thought I looked like “an ewok”. Honestly, I thought he would go for a Joe Namath comparison, so an ewok is pretty flattering by comparison.:) I don’t care… I feel like a sassy starlet in this! No pictures, please!😉

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

What do you think? Tempted to give faux fur a go??? It’s not hard, I promise! Now, tell me, what are you working on??? Anything fun? And, do you think golden retriever fur counts for Jungle January?😉

*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.:)

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