Rainy Day Waver Jacket

It’s taken me over six months, but I’ve finally made myself a new raincoat!

  

This is the Waver Jacket from Papercut Patterns, made up in the shorter length with the hood (obviously). I have to admit to competely overlooking this pattern when it was released, because the samples just reminded me of the lab coat I wore for my undergrad studies! But there have been some very cute versions popping up on my blog reader since it was released, and when I decided that I wanted another raincoat this pattern fitted all of my requirements. And I’m really glad I tried it, because I love the end result!

  

I only made a few changes to the pattern, the major one being the addition of in seam pockets. I really don’t like patch pockets for putting my hands in (its the one thing I would change about my Cascade Duffle Coat), and when I saw that Lauren at Lladybird had added side seam pockets to her Waver, I shamelessly decided to copy her. I also took an inch off the length of the sleeves and off the bottom of the hood. The hood was so massive when I first basted it on! I think having no hair means that I’m very aware of hood size, I don’t need to worry about fitting a pony tail or anything into the back of my hood! It still feels pretty massive, but I’ll be able to fit a hat (with pompom) and a chunky scarf inside the hood with no problems, which will be excelent when it gets properly cold. I possibly over shortened the sleeves, 1/2″ might have been a better adjustment. Its not a major drama though!

  

I love the drawstring at the waist, I think it looks much nicer than if it fell straight from the bust. I used round elastic instead of rigid drawstring cord, which makes it more comfortable. Its also easier to get the tension right, as the drawstring comes out on the inside of the jacket and can’t be adjusted when I’m wearing it done up! I put a pair of silver eyelets in the lining for the cord to exit through, rather than using a button hole as instructed, as the lining just got chewed up by my machine, and because I thought they looked better.

 

I also used hammer on anorak snaps instead of buttons, again just because I thought they looked professional and fancy! I used six instead of the four marked on the pattern, as they are smaller than the recommended buttons, and I didn’t want rain blowing through the gaps! Rain comes in at all angles in Wellington, so it’s always a hazard…

 

I had planned on making pocket flaps to cover the openings of the patch pockets, but when I sewed them on and cinched in the drawstring around the waist, they caused the bottom half of the jacket to balloon out like there was a crinoline under there. They were just too bulky and too close to the waist, so I unpicked them. The patch pockets are now less waterproof, but the whole thing is more flattering!

  

The fabric is possibly my favourite part of this whole project. I found the shell fabric at Drapers Fabrics in Auckland when I was up there last year (Thanks to Bella for taking me there!), its a waterproof wool from Italy. I’ve never seen anything like it before, it feels like a crisp wool suiting but when I ran a scrap under the tap it was totally waterproof! It sewed and pressed beautifully, and thankfully the holes from my unpicking self healed like any normal wool. I couldn’t find seam sealing tape anywhere, so it’s not going to be completely waterproof, but it should be fine for getting around town in the rain!

The lining fabric is some mystery slippery stuff I got for $3p/m from the Fabric Warehouse pop up sale a few months ago. It was a bit of a nightmare to sew! Its super slippery, frays as soon as you look at it, and shreds at the slightest provocation. I underlined it with some cotton to give it a bit of strenght at the seams, but to be honest I don’t have high hopes of it lasting too long. But it’s so pretty and cheerful I thought I would give it a go, I can always replace it if it falls apart…

  

Big thanks to Marta and Kat for these photos, we had brunch on Saturday and then scouted out good photo locations. Its nice to have a change from my teal wall! I had unreasonable amounts of trouble getting my snaps done up in the right order, I must have had three goes at it. Always start at the top or the bottom, not at the waist!

Ahoy!

When Papercut Patterns released their latest collection, the Bowline Sweater immediately jumped out at me. I love a good sweatshirt, and the striped sample they had sewed up just made me happy. My Aunt gave me a voucher for The Fabric Store for my birthday, so I made good use of it and picked up the pattern and some navy merino fleece backed sweatshirting. I will admit that I really wanted stripes, but I managed to reign myself in and go for a solid colour. My wardrobe is bordering on too many stripes (if there is such a thing), I need some plain things to match them with!

  

Firstly, the fabric. It is so lovely! Its a lighter weight than the sweatshirting I used last winter for my maroon Linden Sweatshirt, but is still lovely and soft and fluffy. It was really easy to work with, not too thick for my overlocker to munch through the several layers at the point where the neckband, shoulder seam and pleat meet. The brushed inner face makes it so nice to wear, and its warm and breathable and just everythingthing you’d expect from merino. (They don’t have this exact fabric on their online store, but they do have it in black, if you’re interested…)

   
 
Sewing this up was fun! The front pattern piece looks like one of those mystery patterns you get in Drape Drape or other oragami-esque Japanese patterns, but it all sewed together easily enough. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, as I’ve come to expect from Papercut. I did take an inch off the bottom before I sewed the hem band on, and an inch off the end of the sleeves and off the cuffs (2″ off total). I always think I have proportionally long arms, until I make Papercut patterns! I like the length of the sleeves now, just long enough to tuck my fingers into, but not long enough to look sloppy. 

  
Possibly could have done with some sort of sway back type adjustment, but its a sweatshirt so I can’t get too hung up over it! I’ve worn it several times since it was finished, its a nice weight to throw on for my walk to the train station in the morning. I like wearing it with my jeans or with my casual skirts (like this Moss Mini) equally.

  
I had a terrible time taking photos today, the auto focus on my camera just wasn’t playing nice. I had a couple of pictures turn out like the one above, and the rest seem to be in slightly soft focus. I had hoped to take these photos down by the waterfront or somewhere suitably nautical, but our good weather finally seems to have given way to some much needed rain, so my trusty teal wall will just have to do! I also seem to have cut the top of my head off in all but one of these photos, just an all round bad day for photography.
 
There might be something of a hiatus here over the next month, I have some school work do do and some sewing for others that has been sorely neglected! I also desperately need to tidy my sewing space before anything will happen in there, its like a mini tornado has rampaged through it…

Raspberry Coppelia

Recently, my mum asked me if I could make her a Coppelia cardigan. We found some lovely raspberry pink merino (at the Fabric Store, of course), she likes bright, warm colours to wear with her ‘Wellington Business Black’.

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I was all ready to get sewing when I realised that I hadn’t asked her to try mine on for size! We’re not hugely different shapes, though mum is a few inches taller than me, but I needed to make several changes to the fit of the cardigan. Glad I checked first, I must be learning! Unfortunately, I cut my patterns out in my size, rather than tracing them, mostly because I’m lazy…In the end, I just added 1cm on to all of the seams, and added about 5cm length to the whole thing so that it would cover the waistband of her skirts and trousers. I also lengthened the ties, so that it can be tied in the front or back.
I did have a minor panic when I realised that I hadn’t cut out the neck band, and then slightly more of a panic when I realised that I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it out with the extra length that I had added to the front…then I remembered how much I had stretched the band on my original Coppelia and decided it would be ok to just cut it at the standard length (and happily it was!)

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But anyway, after all of my self made complications, mum likes her cardigan! It fits and looks much better on her than it looks on me in these photos…she said she got a few complements on it when she wore it to work on Monday. Unfortunately she won’t be wearing it again for a wee while, as she broke her wrist at the gym on Monday night! Poor thing, I knew gyms were dangerous places. I’m trying to think of things she can do without her dominant hand to occupy herself while she’s off work, she isn’t very good at not having something to do…

In other news, my Miette is coming along slowly! I’ve cast it on five times so far but this latest attempt seems to be sticking, I’ve even managed to use up my first ball of wool. It has a few random eyelets where there should just be stockinette, and theres a few stretches of five or so stitches where I’ve knitted instead of purled, but I’ve decided I can live with a few imperfections in the grand scheme of things! In a few rows, I’ll slip the sleeve stitches off and try it on for size.

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Also, I’m finally seeing spring creeping into Wellington! There are daffodils about, and the trees are beginning to bud. The weather forecast for the rest of the week is rain and hail, but I’ll take any hint of better weather!

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I love it when the Magnolias start to bud 🙂

July roundup

I’m actually pretty impressed with how much I got done this month! Two of my posts contained double makes, with two Bronte tops, and two pairs of Anima pants. I also branched out into bag construction!

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I have to say, I love my Bronte tops! I wear them all the time (in fact, as I type this, I’m wearing them both and my Coppelia cardigan. Shut up, its cold.) and get lots of complements on them whenever I’m out and about. I’ll definitely be making some summer ones, maybe in a bamboo cotton if i can get my hands on any. I’ve also had a fair bit of wear out of my camisole, its really comfortable. Another pattern to go back in the ‘to make again’ pile! (The knickers are also really comfortable, if thats not TMI!)

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There are also my Anima pants. The black merino version have been worn quite a bit, but I’ve been too shy to wear the patterned ones out yet! Maybe next week I’ll get over it enough to wear them to the gym. My scrub hats get worn at every day, I have enough to wear one every day for a week.

So, this month I’ve added another 5 garments to my handmade wardrobe, not too bad really!

In short…
-two tops
-two pairs of pants
-the camisole set
-the waterproof tote bag
-the scrub hats

I’ve also learned a couple of new techniques, including sewing heavy, rigid fabric, putting buttonholes in knits (not as scary as i anticipated) and sewing with stretchy lace.

Next month is going to feature a few items I’m sewing for other people, mainly Monsieur and my mum. I’m kind of winging it for both garments, so we’ll see how that goes! Hopefully I won’t crash and burn…

Anima Attraction

Recently, I’ve joined a gym. This is surprising on many levels, as I have been anti ‘organised exercise’ forever! I’ve been feeling pretty rubbish all winter though, and so I thought maybe getting fit would help. There has to be some benefits to going to the gym (aside from being able to justify more cake), otherwise people wouldn’t spend so much time and money there, right? Once I had joined, I obviously needed someone to wear (and some footwear, which was a nightmare. Why do shoe makers think that women will only run in awful pink and purple shoes??), and coincidentally, Papercut and the Fabric Store were running the Anima Pant competition to celebrate their new patterns. So I bought it, and got sewing.

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My first pair (yes, I made two) are the full length version, made in a black merino sweatshirting. I will never wear them exercising, as I will die of heatstroke within the first ten minutes, but they’ve been good for getting to and from the gym, and mooching around the house on weekends. Monsieur thinks they are awful, and was horrified that I was planning to wear them out of the house, but meh. Its the gym, I don’t need glamour!

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If he was worried about the first pair, he thought I had seriously lost the plot when I cranked out the second lot!

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To be fair, I do see how they are completely man repelling. But surely he should be glad about that? The black and white fabric is a mystery jersey which I suspect contains a lot of unnatural fibres. But they’re much lighter and more exercise friendly! I’m rather proud of my pattern matching across the front and back and pockets, I have to say. The black cuffs and waistband are also made out a mystery knit, which is lovely and soft. I almost wish I had made the whole lot out of it!

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I made up both versions with no changes at all, except that I was too scared to try and put button holes for the cord in the waistband of the second pair because the black jersey I used for the waistband and cuffs was so soft and flimsy, even with a square of interfacing where the buttonholes should go. So no tie for that pair! They stay up fine without it anyway. Because I took these photos for the competition, I tried to ‘style’ them and make them look a bit better than normal. I’m wearing my Coppelia cardigan with the first pair, and my Bronte top with the man repelling pair.

Now for my big stupid mistake…I missed the deadline for the competition! I thought it was last Sunday, but it was last Friday…so on Saturday when I went to post the photos to Instagram I was too late! Honestly, what a muppet. And it was such a good competition, they had the most amazing prize packs! Oh well, the entries were all so amazing that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had a look in anyway. Next time, I’ll pay more attention! I promise that I’m actually really organised and on to it in real life, I just seem to let my flaky self out on the internet…

The pushing-my-boundaries Bomber

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This weeks sewing project has seriously pushed me out of my comfort zone! Bomber jackets have never really been something I’ve wanted to wear, I tend to go for more fitted, tailored things. But then I kept seeing all these awesome, comfortable looking bombers made with Papercut Patterns Rigel pattern, and I thought I’d have a crack at it! I got this fantastic navy and pale blue wool tweed, with a metallic thread through it from The Fabric Shop (I wish I could just open an account there, or move in, or something…), and the navy satin I used for lining and the navy ribbing came from the Fabric Warehouse (also amazing). On the advice of the helpful lady at the Fabric Warehouse, i bought some really flexible wool interfacing, as used in RTW coats. Thank god I listened, because it would have been a total bloody nightmare to sew otherwise! Its a really loose weave (duh, tweed. Pick a more difficult fabric Kirsten), and it started pretty much falling apart as soon as I cut into it! The interfacing just made it so much easier to work with, and added hardly any bulk. Even so, I had to overlock the edges of all the pieces before I started sewing to stop it fraying.

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I cut a size XS, because i wanted it to be a bit fitted, and I think that was a pretty good choice. There were lots of firsts in this project, single welt pockets, using ribbing, sewing open ended zips, and sewing a lined jacket! The welt pockets were much easier than I anticipated, I just went slowly and carefully! I basted the pocket lines on first, rather than chalking them on, which was helpful. Theres a reel of bright pink cotton in the thread caddy of my machine that must have belonged to my Nana, its on a wooden spool and is marked ‘made in Great Britain’. Not the sort of thing that comes from Spotlight! I’d love to know what she was making in ‘Frivolous Pink’…

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The ribbing and the open ended zipper went in equally easily, it was the lining that had me nearly tossing the whole lot out the window! I decided that I wanted the facing as well, as it looks nice and clean, so I cut out the front, back and sleeve pieces again in lining, and cut the width of the facing away from the front opening and neckline. Then I sewed the lining to the facing, and then sewed the facing to the jacket as per the instructions. That all went fine, it was when I went to attach the cuffs to the sleeves that it all went to hell. I sandwiched the ribbing between the wool and the lining and sewed them together, but when I went to turn it out the right way I ended up with this…

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…what the hell?? Its a möbius sleeve! No way in, no way out…I have no idea what happened, I couldn’t have done that if I tried. Even trying to put it inside out again so that I could unpick it was a mission. I’d like to say that I won’t do that again, but given that I don’t know how I did it I can’t promise that! Eventually i got it unpicked and sewed together the right way…

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I’m glad I put the lining in, even though it was a bit of a struggle, because the insides of this jacket are not that clean! Between the mess that welt pockets leave, and the interfacing, I would never have been able to take it off or wear it open without the lining.

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Now for the bad…I think that the fabric must have shifted just a tiny bit when i was cutting out, as the right front panel just doesn’t seem to sit as well as the left. It looks like it pulls a little on the diagonal, or like its a little bit bigger than it should be between the raglan sleeve seam and the top of the zip. Should have cut it in a single layer! I’ve definitely learned my lesson there. I don’t think its a major, if I was buying this bomber in a shop I probably wouldn’t notice it! Its definitely not bad enough for me to unpick the lining and go in and fix it.

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So there we go! The Rigel Bomber, pushing both my fashion and sewing boundaries…now I have to go and vaccuum up all the sparkly little bits of thread that have infiltrated my sewing space, before they get all overthe boyfriend. He just doesn’t appreciate glitter!

Coppelia Cardigan

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This week, I continued my love affair with the overlocker and beautiful soft, warm merino wool. I love making things that I know I’ll wear all the time, rather than just special occasion items. This is the Coppelia Cardigan, by Papercut Patterns (yay New Zealand indie patterns!), the first of their patterns that I’ve made up. It won’t be the last though! The packaging is beautiful, the pattern is printed on nice paper (I’m too clumsy to really enjoy dealing with patterning tissue), the instructions are good…and the pattern itself is awesome! Its really simple and fast to make (it only took a few hours from cutting out to wearing), and it all goes together really well.

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The only changes I made to the pattern were to slim down the sleeves a little bit, and shorten them quite a lot. I have gibbon arms, so I was surprised how much i chopped off the sleeves! I had a bit of trouble with the band around the front edge, the first time I attached it I didn’t stretch it nearly enough around the back of the neck and over the shoulders, and it sat all wavy and weird. This was the point when my relationship with the overlocker soured briefly, unpicking that long stretch of overlocking was a right pain in the arse! The second time I sewed it on, I probably stretched it too much, the front of the cardigan looks gathered when I’m not wearing it. But it looks fine on, and the idea of unpicking the seam again was just a bit soul destroying, so I can live with it!

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I really like this top! It looks good with jeans and a long sleeved tee, but it’ll also look good over dresses, or with my navy pencil skirt. I quite liked it before I sewed the wrap around ties on it too, it sat open like a waterfall cardigan. If I make it again, I might have a play with missing the ties off and putting a little button on either side to secure the cross over if I want to close it. I’ve had some good sewing experiences lately, its awesome! I’m sure there must be some catastrophic failure looming, but I’ll enjoy success while it lasts…

(Sorry about the rubbish photo quality, I’m working 10 hour shifts this week so the only time I’m home is in the dark! I really need to get a better camera…)