The Alina Sewing + Design Co Hampton Jean Jacket

Hey Everybody!! I seem to be moving right along in the blog posts. What is this, the third post in less than a week? Wowsers! I must be procrastinating something else in my life. LOL Just kidding! Or am I? Ha ha ha! When I get the urge to blog and I have the photos, I gotta go with it. Anyway, I'm back with a truly amazing new pattern from Alina Sewing + Design Co: the Hampton Jean Jacket.

I don't know if you guys are like me, but I am addicted to Instagram Stories. I watch them all the time, and when I saw a little flash of a jean jacket on a dress form in one of Alina's stories a while back, I got really excited. I've been a part of her pattern tester group before, so I was crossing my fingers and hoping that she would invite me to test it. I LOVE a good jean jacket and as you probably know by now, I love sewing denim! Anyway, when a message came through a little over a month ago asking me to test this beauty, I jumped on board! And as you can see, I'm pretty happy about it. Ha ha!

Just a quick heads up, this is a pretty picture heavy post for only one new garment, but I'm just so pleased with how it turned out and I have been waiting to show it off for what seems like forever! (Really it's only been about 2 or 3 weeks, but still.) Also, I feel a bit like an 80's Jordache model because of all the denim, but I'm cool with it. 

Okay, first of all. Let's talk about the pattern. Alina describes it as: 

"A nod to the classic jean jacket, the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern is a timeless addition to your handmade wardrobe. This flattering pattern is cut to be close-fitting, yet roomy enough to wear over a couple of light layers or a thin sweater. With welt pockets, in-panel top pockets, two-piece sleeves, and all of the panels you know a jean jacket to have, this pattern is everything you want in this classic piece."

And I couldn't agree more, this is a super classic and timeless piece that I think everybody can use in their wardrobe. One of my favourite ways to wear a jean jacket,  is over a dress. Of course it's much too cold for me to style it that way right now, but I am doing it with a old RTW jacket, here and here. See what I mean? Great with dresses for a more casual look. I also love it over a striped tee or a button down, and it's going look great with my Chi-town Chinos too. I was actually a little surprised at how well it worked over this Toaster Sweater. Hooray for layering! I'm really excited that it's now officially spring and starting to warm up so I can wear this bad boy a ton!

As usual, with Alina's patterns, the pdf went together really well, and the instructions are top-notch. Alina has great diagrams and descriptions, and while this pattern might look a little intimidating, I assure you, it is fun to sew and incredibly rewarding! If you've sewn a button down shirt, or really any garment with a collar, set -in sleeves and button holes, you can handle this. Plus there is also going to be a sewalong coming in the next few days with all kinds of helpful hints and tricks, so not to worry, Alina has got you covered!

And as always, you can email or message me on Instagram if you need help - I'm always happy to talk sewing and help out where I can. I also know that Alina is truly a wealth of information, and she loves helping out too, so don't hesitate to email her. I love being a part of her tester group because she is super hands on, and quick to answer questions and offer fitting advice. I always wind up with a great fitting, professional looking garment, when I make up her patterns, and the people in her group are always fantastic too! But anyway, enough gushing, back to the jacket.

Before I get into my fitting details, I need to mention that this is my tester version of the Hampton Jean Jacket, and there have been a few minor changes to the pattern, so my big advice to you? Make a muslin. I don't like making muslins myself, but I think on a project like this, you really need too. I would have been so sad to put all this work into my jean jacket, topstitching and distressing, and then not have it fit. And you would be too. ;) So I have made a size 12, and 

So anyway, I have made a size 12. I shortened the body by 2.5", and the sleeves by 3.5". I also did a narrow shoulder adjustment of about 2cm, which I should have taken into account when shortening the sleeves, but I didn't, so my sleeves ended up a little short, but I'm okay with that. I also sanded the crap out of this jacket as I was making it. I used a really heavy 80 grit sandpaper, that I found in our garage, and went to town. I sanded all the seams as I sewed, before I topstitched each one, being careful not to sand any previous topstitching. I did a combination of flat felled seams and faux flat felled seams, as Alina suggests in the instructions. There are a couple of areas where flat felled seams would have just been too bulky. Once the jacket was completed, I washed and dried it (in the dryer) twice, and it softened up really nicely.

The denim I used is a 10 oz, non-stretch Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics. It's the same denim I used for my lastest pair of Morgans, and it's lovely. There are also really great kits for this jacket available from Threadbare Fabrics now too. They feature some really nice hardware in a few dirfferent colours, and some gorgeous White Oak milled Cone denim. It's from Greensboro, North Carolina - made in the USA - how cool is that? Pretty rare for denim nowadays. I was too impatient to wait for my kit, but I have it now and and it's gorgeous!

I should also mention that I made a bit of mistake and didn't topstitch around my welt pockets. By the time I realized it, it was too late and I would have had to do a ton of unpicking to add it without sewing my pockets shut. I'm kind of bummed because I think it really makes the pockets pop, but oh well, these things happen.

The night before I was about to finish my jacket, I was lying in bed thinking about sewing, as I always do when I can't sleep, and I started worrying about the buttonholes. If you've ever sewn a pair of jeans, the buttonhole is probably your nemesis, unless you hand sew. But I am pleased to say that my buttonholes turned out really well. My machine had no problem with them. I think because the button band is so flat and not very bulky, it just wasn't an issue. Phew!

So there it is! I'm super proud of this jacket and how it turned out. It took some time, it wasn't an instant gratification project, but I'm so thrilled with it. (Can you tell?) I know I'll be wearing it a ton! So now that I have this and a couple of other jackets under my belt (see here and here), maybe I can get over my fear of sewing coats. Ha ha!

I hope you guys are all doing well and having lots of fun sewing, no matter what it is! 

Blackwood Cardigan Take 2 (plus an Ogden Cami & the Liana Stretch Jeans)

Hey Guys! I'm back with my second Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in View B (the shorter version), and a couple of other unblogged garments too. So let's get this show on the road!

So for view B, I did exactly the same as what I did for view A. I made a size L and lopped 4" off the body, and 3" off the sleeves. As you can see, it's a little short. I really like it, but it has more of a cropped feel, that what I think was intended. I've still been wearing it a ton, and I think the cropped length will look really cute over dresses as well, but next time I'll add a couple of more inches back onto the length. For this cardigan I used a double brushed poly knit from LA Finch Fabrics. It is sooooo soft, and lovely to wear. It's like wearing a knit flannel. I wish you could reach through the screen and feel it for yourself. It's really awesome! LA Finch doesn't seem to have this exact colour in stock any more, but they have lots of other good ones, including this gorgeous, super trendy dusty pinkish-muave, and this really cute elephant print.

This cardigan layers perfectly over the True Bias Ogden cami. As you might remember, I was a tester for that pattern, and it's a good one. I bet you've seen it popping up a lot on blogs and Instagram, and it will continue to do so over the spring and summer I'm sure. It's just one of those great wardrobe staples. Plus it can easily be hacked into a dress. This Ogden has got to be one of my favourite makes, I mean come on, it's got ice cream cones on it! Ha ha! I got this fabric, which I believe is a some kind of silk, from the Walthamstow Market in London. I was really nervous sewing with it, because it's super slippery and shifty, but I'm so glad I went for it! I ended up using this amazing fabric stabilizing spray that Anya suggested to me, and it worked a dream (if you are interested in it, you might want to check your local shops because I found it cheaper locally)! Anyway, it stiffens the fabric up and then completely washes out. I highly recommend it!

Okay, now onto the jeans. So I've made a number of jean patterns now, and have quite a few pairs of jeans that I love and that fit me quite well, but I'm still searching for that PERFECT pair. Maybe my expectations are too high, maybe l'm just being to picky, or maybe I should really stop throwing my jeans in the dryer and let them mold to my body, as denim was intended. Ha ha! You can actually see vertical lines on this pair from the knee to the ankle that were caused by the dryer. Stupid dryer! I'm just too impatient to wait for them to line dry. I must get over that!

Anyway, I digress. These are the Liana Stretch jeans, by Itch to Stitch. This is only the second pattern I've made from Itch to Stitch, but I can tell you that both this pattern, and the Bonn shirt are fantastic. The pdfs are great, and the instructions are very detailed, and thorough, plus both patterns have fit me really well right off the bat. So win win, win win! Also this jeans pattern comes with a skinny leg, a straight leg, and a boot cut. How awesome is that? It's described as a mid-rise, but I think it might be closer to a low rise. I guess it depends on your comfort level, and what rise you've normally been wearing.  Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that so far, this is probably my favourite jeans pattern. I still have a few more in my stash to try, and the Ginger jeans will always have a special place in my heart because that's the pattern that started it all for me, but if I was going to make another pair tomorrow, I would reach for this guy.

So this is a straight size 8 (another thing about Itch to Stitch, I'm a size 8!), with no changes. So tall people beware, you will probably have to lengthen this pattern! I am so pleased with how these fit. I've been wearing and washing them now for about 2 full months, and while I do think the dryer has shrunk them slightly, this is the pair I always reach for.  I will say, that while I don't mind the lower rise, I think for my next pair I will raise it by about a 1/2 an inch, maybe even 3/4". I have come to love having my jeans hit just slightly higher than these. I should also mention that I didn't use the included back pocket piece. I went for the back pocket from the Angela Wolf Angel Bootcut jeans because it's my favourite. Maybe I should have tried the included one, but I didn't as it looked a little on the small side. Maybe next time though, because I do like the option of a pocket flap which comes with it too.  So many options! I also when I bit crazy and did a topstitching design on the back pockets. I really love this detail and it was fun to play around with it. The denim I used here is a Cone denim from, you guessed it, Threadbare Fabrics.

Okay, so that's it for this post. I'm so glad I finally got to share these with you. Again, if I've forgotten any details, please don't hesistate to ask! I'm always happy to help!

I hope you're all having a great first day of Spring! The sun is shining here so I'm happy! 

Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan

Hello Everybody1 I'm back with a post that I should have written weeks ago, but you know what they say, better late than never right? This is the latest pattern from Helen of Helen's Closet: the Blackwood Cardigan. I was lucky enough to be part of Helen's tester group this go around, and I've been wearing this bad boy a ton since I made it back in January.

This cardigan is close fitting, with long sleeves to keep you nice an cozy. It comes in two versions, a long (about mid-thigh length) and a short (which hits around your high hip). It's super quick to whip up (especially if you have a serger) and it is sure to be a  wardrobe staple. When Helen sent me an email with the design, I just knew I had to have it. This cardigan is exactly what I'm missing in my wardrobe.

When Helen first emailed me the design, I just knew I had to have it. This cardigan is exactly what I've been missing in my wardrobe. I know that oversize and boxy, seems to be the trend lately, but when you live in a cooler climate and have to throw a winter coat over whatever you're wearing, close fitting can be more practical. Plus, I'm short and a a bit boxy myself, so I like a bit more shape to my garments. I also find that when it's cold, I want to feel snuggled, and a more close fitting garment does that for me.

Based on my measurements, I chose a size L. I decided to make the longer version (view A) first, but I knew it was going to be way too long, so I shortened it by 4 inches. I also shortened the sleeves by 3". I'm super happy with how the length turned out.  The sleeves are meant to be on the longer side to help keep your hands warm, but also so you can hold on to them when you put your coat on over it. I think this is genius. I hate when my sleeves get all bunched up inside my jacket. 

The only trouble I had with sewing this cardigan was sewing those pockets on without them going all wonky. I must have unpicked that first one 3 times!! Then someone in the test group mentioned stabilizing the pocket with wonder tape or steam-a-seam, and it worked perfectly. Why didn't I think of that?? (You can also use tissue paper, and Helen has now included how to do that in the instructions). Anyway, I still had to sew carefully, but I know if I had done that in the first place I would have avoided A LOT of unpicking. Other than that, this cardigan sewed up super quickly, and is definitely an instant gratification project. I love those, especially in between more intense projects. 

I should also mention that the pdf went together super quick, and the instructions are awesome. Helen's graphics are fantastic, and she also has lots of great little tips included too.

The fabric I used for this version, is an amazing sweater knit from Blackbird Fabrics. It's a rayon-cotton-modal blend, and it's so soft and so cozy! It's a medium weight, but it really feels like a sweater. Sometimes you get sweater knits and they're thin, but this stuff is really nice. And guess what, it's just been restocked. How's that for timing? I don't think this colour (Ivy) is available any longer, but there is still black,  mellow mauve (I love that name), dusk (which is like a dark navy) and steel grey.

Anyway, it feels good to have this post written, phew! I don't know what it is, but I've just not been into blogging lately. I'm definitely still into sewing, but blogging always seems to be waaaaay back on the very back burner. LOL. And I've been really awful with reading other people's blogs too. Ugh! Anyway, I have also made the shorter version of this cardigan but I haven't properly photographed that one yet. Hopefully I'll get around to that soon. I hope you guys are staying warm!

More Archers!!

Hey Everybody!! How are you all? I'm doing pretty well, but I'm cold!! This winter is going on forever! When will it warm up?!?! Anyway, I thought I'd do another quick and dirty post to show you my latest Archers. The Archer pattern is definitely a TNT for me, and I wear them all the time!! Sewing a button down shirt is so satisfying and even more so, when it fits!! I'll post the details at the bottom, and again if you have questions for me, or if I left anything out, don't hesitate to ask.

The deets:

  • started with a size 6
  • did a 1" FBA (for 2" total)
  • shortened the sleeves by 1.5" and used tower plackets from the Popover Variation Pack
  • I usually shorten the body too, but this time I didn't. I'm digging longer lengths lately

The fabric:

  1. The Eiffel Tower fabric is from Sew Over It (and they still have it). I think it's actually more of a quilting/craft cotton but it worked perfectly for this shirt.
  2. This is a Liberty Tana Lawn from Shaukat. I believe it's called Picardie B. It's kind of funny, when I was trying to find the name of the fabric I discovered someone else made almost exactly the same shirt, except she went with the ruffle butt version. Great minds think alike I guess. ;)
  3. This one is made from scraps of the Liberty one, with some gorgeous tencel denim from Blackbird Fabrics. I think it's sold out now, but they do have some nice chambray instock. Or if you have your heart set on tencel denim I think Stylemaker Fabrics has some similar here and here, and Threadbare Fabrics has this gorgeous one in stock too (it's lighter in colour and weight than what I used but still beautiful and perfect for summer).

Told you it would be quick! I hope you're all doing well! 

PS: I just realized I have different glasses on in each group of photos. I took the photos on different days, anyway, my glasses are all internet cheapies from Firmoo.com if you're interested. I like having a bit of a glasses selection, and also being able to try some trends without having to commit. ;) I've said this before haven't I? I'm getting old guys, I'm getting old. Ha ha ha!

Sew House 7 - Toaster Sweater 2

Okay so here I am back in the land of being behind with my blogging. Ugh! I took these photos over a month ago! Anyway, this post is going to be quick and dirty, with lots of photos. This is my Toaster Sweater 2 by Sew House 7.  For the details, scroll on down ;)

Okay the nitty gritty:

  • Fabric: this is a dreamy, double brushed poly knit from LA Finch Fabrics (I think there are sold out of blue but they do have black and green). It feels amazing but is probably a bit too thin and fluid for the neckline of this pattern. Still, I love it!
  • I chose a size M based on the finished measurements. I made no changes and as you can see the sleeves are long, but the top itself is quite short. If I lift my arms up, you can see my belly at the sides. Next time, I will lengthen it.
  • The only part I got hung up on was the neckline, I didn't notch super carefully, and I didn't fold it down the right amount the first time. I don't know why the instructions confused me, but they did. Anyway I unpicked and re-did it and it's fine. The funnel neckline is really cool, but I'm not sure it's me. I want to fiddle with it a lot, but making this pattern up in the recommended fabric, might help. ;)

There we go, a quick and dirty post. If I've forgotten to tell you anything or you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask! I hope your February is going well so far!

Sew Over It - The Heather Dress

Hi Guys! Happy New Year!! I meant to get this post in before the end of the year, but you know, life happens, and blogging doesn't. LOL. I still have so many things to post about! I may just do some short and sweet, heavy on the pictures posts, so I can get them out there. I'm terribly behind with reading blogs too. I took a peak at my Bloglovin' feed yesterday and I think I'm something like 26 days behind. Eeeeepp!! Now I'm even more intimidated to catch up! I'll get there someday..... maybe.....

Anyway, here are my Sew Over It Heather dresses! I first spotted this dress on Lisa Comfort's instagram feed (I think, it may have been Sew Over It's feed) and I loved it. But at the time, she hadn't released the pattern for it yet. So when Sew Over It announced the pattern release back in late October, I jumped on it. Not only does this dress share my name, it's super comfy and snuggly, and the perfect everyday dress.

I made my first version out of a french terry that I had in my stash. I'm pretty sure it came from Out of Hand in Calgary. In hindsight, it probably wasn't stretchy enough, but I thought the weight was perfect and at the very least, it would work for a wearable muslin.

I started with the long sleeve version in a size 14, and shortened both the sleeves and body by 2 inches.

As you can see, it's a little tight across the bust and, the hips/butt. Plus the french terry seems to stick to everything. When I wear leggings with this bad boy, it's kind of a twisty mess. Ha ha! I did manage to wear it a couple of times before it got really cold with bare legs and it was much better. I probably would be okay with regular tights too, but anyway.

I was little worried about wearing a solid coloured dress, but I think this pattern really works in a solid colour. It has those nice princess seams and the pockets are really cool too. Anyway, even though this version had a few fit issues, I really love the style, so it was a no brainer to make another one. 

I hummed and hawed about fabric, but finally settled on this beautiful liverpool knit from LA Finch Fabrics. I had no idea what a liverpool knit was when I ordered this fabric, but when I got it, I was pleasantly surprised. I would describe it as a really stretchy scuba, with an almost crepe-y, bumpy texture. It worked perfectly for this dress.

I don't look overly happy in these pictures, but I assure you, I love this dress! I'm still getting used to taking photos indoors, and by myself with the tri-pod, so there's that too. Ha ha!

So for this version, I went with the size 14 again, but with 3/4 length sleeves. I also shortened the body another 1 inch, so 3 inches total.

So with a stretchier knit you can see the fit is much better. It still looks like I might need a sway back adjustment, but that could also be how I'm standing, and/or the dress hung up on my leggings.

I love those pockets. This pattern again, has 5/8" seam allowances (just like all the other Sew Over It patterns I've sewn so far), so that makes it a bit tricky to construct with only a serger. And really the way the pockets go together, you probably want to at least baste all the front pieces together with your regular machine and then take it to the serger.

I haven't made anymore Heather Dresses, yet, but I totally have plans too. They're a quick sew, super easy to wear, and fairly stylish in my opinion. 😊

Hope the New Year is treating you well so far!