My #sewingdare: The Waver Jacket

A few weeks ago, Gillian over at Crafting A Rainbow, issued a little challenge to the sewing blogging community: a sewing dare. Just like Truth or Dare at a girlie sleepover, but without the truth and probably less humiliating than some of the things my adolescent friends came up with. Anyway, Gillian specifies that the sewing dare should be something challenging and out of your comfort zone, but still fun. I asked Gillian to give me a dare, and after a bit of thinking, she decided that a good dare for me would be to sew outerwear of some sort. She's good! This was the perfect challenge for me as I have wanted to take a stab at sewing (and lining) a jacket, but have been too chicken to do it. This was just the push that I needed. After a lot of humming and hawing, I finally settled on one of Papercut Patterns' latest releases: the Waver JacketIMG_6841To be completely honest, I wasn't overly enthused with the sample of this pattern on Papercut's website. It looks very lab coatish, but I decided to look past the sample and use the line drawings to visualize a nice spring/fall jacket. Because I was looking for a lighter jacket, I decided to go with the short, drawstring version of the Waver (although I may end up giving the other version a go in a more wintery fabric - it looks quite cute too).

IMG_6828I had some really nice cotton twill in my stash that I bought locally, and I thought it would work perfectly for this pattern. I've never worked with twill before and it's actually really nice to work with - a lot like denim. This stuff is the perfect weight for a jacket, and I can't really describe it, but it has this kind of natural smell to it. It's not a bad smell, just a distinctive smell, kind of like raw denim.  It reminds me of my Dad for some reason. I think maybe he had twill coveralls for working in the garage or a twill jacket or something, because every time I smell this fabric I feel really nostalgic for my Dad. I always find it so interesting that a smell can bring back a really clear memory, or even just a familiar feeling. But anyway, I digress, back to the jacket.

IMG_6830The pdf pattern went together really quickly, and easily ( I really should by stock in Scotch Tape). The only other Papercut pattern I've used is the Rigel Bomber, and I had the hardcopy for that. I am pleased to say that the pdf, was just as nice to work with as their beautifully packaged paper patterns. And there's nothing like the instant gratification of a downloadable pattern. The instructions are very clear and have nice diagrams too.

IMG_6844I chose my size based on Papercut's sizing chart (the medium), but once I had the shell made and tried on, I realized that it was HUGE! Like a massive tent - I'm not kidding!  I quickly asked my Instabuddies (I am such an instagram junkie and I love the little community of friends I've got going on there - so great for sewing questions and support), and most people that answered my call mentioned that Papercut Patterns tend to fit on the larger side. D'oh! Maybe I should have asked that question before I started. I ended up increasing the side seam and sleeve seam allowances by a whole inch! That seemed to work so I did the same thing with the lining pieces. Next time I make this coat (and I am sure there will be a next time) I will probably size down to a small or even (GASP!) an extra-small. I'll take the time to measure the pattern pieces and decide from there.

IMG_6834I think that the trickiest part of making this jacket was "bagging" the lining. The instructions that came with the pattern are really good, but I really wanted to machine sew the lining to the jacket at the sleeves too. The pattern instructs you to hand sew that part, but I hate hand sewing, so I hit up Google to see if there was another way. And of course there was. I used Jen's tutorial, and it worked out really nicely, although I was sweating while I was doing it. I still had to do a little bit of hand sewing to stitch up the opening you need to leave to turn the jacket through, but that was pretty minimal.

IMG_6836I used a Liberty lawn I had in my stash for the lining and it feels amazing, plus I think it goes really well with the blue outer fabric. As you can see, I don't have toggles for the inner drawstring yet. I just haven't been able to find any that I like, but I will. For now, I just cinched the drawstring and tied it in a knot. Not overly professional and it doesn't work quite as well as the proper toggles will, but for now no one really sees it, so I'm okay with that.

IMG_6848The construction of this jacket was straightforward and quite speedy. I think that aside from figuring out the lining bit, it didn't take me much longer than making an Archer. Gotta love those raglan sleeves - so much quicker than set in sleeves. Anyway, while the size isn't perfect I am really happy with the finished product and I am looking forward to wearing it a lot. I made a couple of minor sewing mistakes with this jacket (my seam ripper really is my most used sewing tool) as this was my first run through, but I expect things will go smoother next time around.

I wasn't completely sure this jacket was going to suit me right up until I finished it. I tried it on for John before I put the buttons on, and we were both like, "eh, it's okay...". But once I cinched up the waist and added the buttons we both changed our tunes. It's amazing how such a small thing can totally change the look of the jacket.

This jacket makes me really happy and has rekindled my love for Papercut. I now really want to make another (more attractive and properly fitting) Rigel bomber, as well as try out some of their other patterns too. Plus, this jacket reminds me that I am part of such a great community of sewing bloggers, and Instagram sewers, and I love that! You guys are so great!!

Anyway, thank you Gillian so much for the dare, it was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot too!

Have you participated in this daring challenge, if not would you like to? Gillian set the end date as May 31st (I'm squeezing in just under the wire) but I highly doubt that is set in stone. So if you'd like a dare, just ask. Thanks for reading along, I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

The Liberty Print Archers

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I have become a bit Archer crazy this month (and you'll also know that I now have blue hair), actually you can probably just tell that from my blog too. Back in my pre-sewing days, I always had trouble finding button-up shirts that fit me well. It seemed that if they fit me well in the shoulders, then they didn't really fit across the bust (or sometimes across my belly), and if I found one that fit across my boobs, then I was swimming in it everywhere else. I think that's why I love sewing these shirts so much. It's a real accomplishment (in my mind anyway) to have such a great fitting button-down - so maybe it's not an obsession, maybe it's love. Anyway, a couple of months ago, I saw a photo from Kelly's (of Cut Cut Sew) instagram feed of an Archer assembly line. She had FIVE shirts all cut out and ready to sew. FIVE!! For some reason that had never occurred to me. Cut out and sew multiple complex garments all at the same time? Yes please!! So I picked out 4 fabrics from my stash (actually I picked out 6, but decided that might be a little extreme), and proceeded to cut out 4 shirts.


Unfortunately, I didn't consider thread. There is a considerable amount of topstitching with this pattern, and I couldn't decide on a thread colour to match all four, so I decided to do them two at a time. So without further ado, I present my first two Archers of 2015 (don't be surprised to see many more this year):



Have I told you how much I freakin' love this pattern? It took me a few tries (and some research) to get the fit just right, but now that I have it, I definitely consider this a TNT pattern. In fact, it's my uniform. This shirt and a pair of Ginger jeans and I'm set!



Both fabrics are Liberty Tana Lawns that I got at Shaukat Fabrics in London. I've had a number of Liberty tana lawns in my stash for quite sometime, but I haven't had the courage to cut into them. I am so glad I finally took the plunge as they were a dream to sew with and they are even nicer to wear. So soft and dreamy - I finally get what everyone has been raving about.



I've already talked about fitting in a previous post, but here's a recap. My tried and true version of this pattern is a size 6 (chosen based on my high bust measurement) with a full bust adjustment that adds about 1" and a bust dart. This gives me a nice fit all over and it's still very comfy. I also shortened the sleeves by about an inch and a half.



For the peachy floral one, I went with teal pearl snaps from Snap Source (have you tried snaps yet, cause they really are the bomb), and for the navy floral  one, I used some shiny buttons I bought at my local Fabricland. I also played with the pockets a bit. For the peachy one, I made pointy pockets (you can barely see them) and for the navy one, I went with the regular ones that come with the pattern.



So there you have it - my first projects of the new year! It was fun to make them like this, and I also mixed and matched fabrics so that they all have contrasting inner yokes, under collars and collar stands. I realize now that I didn't really get any good shots of that, but I'll get some for when I post about the other two.

Hope this New Year is treating you all well so far.

PS: Are any of you sewing friends participating in #rigelbomberjacketjanuary? If not, it's not too late to jump on board. 

Fabric Shopping in London: Raystitch

Okay this is my final post about fabric shopping in London I promise (well at least for this trip anyway). I had heard about Raystich a few times through various blogs (here, here, and here to mention a few), and also when Janet told me in the comments that I needed to go there. I am so glad that I did because it's basically one of the coolest shops I have ever been to. I love everything about it. Even John commented on how cool it was. (Also, they have a fantastic website, and they seem to ship worldwide.) IMG_7710

Raystitch is located in Islington, kind of near the Camden area, I think. We took the tube there (the Northern line to Angel station), and then the bus about three stops. You could probably walk from the tube station, but it was pouring rain so we took the bus.

This shop has pretty much anything and everything you could wish for in a sewing shop. I have this totally unrealistic dream of opening my own fabric store/haberdashery and Raystitch is pretty much exactly how I would want it to be. It is absolutely stunning!






Totally gorgeous right? Then you go downstairs where they have a nice class area, with a little kitchen and really nice bathrooms. There is even have a back garden!! I could totally live in this shop LOL.





This charming little shop is filled to the brim with exquisite fabrics (tons of amazing apparel fabrics), patterns, books, zippers, buttons, knitting needles, crochet hooks, fabric dyes, tons of notions and pretty much anything you could ever need to sew, knit, crochet, or quilt a stunning project. There is fabric everywhere, but everything is super organized and beautifully displayed, so it doesn't seem overwhelming and it's easy to pick things out. I really loved that they had actual garment samples of patterns they sell. There were also lots of quilting notions and some gorgeous quilting fabrics. The staff was extremely sweet and very helpful too. I could have spent pretty much the whole day there. If I lived nearby, you'd probably find me hanging out everyday and taking all the classes they offer. I so, so, so wish there was something like this in Calgary. I can only imagine the community you could build around it.

By the time we got to Raystitch, I had pretty much blown through my fabric budget, but I wanted to pick up some patterns. Specifically a couple of By Hand London patterns, and some Merchant Mills patterns to save on the shipping. I ended up coming out with a bit more than planned, but I am super happy with my picks. John also picked me out two fabrics that I couldn't leave without too.


I'm not entirely convinced that I'm going to actually make the Holly Jumpsuit, but I've seen a number of cute dress hacks and I love the wide leg pant, so it was an impulse buy.



I also may have picked up a couple more unplanned things:


I have been lusting after this coat pattern since seeing in on Sunni's blog (and then she made her Mom and sister coats too!), but I noticed that it is rated Advanced so I'm a little nervous about it now. But how cool does it look?


So, there you go, now have enough fabric and patterns to keep me going for months on end. Who am I kidding, you can never have too much fabric, am I right?

Anyway, if you ever go to London, I would definitely recommend a visit to this shop. I absolutely loved it! Totally worth checking out!