Fulton Sweater Blazer

IMG_8262

I was immediately intrigued when Alina posted a sneak peak of the Fulton Sweater Blazer on Instagram a couple weeks ago. I’ve been admiring a J. Crew sweater blazer for at least two months now but wasn’t about to spend $150 on something I knew I could make (and might actually fit well)!

IMG-2437

IMG_8246

“The Fulton Sweater Blazer is an open-front knit jacket with a slimming relaxed fit. Polished, yet comfortable, this layering piece will instantly escalate casual outfits while adding a layer of warmth as you transition to and from seasons.” I think the hardest part of this pattern is choosing the correct fabric. The pattern calls for a stable knit with minimal vertical stretch. You want something somewhat weighty for warmth and drape but not too thick because the collar will be a challenge with a super thick fabric.

For my test I went with the Arietta Ponte de Roma from Robert Kaufman because I had it in my stash. It’s a fabric I’ve worked with a couple times and it sews nicely but it is heavy which is not ideal for this pattern. I’m happy with how this blazer turned out and I think it will gets lots of wear but I wouldn’t recommend using this fabric. I just got a wool blend double knit in the mail which isn’t too thick and feels much lighter-weight and I’m planning to use that for another version of this pattern.

IMG_8265

I made view A which is a hip-length blazer though it is a bit long on me. This is partly the weight of the fabric but also because I didn’t remove any length from the pattern pieces. I like that this sweater covers my bum, especially as we’re getting into colder temps here in New England, but I think I’d take two inches off the next time I make the shorter view.

IMG_8280

I decided to make the longer sleeves on this version, again because it’s getting cold here, but I would also take some length from the sleeves in the future. Again, this has nothing to do with Alina’s drafting; they’re predictable changes for me. I love the cuffed look and the contrasting facing is a fun detail for someone who tends to make pretty classic clothing.

IMG_8257

All in all, everything came together very easily for me on this test. The instructions are clear and the only challenging technique is the collar. Alina’s instructions are really helpful and it’s one of those times where you just need to take it slow, follow the steps, and be precise. She’s added even more detail to this part of the instructions since the pattern test and I think it makes this step possible for a confident beginner!

IMG_8270

IMG-2441

Since I made my version, Alina has removed two inches of ease from the hips on the pattern which makes for a slightly slimmer fit. I’m looking forward to this in my next version. Combined with a less heavy fabric I think it will give an even more polished look to this already fantastic pattern!

IMG_8261

I think the Fulton will be a great layering piece this fall and winter. It’s got the coziness of a cardigan but feels stylish and put together! I’m looking forward to adding another one to my wardrobe!

Advertisements

Me Made May Round-Up Part One

Sorry for the radio silence around here recently, it’s been a crazy couple weeks finishing up the semester and supporting Mr Match with grad school milestones. Any available time I’ve had I’ve spent sewing and not updating the bloggity blog.

Here’s an update on how Me Made May is going. This is the first time I’ve participated and I’ve done better than I was planning wearing my me-mades. I’ve worn something handmade 15 out of 18 days though I’m missing one picture.

I’ve been learning very quickly, perhaps relearning because let’s be honest I knew all of this already, which items get the most use in my wardrobe. As much as I love making nice dresses, and as much as I enjoy wearing them, I don’t have as many occasions to wear them as I do dresses I want to make.

What I do go to every day is easy to wear shirts, jeans, and cardigans. My Ginger Jeans have been getting lots of wear, as have my tees and tanks. My more casual dresses have gotten some wear and I certainly want to make more Marianne dresses and Eucalypt dresses.

I think the even more important lesson I’m learning is about fabric choice and wardrobe planning. I’ve got a lot of great prints that had been part of my summer sewing plans but I’m realizing that I may want to rethink some of the those plans, simply based on what I am and am not pulling out of my closet and drawers.

I am hitting the point where I’m going to need to start repeating some things. I’ve still got a few items I haven’t worn though and a few items that I’m working on right now. I’d also been planning on making some Jamie Jeans during the sewalong over on Indie Sew. School work prevented me from participating in the sewalong but I’m looking forward to adding another pair of jeans to my wardrobe.

I’m also prioritizing sewing more tanks and tees. I’ve got a bunch of different patterns I want to try out which will hopefully help me pick out a couple patterns that will become TNTs. So far Me Made May has been a great learning experience and I’m loving getting to show off my handmade clothing a lot more frequently.

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

I’ll be back in a couple days to show off some of the things I’ve been working on recently. Now that school’s over for the summer I’ve got a lot more time to work on sewing projects. Hopefully I’ll have some great wardrobe additions for the second half of Me Made May. If you’re participating in Me Made May, how’s it going?

-Hannah

Internet Highlights

Today I’m rounding up my favorite bits from the interwebs this week, things that I’ve found interesting, useful or simply entertaining.

  • I was planning to join the Indie Sew Jamie Jeans sewalong so in preparation I was looking around the internet for blog posts folks had written about their Jamies. I discovered over on Peneloping not just Ping’s thoughts on her Jamies but she shared a conversation she had with the pattern’s designer about picking the right denim for these jeans. Reading that was super useful.
  • The quilt templates over at Haptic Lab are blowing my mind right now! I think one of these may need to be my summer hand-stitching project. The only question is Boston street map or Northern Hemisphere constellations!?!?
  • I’m planning on making a Cargo Duffle at some point in the next month or two. This tutorial on modifying a two way zipper so that it opens in the center will definitely come in handy.

Off to stop procrastinating and get some paper writing done so that I can finally get back to all my sewing plans!!

-Hannah

Happy Birthday To Me!

I’m stopping by briefly to say hi and show off a few of the awesome birthday presents I’ve gotten.

First I’ll show you the fabric I got. Mom and I went out on Friday evening for dinner, but first we went to Gather Here in Cambridge, MA. We grabbed some nice lightweight cotton that we’ll use to make a wearable muslin for her before cutting into some silk she’s had for years but never done anything with. This first pick I bought for myself, it’s the Red Rover colorway of Rae Hoekstra’s new line It’s a Small World. I’ve been wanting some of Rae’s new line of organic corduroy but wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it. I know it’ll be a little crazy, but I think I’m going to use it to make some shorts!

IMG_3552

Of course when Mom mentioned that she wanted to buy me some fabric, I headed right for the Liberty of London cotton lawn. I’ve been checking out this print recently whenever I was in the store and I’m so happy it’s mine now. I forgot to write down the name, and I can’t seem to find it online, but I’m pretty sure it’s a newer one. Or at least a less common one. I love the floral craziness of Liberty, and certainly this one is bold, but I like that it’s a bit less busy than many of their prints.

IMG_3551

I got a yard and a half and I’m thinking I’ll make a basic flowy top that’ll really show off the print. Not a lot of lines or seams, just clean and simple and beautiful Liberty.

I received a couple sillier birthday presents too.

From Mom and Dad:

IMG_3550

The pigs start out black and then turn white when heated so you can see the little flying piggies!

And from Martin:

IMG_3556

I have a pretty dirty mouth, this shirt is highly appropriate.

Now I’m headed back to paper writing. Hopefully I’ll get some sewing time in soon!!

-Hannah

Internet Highlights

I’ve been busy enough actually sewing the last few weeks that I haven’t done an internet highlights post in a while. But good stuff has been happening, here’s what’s caught my eye.

  • True Bias released her newest pattern today. It’s called the Southport Dress and it launched at just the right time for me. This tank style dress has two length options and, depending on the fabric, can be worn as a beach cover-up, as an around town dress, or anywhere in between. I’m in the process of planning out my summer sewing goals and I’ve been a little stuck on how to use some gorgeous linen I got last month. I should have enough fabric for a maxi-length version. I’m loving the idea of an airy maxi with a waist is cinched but not elasticated. Sometimes I find elastic waistbands to be a bit uncomfortable when it’s super hot, which presumably is what we’re in for here in Boston this summer.
  • I really like Lauren’s latest post over on Lladybird about why she sews. It’s great to hear about why other people sew, how they got into it, and what role it plays in their life. When I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas two and half years ago I had absolutely no idea the effect it would have on my life. I figured I’d hem some pants, do a couple craftier things, make a couple cute things when kids came into the picture. I’ve still never hemmed pants. But now I’m consumed, in the best way possible, by planning a handmade wardrobe, sewing for friends and family members, and just generally enjoying being able to express myself creatively. I find posts like this particularly inspiring when they come from someone who is as good a seamstress as Lauren. It’s helpful to remember that we all started somewhere.
  • Jenny over on Cashmerette posted today about figuring out your sewing benchmark. That is, what level of sewing are you attempting? Are you trying to make clothing that is more original versions of RTW brands? Are you going for finishing that is at the level of RTW or above that level? Are you trying to create really high end clothing with hand-finished, couture-level details? I think I’m still trying to figure out the answer to those questions, and I assume that they will continue to evolve as my abilities increase. As I study RTW garments more it’s become clear to me that it doesn’t take a particularly high level of sewing proficiency to accomplish garments that are made and finished to a RTW standard. I think this says more about how crappily some clothing is put together than it does about how how advanced a seamstress I am. At this point my goal is to create clothing whose finish says high end RTW, but whose style says handmade. I don’t want people to look at how my clothing is put together and know right away that it is homemade. But I do want my clothing to fit in ways I can’t get at a chain store.

Such good questions and good food for thought in some women’s posts this week. Damn it feels good to be a maker!

-Hannah

Current WIPs

I’ve shown off several of my most recently completed projects. I thought I’d show you my last two spring sewing works in progress before I start on a post about my summer sewing plans.

My first update is that my Ginger jeans are cut out and waiting for me to get started on them.

IMG_3329

I was really good and spent a lot of time carefully tracing each piece, adding tailor’s tacks and clipping notches. I’m really trying to get better about slowing down my preparation for sewing. I know everyone says that preparation time is make it or break it time in terms of how successfully a garment will come together. I have not been so good in the past about slowing down and really getting things right the first time. I’m getting better though. And I’m noticing an improvement in my garments as a result.

IMG_3331

As I said in a previous post, the size eight muslin I made fit very well in the waist and hips but I’d taken out too much width in the legs. I’m making a combined version with a low waist and skinny legs and of course did it the hard way. So I added back half an inch on each side of both the back and front pieces. This means I’ve taken off a quarter inch. I’m going to baste the side and inseams and then we’ll see how they fit. I’m anticipating wanting to take them in a bit.

The other work in progress is a modified Archer. I’m making it a “popover” or half buttondown with a mandarin collar. I was planning to use some tutorials and try to draft my own placket. But then I realized I could just use the placket piece from the Carme blouse pattern I just purchased. I haven’t made that pattern yet, and maybe it’s dumb to sub in a pattern piece I haven’t used. I have been thinking about this project as a wearable muslin though so hopefully it’ll work well enough to satisfy that goal.

I was getting along really well with the shirt while we were in Vermont last weekend. I got the back yokes attached.

IMG_3488

And got the front pocket on.

IMG_3492

And then I promptly sewed the placket on incorrectly and didn’t realized that until I had slashed it. So my next step is to get the placket recut and see if I can unpick the one that’s on there but leave the front in good enough condition to sew on a new one. If not, that’s ok. I’ve got enough fabric to cut a new front. And it really didn’t take that long. I just feel silly.

IMG_3491

After sewing the placket incorrectly I needed to work on a different part of the shirt until I was home and had access to my remaining fabric. So I got the sleeve plackets sewn on and basted the pleats.

IMG_3487

I’d never made plackets this way before. The first one didn’t turn out great but the second one was definitely better. The only other time I’ve done sleeve plackets were on the Negroni shirts I made for Christmas presents and those are done differently, the way the Carme placket is done.

As I’m typing this I’m realizing that it may look weird to have two different types of plackets on the same garment. Perhaps I should do a larger version of the sleeve plackets on the neckline. That’ll also be much easier to sew with the slash I’ve already made. Alright, new game plan, awesome!!

There’s one other project that had been on my spring sewing list and that’s my Minoru jacket. I’ve been planning a lot of modifications to that pattern and at first had been holding off on starting it because I wanted to do some more research on how to manipulate the neckline gathers. And now that spring has finally arrived, hopefully I didn’t just jinx it, I’m having a hell of a time imagining myself working on a coat. I’m still excited about the pattern, the fabric, and the plans I’ve made so I’m not dropping this project at all. I just have too many fun plans for summer sewing to spend my time on a jacket right now. I think my new plan is to work on it bit by bit with the end goal being to have it ready to go for the fall.

Be back soon with some more finished garments!

-Hannah

Me Made May…I’m going for it!

I didn’t think it was going to make sense to give it a try this year because I still don’t have a particularly large handmade wardrobe. But I’m planning to use this experience to focus on what garments I get the most excited to wear (and what I’m not wearing) so that I can better plan my future making goals. So….

I, Hannah of Match Makes, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavor to wear a handmade garment at least three times a week for the duration of May 2015! I will do my best to use Instagram daily when wearing me-made, and will do weekly round ups here of my me-made outfit days. I will not go crazy between now and May 1st trying to make ALL the new garments!

Wish me luck!!