Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twas the Day After Xmas

... And all thru the kitchen
the smell from the oven
was sooo finger lickin'...

With me in an apron
and Phin in one, too
we baked gooey cookies
like Gram' used to do.

Ok, ok. I know that "kitchen" and "lickin'" aren't an exact rhyme. And this post is late. Oh well.

Things have been a bit bonkers here in Whoville, and time for blogging has been non-existent. My backlog of posts is getting pretty long. I have finished socks, a finished baby blanket, and a rapidly growing giraffe.  My red slip is being sewn and my pimped pencil skirt is, well, being pimped. In addition, we've made candy, baked goodies and cooked three feasts. So, there is a lot to tell, provided that we manage to survive the holidays.

BUT in the interim, we wish you and yours a belated but heartfelt Very Merry Everything!  Here are a few of my favorite holiday moments.

Uncle Phin under attack by sword- and nerf-wielding nieces and nephew. (Phin provoked the attack)

A gift of potholders with artwork by my nephew Orpheus. (L to R: Swampfire, Stinkfly and Diamond Head from Ben 10)

Baking pie with 3yo assistant baker, Miss S.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brown Sugar Cookies

Phin doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. He prefers desserts that show a little bit of restraint. My normal default setting for sweets, however, is chocolate. But every so often I want a something that isn't ultra decadent and isn't chocolate; a little pick me up to nibble with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.

Brown Sugar Cookies

So, when my first issue of The Baking Sheet - a birthday gift from MarMar  - arrived, I knew I had to make their Brown Sugar Cookies. I thought that the cookies would appeal to Phin, and have some restraint at this decadent time of year.

And yet, when the cookies were in the oven, they smelled decidedly seasonal - they definitely have that holiday aroma. When they came out they were sweet, but not too sweet. The brown sugar gives them a distinct carmel flavor, and the spice is just perfect.

Brown Sugar Cookies
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 c (9 3/8 oz) brown sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 c (9 5/8 oz) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I just used more cinnamon)
1 c (6 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 c (6 oz) toffee chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpat. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg. Scrape sides of bowl. Whisk dry ingredients together. Mix into butter mixture until combined. Mix a few seconds more. Stir in chips if using. Scoop by the tbsp full onto baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 min (mine were perfect in 10). until edges just turn golden brown.Cool on pan for crispy cookies or on cooling rack for chewy cookies. (Makes 3 dozen plain or 4 dozen with chips.)

The dough was tasty, too. (Yes, I eat raw dough.)

The only change I made to the recipe is that I substituted more cinnamon for the ginger, since I was out. Uncharacteristically, I did not add in the optional chips since Phin requested that I leave the cookies plain. 

Phin liked these cookies so much that after a day he finally demanded that we share some with his brother and family, before he devoured them all. When we arrived at his brother's home, cookies in hand, I received the ultimate compliment from our niece, the 14yo Miss J. She asked for the recipe. Need I say more?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Red Slip

Greetings from Las Vegas! Phineas and I decided on a last minute pre-holiday getaway. So there's no sewing happening this weekend. But here's some other red lingerie - courtesy of Madame Toussaud - which is definitely more Vegas style than what I'm making.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Addicted to Craftsy: itty-bitty Giraffe Bum

Is anyone else out there finding that Craftsy has become a bit of a... um... habit?

I'm making this critter in daffodil and flamingo pink!

This summer I took Kenneth King's Jean-ius class. Last summer I watched parts of Gertie's Bombshell dress class to learn more about boning and waist stays. And now I'm doing Susan B Anderson's knit giraffe class. I have another knitting class waiting for me, too. And a bunch of Craftsy's free mini-classes waiting to be watched - Know Your Wool, Short Rows, and Modern Buttercream. I didn't really mean for this to happen. But.... mmmmmmmm.... buttercream.

Phin's brother and his wife are expecting a new baby girl in February. Since I already made my SIL a diaper bag for their first child, I decided that it's time to start making stuffed animals, like the ones that were crocheted for me when I was small. I was never a babydoll kind of little girl, but I have a huge menagerie of stuffed animals that have been loved in a very Velveteen Rabbit sort of way.

Chickee, Babar and Bronto - my crochet menagerie

Here's the start of the giraffe. It's knit bum first. 

Giraffe bum

Am I alone in thinking this is silly? Phin is getting tired of me chanting "giraffe bum, giraffe bum, he he he" while I knit.

Before I signed up for the giraffe class, I had already bought the knitting book Itty-Bitty Toys, which has the giraffe pattern in it. 

Even better, there's a whole section on using up remnant sock yarn to make stuffed animals.

I have lots of remnant sock yarn

And now I'm thinking that when I'm done with the giraffe, I need to start making my remnant yarn into a herd of little elephants.

Elefante from Susan B Anderson's blog

Then they can trample my enemies.

I may need to knit some hippos, too. They could help with the trampling.

Anyway, knitters and sewists, what are your thoughts on Craftsy or other on-line classes? Are you as hooked as I am? Or do you do better with more traditional media - books, live classes, etc? I love live classes, but one of the nice things about Craftsy is that you can go back if you miss something. How do you like to learn new sewing and knitting techniques?

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Patterns: Lingerie Update

Over the weekend, I worked on two lingerie projects.

In addition to the vintage slip I started last week, I've been making a sleep bra from remnants of my kimono fabrics. I'm using McCall's 5651, an out of print "diy style" pattern.  I think it looks gorgeous.

Beautiful to look at; awful on.

Too bad it doesn't fit. Not at all.

I made the bra in a size M (34-36" bust).  It was pretty difficult to try on while it was half sewn, but try I did. I thought things were going well. But when I tried on the near-finished bra, there were some distinct problems. I love how the fold over elastic (FOE) looks on the edges of the cups. However, it makes the edges, which should lay flat against the bust and sides, stiff.  So, the cups are gaping on both sides. Additionally, they are just not quite the right shape and size, and the band is 3-4" too big. I should have made a size S with an FBA. I'm really not sure where to go from here. Ripping out the seams on this lace and with the FOE sewn on seems like it will be a nightmare. So, I think a complete and total do-over might be a better option if I want to try again. It isn't really wearable as is.

Once I was thoroughly frustrated with the sleep bra, I turned my attention to the vintage slip, which is also a McCall's pattern. I was expecting more frustration. Convinced that it would not fit in the end, I decided that I would quickly baste all the seams and then try it on before I wasted any more sewing time. I didn't even bother to press out the creases.

And guess what...

Carelessly basted, perfectly fitting.

The fit is nearly perfect! I'm utterly shocked. Shocked!

I'll have to take in the side seams just a scooch at bust-level. Aside from that minor tweaking, there are no other changes to make as far as I can tell.  Amazing, no? I think this was the best first try on I have ever had for a garment or muslin. Truly.

Since I basted it very poorly, I'm going to have to rip it all out and then sew carefully. There's a lot of fullness to distribute along the princess seams. But I'm feeling so optimistic about how this may turn out that it makes up for the disappointment of the sleep bra.

So, that is my tale. Another lesson on the merits of vintage patterns? We'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Vintage Lingerie!

So, look what I started over the weekend!  It's a vintage slip pattern from my stash! Actually, it's the only vintage pattern in my stash -McCalls 5160 from the 1940's. I'm sewing it up in the same stretch silk as my kimono lining, only in a very Christmas shade of red.

At this point, I feel that I ought to add that there will not be any maribou feathers involved in this project before you either (a) get your hopes up because you would love to see me tackle the "Sexy Santa" slip or (b) cringe because you think the "Sexy Santa" slip is horrifically tacky. There will be none of this going on in the Craft Lounge. I want a slip that is beautiful and wearable - under clothing and in more months than just December.

Back to the pattern! Like other old patterns, there was only one size in the envelope. The pattern pieces were cut, but complete. And I loved that they had a cutting line (actually, a double line and you cut in between), a sewing line and just 1/2" seam allowances. The pattern was very clearly marked.

Real pieces and my tracings

One of the interesting/unusual aspects of this pattern (at least to me) is that the measurements were much closer to my actual measurements than any modern pattern that I've used. With princess seams, like this pattern has, I can usually adjust the bust as I sew rather than doing a small FBA. So, my changes to the pattern were pretty minimal. I added some length to the bodice and about 2" total to the hip by slashing and spreading the front and back side pieces, which is what the pattern instructions specified.

Aren't the instructions awesome looking?

Speaking of which, I'm just loving how the pattern instructions were drawn and written. They're minimal and assume that you know the basics of garment sewing, but they're very clear. I so rarely follow instructions anymore, but I'm giving these ones a shot. Oh, well, except for the closure on the side. This slip actually has a row of hooks and eyes down the left side. Since I'm using a stretch silk, I'm hoping to do without, but if it is too tight to easily get on, then I'll add the closure. 

Those of you who have sewn vintage patterns, what do you think of the measurements? The instructions and markings? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kimono Reveal (BurdaStyle 07-2011 #124)

What better time to finish up some lounge wear than right in time for the holidays!?!?

Unfortunately, since this is lounge wear, all photos are by necessity indoor photos and have awful lighting thanks to the lack of sunlight this weekend. Oh well. So much for my goal of better photos on the blog.

Still in PJs at noon.

But can't you see me on Christmas morning creeping down the stairs to see what Santa left under the tree all cosy and wrapped in my luxurious kimono? I think so.

Action Shot on a lazy Sunday morning

That said, for clothing designed for relaxation and for a pallet cleansing "easy" project mostly involving sewing straight lines, this kimono was no picnic. Most of the problems were caused by my fabric choice. The inside of this robe is stretch silk and it is perfect. The outside is an inexpensive stretch lace and it was a PITA to sew. It stretched like crazy. There were several points where I thought I had made a cutting error because the pieces did not seem to match up length-wise. Nope. No error. It was just that some pieces stretched when others didn't. Sheesh. By the end, I was desperately wanting to be done with it.

Action Shot: Clio Steps on a Pin! (Ouch!)

It all worked out in the end. And once I slipped into my new kimono, it was all bliss. The robe feels lovely on my skin (yay silk), and I think it looks pretty luxe (it sure feels luxe). That said, this is not one of those projects that I would want another sewist peeking inside and inspecting the seams.  But there are some nice details:

I think this is actually the best shot that we got.

I love the sleeves, which have a sort of pocket for hiding love letters and other secrets.

The tie.

I also like the tie, which stays hidden on the inside of the robe when not in use.

However, my favorite feature is that I used a decorative stitch on the lining hem. It's about time I start using some of the 100+ pre-programmed stitches that came with my SM.

Chaff of wheat stitch

Nice, no? And since this stitch has some stretch, it's perfect for the fabric. I used a metallic variegated Sulky embroidery thread for the top thread and a neutral color for the bobbin.  Do you ever use the decorative stitches on your SM? What do you use them for?

Keys to success on this project:
  • Really, there was just one: Ignoring Burda's instructions. Aside from being near impossible to figure out, Burda has you sew the Kimono in a way that encloses all of the seams so that they are between the lace outer layer and the lining - this way the inside is finished. The problem is that the outer layer is lace and all the seams show thru it. (How dopey is that?) So I bound all of the lace seams in strips of the lining fabric so that they would be camouflaged and more stable, given the fabric's stretchy nature. I did this pretty quickly and messily, to be honest. It worked well. Anyway, do yourself a favor and read Inkstain's handy tutorial over at Chanel No. 6. It was particularly helpful on the sleeves. 
Overall, I'm thrilled with my robe. It's just what I wanted. Thank you to those of you who weighed in on the color of the lining. I'm really happy with this more neutral shade, which I've decided to call "whatevertheheck neutral metallic." I think it tones down the animal print lace to point where it doesn't look quite so gaudy or tacky.

Creative use of a yard stick and skirt hanger.

Now, what to hide in those sleeves? 

PS - Pattern Review here!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sending Out an SOS: Wax Cloth

Look what my Pop bought the last time he was in Ghana!

Wax cloth!

And there's a LOT of it, too. He seems to have bought at least 8 yards of each of these two prints. Aren't they fun and fantastic!?!?! There are loads of things that I could make from them, especially utilizing the border print. But there is a catch.

My Pop's idea is that I will make something for each of my four sisters. And myself, of course. He's suggested a beach cover up/sarong type of thing, which would be easy enough (yawn). The one problem is that wax cloth is not particularly drapey. It's not an airy, floaty, batik-like fabric that you could tie at the waist and let drape attractively after a dip. Both are made of pretty sturdy 100% cotton. 

I suggested an apron. Pop was not impressed.

I hate sewing tote bags. Pop wants something wearable, anyway.

So, I'm trying to come up with an alternate plan. From my point of view, it has to be easy and not particularly fitted. My sisters and I really are about as diverse in size and shape as any 5 women could be. We range in height from 5'6" to 6', and from waif to glamazon. Oh, and I wouldn't really have them on hand for any kind of fitting. 

Anyway, I'm hoping someone will have an ingenious idea that has not occurred to me. One that will be relatively quick and easy to sew and not require much fitting.

I don't really have a deadline for this project, but it's just going to fester unless I get my act together soon. So please consider this an SOS! All suggestions are very appreciated!

PS- It seems like I have loads of finished things to show, but no pictures. Stay tuned. Kimono reveal and other good things to come.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shopping with Bloggers!

Me and Rachel at Paron
One of the fringe benefits of being a sewing blogger in NY is that other sewing bloggers come here to get their shop on.  Yesterday's shopping outing with Rachel was such fun! Not only does Rachel sew up a storm, but she shares my love of baking and sweets! What could be better?

Marina of Frabjous Couture joined us for the morning. She's leading the Pimp My Skirt draft and sew along. Rachel and I - both participating - took full advantage of her expertise by picking her brain and looking at beautiful tweeds at Rosen and Chaddick for the proposed skirt. 

Tough w black on black, but check out that Guipure lace center panel.

Since I'm considering doing a Dolce & Gabbana + Susan Khalje inspired lace panel skirt (above) instead of the flounced Burberry Prorsum inspiration piece for the sew along,we headed over to Lace Star (now Fabrics & Fabrics) in their large new home on 38th Street.  It's the first time I've been there and let me just say WOW! They have stunning fabrics of all kinds. I would put them in the same league as B&J and Rosen and Chaddick for their beautiful selection. Better still, just about everything is on sale at the moment. They also had fantastic prices on silk organza. I hadn't planned on buying anything, but I succumbed to the temptation of this super fun embroidered linen which will become a pencil skirt for sure.

$12/yd orange on turquoise embroidered linen.

Marina had to leave us at Lace Star, and after a quick stop at Pacific Trimmings we needed some refueling. But soon enough we were back on the hunt and headed to 39th Street in search of fabric for PJ's for Rachel's other half. (I'll let her show you what she ultimately bought.)

One of the other perks of the Garment District is that, with so many stores, there's always a chance to find something new. We wandered into Beckenstein's Men's Fabrics/Fabric Czar, which I had never had an occasion to venture into before. In addition to selling fine suiting fabric, they tailor bespoke suits. The fabric they had was WAY out of our price range. BUT, we discovered a somewhat hidden shelf of remnants which were priced at $40 per 1.5 yard piece. Is this cheap? Well, no. But considering the original cost per yard of these fine wool suitings, it's an incredibly good value, and less than half of what Banana Republic charges for a wool/poly/viscose blend pencil skirt. I didn't buy today, but the danger of having an office so close is that I can easily come back.

The sun started to set and it was time for me to head home and for Rachel to meet up with family. So off we went. But we're planning on doing it all again the next time I'm in London. Yay!

Monday, November 19, 2012

NY Sewists - Last Minute Shopping Invite!

Here's a fantastic guide to shopping the District!

Contrary to popular myth, NYers actually do like to roll out the welcome mat for guests. And this week, we've got a foreign guest. Rachel of House of Pinheiro is here and eager to get her shop on! Yay!

We're meeting up tomorrow (Tuesday) and all are welcome. Give one of us a shout if you'd like to join us. We're having coffee at 10am and then it's on to fabric. Rachel may be interested in meeting up other days, too.

Email me at: clio[dot]phineas[at]gmail[dot]com

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pimp My Skirt and SWAP (or not)

Mere seconds after Marina over at Frabjous Couture posted the schedule for the Pimp My Pencil Skirt Sew Along, I responded "I'm in!" I hadn't even been considering making a pencil skirt up until that very moment. But this is fairly typical of my "what should I sew next?" process.

What hooked me? The opportunity to to draft a straight skirt sloper. I have about half a dozen pencil skirt and sheath dress ideas floating around in my head "for the future", but no TNT skirt pattern. This could be an opportunity to develop one, don't you think? Plus I really enjoyed the drafting/pattern making work of the Jean-ius Craftsy class at the end of the summer. So, the minute I saw Marina's post, it all came together in my head that this is the way forward.

I know I've said it before, but I'm really not cut out for Sewing With A Plan. I'm very good at sticking to a specific project, even if it takes months. But making a whole interchangeable wardrobe? Or a series of garments that all go together? Forget it. Something new and exciting comes along, and I just have to jump at it. Like a pimped out skirt!

How do you make decisions about what to sew next? My decision making is usually more bolt-of-lightning-like. I'll have an idea kicking around in my head (like I kept coming back to my leather jacket pattern for over a year) and then something will happen - I'll see a pattern or a fabric or something someone else made - and it will galvanize things, changing idea into determination. I think this may be why I don't have UFO's; I don't make sewing decisions for practical reasons. It's all passion projects. This is probably why I also don't sew "cake" but only "frosting".  What about you? Do you have a list? Or sew what you need?  Or do you have a different way of deciding what to sew next? Do tell!

My kimono and related lingerie will continue as planned. With all of Thanksgiving week off, I'm hoping to get a lot done. And having a few projects going at once will help, I think. So here's an inspiration photo to get me started. Naturally, it involves leather.

AKRIS leather trim pencil skirt.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paron Fabrics Groupon!

Holy cow, peeps!  Check out this Groupon for Paron Fabrics! 

Choose Between Two Options

  • $20 for $40 worth of fabrics and trimmings
  • $40 for $100 worth of fabrics and trimmings
Designer fabrics include tweeds, suiting woolens ($10+/yd.), boucles, flannels, cotton ($5 +/yd), silks ($12+/yd.), and linens ($6+/yd.), along with specialty fabrics and trimmings ($15+/yd.).

Paron Fabrics
Located in the heart of New York's Garment District, three short blocks south of Times Square, Paron Fabrics has been a fashion landmark for more than 40 years. Stocked with designer-name and costuming fabrics, the family-run store also keeps a wide variety of textures and trims on hand, from kitten-soft cashmere to flashy stage sequins. Cloth from Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan graces the shelves, alongside silks, jersey knits, and a variety of exclusive decor fabrics, including velvets. The multilingual staff cheerfully provides swatches and hunts down elusive prints and arms seamsters with two full lines of patterns, Kwik Sew and Burda. In the onsite Paron Annex deeply discounted fabric awaits, helping patrons make large-scale projects on the cheap, such as to-scale reproductions of Cleopatra's purple silk sails.

Um, I scooped up the $40 for $100 option. You have to buy by tomorrow at midnight (EST). But you can use the Groupon until Feb 11. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Inauspicious Start to My Kimono

Little sewing has happened since the storm. This is mostly because storm refugees were camped out in the Craft Lounge. However, on Friday, their power was restored and our family visit ended. So it was straight to work on my kimono.

BurdaStyle 07-2011 #124

For the lining, I decided on a sort of...well...kinda... gosh. I'm not really sure what to call the color of the stretch silk charmeuse fabric. Oyster? Light mushroom?  And I'm having a hard time photographing it. Here it looks silver/grey, but it has more taupe than blue as an undertone and that makes it a warmer cream of mushroom soup color, I suppose. It's a bit outside my comfort zone to be honest. That whole beige/taupe/tan/brown neutral color family just does nothing for me. But I'm liking this with the black animal print lace.


Anyway, on Saturday, I giddily made my way to the Lounge and pulled out Burda 07-2011 for the kimono pattern.  I made a few changes as I traced. As drafted, the kimono is pretty short. It's not long enough to be a full bathrobe, which is how I plan to use it. Therefore, I added 9" to the length (1" above the bust and 8" below). I also added a little bit of extra room to the hips at the side gusset piece.

Actually, it's not far off from this color.

Once the pattern was traced, I went to cut and realized that I had enough lining material for the kimono as drafted, but not for the new length. D'oh!  Undaunted, I went to sew up what I could and immediately realized I hadn't bought thread. And since this is out of my comfort zone as a color, naturally I had no matching thread in the stash. Double D'oh! 

Actually, this may not have been the worst thing. Burda's instructions for this pattern are among the most unintelligible that I've ever seen. So, I spent a good portion of Sunday scratching my head and trying to figure them out. Thank goodness Chanel No. 6 detailed how she sewed this pattern last year!

Anyway, I picked up more fabric and thread, so it's back to work tonight!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leather Jacket Details & Review!

Now that I've done my victory dance, here is what I hope is a more thoughtful and slightly less giddy post about the end results and process. 

So, this epic leather jacket process started with a crush I had on BurdaStyle 07/2010 - #118/119 which was designed to be sewn in leather. I made the version with the peplum and zipper (118) but used the one piece lapels from the other version (119) rather than piecing them.

The thing that I was most worried about with this jacket was sewing on leather, a new experience for me.  Are there a few things that I would do differently? Yes, there are. But they mostly have to do with Burda's so-so instructions, rather than anything to do with the leather or sewing it. Here are a few of my keys to success for leather:
  • There are some great resources in print like Sewing on Leather and Suede by Sandy Scrivano (reviewed here), and several other bloggers have chronicled their experiences sewing leather (Lindsay T, Gorgeous Ann, the Sewing Lawyer and Kbenco) in great detail.
  • Muslin. This is not the project to be fitting as you go.
  • Buy quality if you want quality results. I spent an inordinate amount of time on this jacket and I plan to own it for years. I bought beautiful leather (at Mood) that was not inexpensive but is of a quality that I think will last. Every time I pull the jacket on, it feels soft and luxurious.
  • Test, test, test. Test your sewing machine(s) and presser feet, test the products you want to use (glue, tape, etc), test seam finishes and top stitching. Test it all. That way, when it comes to actually sewing, you won't be figuring things out as you go. You will know the tools and techniques you want to use.
  • Use the right tools. For me this included buying a rotary cutter and mat (a great investment, IMHO), binder clips rather than pins (Wonder Clips if you can find them), and proper pressing tools (seam boards/rolls, a pressing cloth, etc) if you choose to do as I did and press your seams.
  • Turn of cloth - just as true in leather as other fabrics. This was a surprise to me.
  • Leather is not difficult to sew, but you want to be thoughtful and alert. Don't rush. Do-overs mean holes in your leather. (I may have taken this non-rushing thing a bit too far).
  • As for Burda's instructions, my advice would be to look outside of Burda's sparse offerings. I like Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket.
  • Since I was making a jacket, I used all of the tailoring techniques that I would use on a non-leather jacket, like using fusible interfacings, hair canvas and adding a back stay. Since I had tested the fusibles and tested ironing the leather, I knew this would be ok. 

Case in point : I think the peplum looks this good because I tested all the elements that went into it - seaming, top stitching, pressing the pleats and I went a better way with the lining instructions.
Anyway, here's a few thoughts on some of the little changes I made along the way - good decisions when it came to the details and an inside view for those of you who like to peek inside others' sewing. Plus, you know how I love talking hardware.

Chain for hanging

I added a chain hanging loop.  This was one of the last things I did before sewing the facings in. It's made of about 3-4 inches of chain, two jump rings and some grosgrain ribbon. I sandwiched it between the facing and shell before sewing the seam. There had been a really nice tutorial on a blog called Sophia Sews, but sadly that blog has disappeared.


I also added lime green piping between the lining and facings. Honestly, this is such an easy addition, but it really makes the finish look professional IMHO.


I also love the Lampo zippers that I had cut to the custom length that I needed at Botani. Could I have gone with less expensive zippers and altered the length myself? Yes and yes, but when you aren't skimping on the leather or lining, do you really want to cut a corner on the one moving part of the jacket especially given that it is a strong design element as well as functional? For me the answer is no. Plus, these are the shiniest, prettiest zippers I've ever seen.

Penultimately, the Pattern Review is here. And all the posts about this epic jacket project with details about fitting, posts about leather, more about pattern changes, etc. can be found here or under the heading Leather Jacket on the side bar.

Finally, a big thank you to all of you who shared tips, opinions and encouragement along the way.  I'm so glad you stuck with me for this adventure! I really felt like I had a team of supporters in my corner.

And that's all she wrote!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jacket Reveal Happy Dance!

Ladies and Gentlemen, because I feel the need to get back to normal life even though I'm still basically stuck at home, I humbly present my leather jacket, photographed pre-hurricane.

I've been wearing it non-stop in the last week.

 Look! I even made an actual effort to take photographs in interesting locations...

And with me actually posing. That said, there's been a bit of noise in the blogosphere lately about whether you actually look like the photos on your blog or whether you wear your clothing styled the same way in real life. I do. With this jacket, even the inauthentic purple hair is authentically how I've already worn it. And all of these places are actually on my way to the train station in town for my daily commute.

Peplum, yay!

I'm really tickled with how the jacket came out. I originally debated whether or not to make the peplum version. I'm glad that so many of you championed it because, in the end, I think it really makes the jacket.

I have to admit that the fit is a little more glove-like than intended. I probably should have left a little extra room to account for the thickness of the leather + interfacings + lining.  Also, I'm still bouncing back from two rounds of steroids for my back plus the related lay off from running; I'm a little extra voluptuous at this point in time. But all-in-all, I think this is exactly the sort of jacket that looks great with a glove-like fit. 

I will definitely be sewing on leather again soon. Honestly, after this project, sewing any other leather projects will be a piece of cake!

Later this week I will post a few final thoughts on construction and sewing on leather, because I think this party needs to last just a bit longer.