On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress

Since I’m asked all the time what I’m working on, I thought it would be good for me and you if I let you know every now and then. Plus its always fun to see a garment go from inspiration to pattern to fabric to construction to finish. As per my post this past Monday, I was inspired by that Garnet Hill dress to create something similar. The dress in and of itself is really not anything to write home about, but I have to say that I’m diggin the effortless simplicity of it. I actually had a perfect candidate for a dress to create a pattern from and one that had a similar feeling of the Garnet Hill inspiration with a few welcome additions like pockets too. (Visit my rub-off post for more info on how I create a paper pattern from an existing garment. Or here too, if this is a topic that interests you!)

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This is my original dress. It was on the sale rack at Target last year and after trying it on and loving it, I thought why not. I wore it a bunch during the summer and it was uber comfortable and easy to pair with shoes and accessories. I don’t know about you, but in the last year I’ve realized that not everything in my wardrobe needs to be handmade (nor do I have time for it to be). There’s a consignment shop that I frequent and a couple of thrift stores that I live near that I also make it to every once in awhile. I also purchase items on sale. I purchase only those things that I love, that already fit and I know would mix and match well. I used to purchase things that I thought I would refashion and after realizing that, for me, these types of things only end up in my UFO pile, I decided to change my direction with thrifted items. I love seeing awesome refashions, but have to say that I just don’t ever really do them. So I made rules that I abide by when I thrift or buy things on sale. Do you do this? Do you refashion a lot of things or do they end up in a UFO pile for you too?

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Back to the issue at hand, I’ve wanted to recreate this dress for some time and after seeing the Garnet Hill catalog, I thought I was long overdue for a little easy dress. I picked this dove grey rayon/silk blend – the same fabric as my pink walrus jacket – and I thought I would add in some black linen here and there to create some break up of the grey. I’m envisioning adding a lining, adding a little more length to the bottom of the dress (its a tad on the short side) and adding yoke pieces and a hem band in the black. Simple, sure, but it will most definitely get worn and that’s important.

What’s on your sewing table today?

PS ~ Thank you for your fabulous thoughts on Monday’s post about fabric and pattern pairings. You’ve given me lots of ideas to address and I most definitely will, coming right up!

  • Jenny - Love the inspiration dress – very chic and easy to wear. That’s actually my favorite type of dress. Easy to wear and comfortable. On my sewing table – McCalls 6083 – jumpsuit, a peplum top, a wrap dress and a maxi skirt. I hope to have it all done by Saturday!ReplyCancel

  • McCall - Sunni, I just want to say I love seeing what you do. I envy your skills. At the moment on my “sewing” desk you’d find pieces of a mini birdhouse that painted by one of my twins and now needs to be glued together, a box of valentines, misc. stuff I’ve had to take from the kids and “hide”, and so much more but nary a bit of fabric. :( And so I will live vicariously through you and your projects for now. Happy Sewing!ReplyCancel

    • Stephanie - HA! The cry of agreement! My children are teens now, and sometimes I forget to clear out all the nooks and crannies of the work table, so I found quite the assortment of nerf darts in my linen stash this week. That and some small action figures that must have been a problem….five or six years ago.

      I am a ‘refashioner’ as most of my sewing is altering store bought that never quite fits. This evolved into vintage, then to thrifting, and now it’s quite the luxury to cut into fabric to sew from ‘scratch’. The stash is old and vast, so I only seem to venture out for thread and zippers anymore.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - This is exactly the type of dress I could LIVE in spring-fall! It’s such a great dress on its own, and will be wonderful for layering.

    I’m thinking of adding a contrasting band at the hem of a skirt I’m working on. Would you mind sharing, do you plan to press your hem open or up? My skirt is lined, so I’m not overly worried about raw edges being exposed. But, I would be on a single layer garment like this. Thanks for any help!ReplyCancel

  • Elle - You know, I think this post touches on the “Wardrobe Architect” craze that the Coletterie seems to have brought up. I think it’s smart to focus on making things that you know you will wear all the time. It seems common sense, but so many of us spend tons of time working on items we won’t wear all the time because they don’t fit our lifestyle or our style. If a simple Target dress ticks all your boxes, why not replicate it? A project doesn’t have to be fancy to be great.ReplyCancel

  • Denise - That dress will be lovely:). On my sewing table: a clone of a pair of trousers that I love that are awaiting a zipper and a (hopefully) wearable muslin of NewLook 6150.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i love the inspiration dress! reminds me of the pattern runway kimono dress, which i’ve been meaning to make for basically forever… on my sewing table… trying to get a few kid pieces done for when spring decides to show up, then back to sewing for me!ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - It’s a great style – I’ve made a couple similar to this. It’s funny isn’t it once we get right into garment sewing it can feel harder to justify purchasing something RTW – my brain says ‘nah, I can just make that…..After I’ve made the million other things on my last!’ Ha! I’m finishing up a stripey top, then starting the muslin for a silk jersey draped dress for my best friends wedding…..ReplyCancel

  • Angela - I recently bought a casual dress from Target, too! I also shop at thrift stores, but not to refashion items. I saved back some things from my own clothes that I thought I might refashion, but I’m finding out it’s really hard to have enough fabric to work with — so not my favorite thing, but since I’ve already got the clothes, I may give it a few more tries. Sometimes I do find great fabric yardage at my thrift store, though.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - That looks like such a comfortable dress! I’d love to have a dress like that. Right now, I’m trying to sew a top out of some Liberty lawn, but other jobs around the house keep getting in the way.ReplyCancel

  • Chris - I made alot of clothes using a rub off pattern- it does take the guesswork out of everything. I also refashion- mainly because clothes rarely fit straight from the rack!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I’m the same with refashioning! I was in op (thrift) shops yesterday, but just cannot get my head around buying something that doesn’t fit me. This dress looks so perfect for summer, I can’t wait to see your finished result. I’ve just finished a shirt for son and a Sorbetto tank for me (trying to stashbust) and I have another Sorbetto on the table, plus another shirt for son. Getting boring…ReplyCancel

  • Amy Clark - Your thoughts on handmade vs. rtw mirror my own buying philosophy almost exactly. I don’t have time to make everything I wear, and when I do have time to sew, often I want to sew something fun. I try to shop at consignment/thrift shops as much as possible but I do buy new off of sales racks periodically. I don’t really like shopping that much but I realize that I do have to get dressed. Currently on my sewing table: a modified Barcelona skirt. This is far and away the most flattering skirt I have ever found for my figure. I’ve made a bunch over the years but lost weight last summer and have to make a size smaller – this time I tried shortening the skirt to mix it up a little. It’s a pretty simple pattern so a good one to pick for my first time pattern hacking. Seems to have worked so far….ReplyCancel

  • Kara - I’ve got a couple of things on my sewing table right now:
    An Alma blouse in a light blue challis. True story: I was all ready to sew it up, but realized everything else on deck to sew needed the black thread that was already on my serger, and I couldn’t bring myself to change the thread for one project.
    A Georgia dress that will be made from a nice floral stretch sateen.
    Oh, and a grey wool trumpet skirt (fabric from your shop!). This will sew up quickly, but I’m worried that I ought to muslin it first, so haven’t gotten it started yet.
    The first two have both been through a few rounds of muslins, so I’m pretty confident about the fit. I’ve been off to a slow start with sewing this year, partly because I’ve been working in some knitting projects.
    I must say the Georgia dress is not the most practical thing for me, but I think it will be smashing, so I may find myself inventing appropriate places to wear it.ReplyCancel

  • new fashion styleOn the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress - A Fashionable Stitch » new fashion style - […] See the article here: On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress – A Fashionable Stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • Amy w - With RTW I just ask myself if this is something I can and will make soon. I haven’t progressed to button down shirts or pants/jeans so I but those. I’m working on building my work wardrobe. A nice top (right now it being a pullover) and a straight skirt is my work “uniform”. I just can’t do thrift stores. It’s hard for me to dig through the long racks and find something or buy a large shapeless dress and make something new from it. A friend of mine is an expert thrifter. She’ll find nice stuff (Ann Taylor) with tags still on. I find silly cat sweaters from 1983. Lol. So I just don’t bother with it.ReplyCancel

  • erin - LOVING the colours and fabrics you have chosen. It’s going to be a fabulous dress, I’m sure of it!ReplyCancel

  • Christianne Bower - I love shopping at thrift and consignment shops, but I don’t buy things that need extensive alterations. Shortening a hem or sleeve, lowering a neckline: I can do. Sometimes sewing something is going to be either too difficult for me or too expensive, and that’s when I go to my favorite thrift and consignment places…probably a quarter of my wardrobe I’ve sewn, a quarter I’ve bought new, and the rest is from thrift shops etc. I buy brand names and quality items only; classics that are timeless.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Very nice dress. I was particularly taken by your inspiration post from the week before. Bit of a jacket fan.ReplyCancel

  • Enter Simplicity 1654 Fitting Muslin » A Fashionable Stitch - […] things first. I did rub-off a pattern for my Garnet Hill inspired dress. I then proceeded to cut out fabric, sew it up and even though the dress itself will work, the […]ReplyCancel

Pairing Pattern & Fabric

The other day I received the latest Garnet Hill catalogue in the mail. It’s one of those that I didn’t actually sign up for, have never purchased anything from but have become a regular receiver of. And oddly, its one that I like. As I was flipping through its pages, something struck me and I thought it would be an excellent topic of discussion. The thing that stood out the most for me in this latest issue of Garnet Hill was the happy marriage of pattern/design and fabric type. I’ve noticed things like this before, but it didn’t actually really truly hit home until I saw a dress that I really liked and went to my stash so that I could possibly come up with a sewing substitute.

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What I was looking at the most was the shape and the way the dress falls on the body. It’s this dress above and I liked the drapey quality of the rayon that was used in conjunction with the style/design it was paired with. I consider fabric and pattern pairings all the time when I’m in the heat of working out the next project I want to tackle. This time I felt it was a more conscious choice of what would work the absolute best so as to give me the exact look that I saw and wanted.

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I remembered a Thread’s article that was published not too long ago (but can’t seem to find) on how one of the biggest failings in personal sewing is pairing the wrong fabric with a specific pattern. These days I have to admit that it seems like you can’t go wrong when you choose a pattern and slap a fabric with it. I mean, as I was looking at the Garnet Hill catalogue, I noticed lovely things like silk crepe de chine shorts and even a jacket. To me this was an interesting pairing and one I probably wouldn’t come up with on my own and one that I would still consider but possibly choose something stronger like a 4-ply silk for a jacket and short combo. Still, I’m curious and want to try a crepe de chine short – now those would be sublime!

Now when it comes to it, I’ll admit that many of my sewing flops could be attributed to poor fabric choice. Because of poor fabric choice, it’s also interesting to note that things like fit and style didn’t fall into place either thereby making it a flop. Yet, when I think of it, I was only concerned with fit and thought that it must have been only a fitting error. An interesting confession, I think. What do you say? Can you attribute some of your flops to poor fabric choice? Were you going for one thing and ended up with something that was a flop because the fabric didn’t lay right for the pattern you chose?

I plan to do a couple of follow up posts on this subject to give you some ideas of good fabric and pattern pairings that I’ve been thinking about, some examples of bad fabric and pattern pairings and how to make unusual fabric pairings work.

  • Wendy - I think you have it spot on! I know that bad fabric choice is certainly responsible for most of my failures. It’s something I have been aware of only very recently and so will look forward to your next posts.ReplyCancel

  • LSV - Perfect, I was just thinking about this – how to pair fabric for my life (no dry cleaning, durable) and patterns, now that I am becoming more competent at sewing. Also, as I don’t live anywhere near a fabric store, and have to order online, how to look at content of the fabric and have an idea of how it will behave.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Excellent point. I often think I need to sew things that will be durable instead of enjoyable! Thanks for the tip about looking at catalogues for sewing ideas as well.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I attribute all of my sewing flops to poor fabric choice. Maybe fitting or design issues that caused the flop once or twice, but seriously, proper pairing of fabric to pattern is my number one struggle. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it!ReplyCancel

  • H - I think you’ve made a good point there about fabric choice. When I sewed my first pair of jeans I used some corduroy that turned out to be too thick, so although they fit and looked okayish I never felt comfortable in them.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - As a new sewer, I *know* that it is all about my poor fabric choices. I don’t have any decent apparel fabric stores nearby and am terrified to purchase online without feeling or discussing with a clerk because I know that I don’t know what that fabric is or what it will do.

    As a result, I don’t sew very often. It’s sad, and I know I won’t get better until I practice more, but how to practice without going bankrupt and having piles of unwearable garments!?ReplyCancel

  • Mari - Excellent post. I look forward to the follow up series. Fabric choice seems to be so neglected while everyone concentrates on fit and sewing the current “in” patterns. All is lost if the fabric is wrong.ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - Yes! I can totally speak to this! Currently, I working on the third make for Simplicity 7456. I contribute the first “failure” to fit and fabric, but the second, I totally blame the fabric. I chose a lightweight wool and it really needed a heavier weight one for me to achieve the look I was going for. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that numero tres will be the winner.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I often know what fabric I am looking for in terms of fibre/drape but I am hampered by lack of availability (I am in the UK)- if I can find rayon it might be in a pattern that is garish, or I can only find chambray in the same shade of blue I have already used many times. Online has a better selection but it can be risky when it arrives and it is much lighter weight and totally see through compared to the picture!ReplyCancel

  • SewingElle - You are so right. My flops are almost all about poor fabric choice.ReplyCancel

  • Sally - Right on Meg! ALL my recent frustrations have been with the fabrics I’ve picked to make a certain garment. Love the ideas in your post about the silky/drapey fabric for shorts and a jacket :) ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Yep, just about every one of my failures has been about poor fabric choices. I think it’s because I don’t buy specific fabric for a pattern, but try to retrofit stash fabric to stash patterns. I do think that the more failures I have, the better I am at thinking through what I’m doing…ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I can attribute more than one flop to poor fabric choice. When I see the price of catalog clothes and I KNOW I can make that so much cheaper, I become committed to make it myself. The challenge is finding something locally and I’m stuck with just JoAnns, Hancock, and Walmart – none of which seem to carry good quality fabric. Even if I find a good drape, it will pill after a few washings, or fade, or fray…very frustrating after hours and hours of work. I don’t mind shopping online but the color that arrives in the mail can be a surprise sometimes. So what is the trick? Snatching up good fabric when I find it in the hopes that it will work with something in the future? Or finding the garment I want to make and then hoping to come across the right fabric? It’s stifling.ReplyCancel

  • Helen Fox - I am so in need of this post (and the follow ups) I have been making the odd handmade for years, but with very little actual success and am getting into it a lot more now. I know I can attribute most of my failures to bad fabric choice. A bit more insight into this is exactly what I need. Also, I do buy a lot of fabric online so would welcome any advice on types of fabric and their behaviours, what will stick to your tights, useful fabrics for lining etc. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts on these.ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - What a good thought, that fitting problems might be connected to poor fabric choice…
    Looking forward to hearing more!ReplyCancel

  • Dottie doodle - Definitely, I get the fabric choice wrong all the time. Usually, it’s wearable but…. And I only seem to learn by getting it wrong, which is expensive!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - This is so true Sunni, and I never thought about unfixable fit problems being related to the wrong fabric. There’s a cute little handbook of quotes by Dior, in which he gives some advice for home sewers – one being to always follow what the pattern recommends in terms of fabric choice!
    Designers put a lot of effort into designing with a specific hand or drape of fabric in mind and you ignore it to your peril…ReplyCancel

  • On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress » A Fashionable Stitch - […] fun to see a garment go from inspiration to pattern to fabric to construction to finish. As per my post this past Monday, I was inspired by that Garnet Hill dress to create something similar. The dress in and of itself […]ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - There are three parts to a successful garment in my book – fabric/pattern choice, fit and construction techniques. Miss one of these and you can definitely end up with a wadder. Have I had my share of missed opportunities because of a poor fabric pairing? Most definitely!

    There use to be these fabric books that were sold and widely purchased that had samples of the fabric in them along with their qualities so that a sewist could feel the hand of a fabric. I miss them and think that some enterprising person could make a mint if they brought them back because there are so many sewists how there fumbling in the dark when it comes to fabric and it’s properties.

    Learning how to make good fabric/pattern choices is integral to having a wonderful garment at the end of your sewing journey.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Great point! I agree that one of the biggest contributions to my fails has been fabric choice. Also, knowing what styles you can and can’t pull off is definitely another HUGE factor in achieving a hit or miss. Prior to learning how to do an FBA (and the fact that I definitely needed one) I’d say ALL of my fails were due to fit, but even though my fitting still isn’t perfect, it’s not a deal breaker most of the time, if I love the way the garment wears, which I think has a lot to do with fabric and style.ReplyCancel

  • Bev - Great insights!! Yes I have definitely had project failures due to poor fabric choices! Can’t wait for your future posts on this subject!! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Shawnta - I have to agree that about 95% of my sewing flops are due to poor fabric choices. The other 5% comes from not taking my time.ReplyCancel

  • Annette - I think fabric is a large part, but when the chain fabric stores, Joann’s and Hancock, only offer such limited choices and patterns that the majority of beginners use; it is not surprising that so many beginners give up. I have been successful with the Joann’s and Hancock’s, I don’t have anywhere else close. But the key is that even having the fabric choice issue is that the instructions are often horrible or missing crucial steps. I usually have much better results when I use techniques that I have picked up from books, magazines and the awesome blogging community.ReplyCancel

  • Peggy - You are absolutely correct! The main problem I see among new sewers these days is that they use the wrong fabric, making the article of clothing cartoonish or an adult version of a child’s outfit. It took me years (and years) to figure pattern/fabric matching, mainly because I think I was so focused on learning the craft.ReplyCancel

  • Swiss Dot McCall’s 6696 | sew Amy sew - […] combo (A Fashionable Stitch discusses this very tricky issue which I struggle with constantly in this post).I got the fabric at Spotlight, it’s 100% cotton swiss dot and super soft, almost like an old […]ReplyCancel

Behind the Seams: Pink Walrus Jacket

First things first. Today was my farewell to Project Sewn. Thank you everyone for your support and sweet comments about my makes and the competition in general. Thank you! I’m happy that I was able to participate and I was thrilled and incredibly honored to be listed among the other amazing ladies. They are still kickin it over there for the last week. Down to the final three – Rachel, Oona and Alida! I’m sure this upcoming week will be a very hard pick. All my best to the final three!

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Several of y’all wanted to see the innards of my Pink Walrus jacket from last week and I’m more than happy to oblige. Far be it from me to withhold more nerdy info on one of my makes. I may as well give you the entire run down.

The jacket was fusibly tailored – meaning I used a fusible interfacing throughout. I used two different interfacings in different areas because I’ve liked the way this works in other jackets that I’ve done. I used a weft interfacing for the main body of the jacket and this absolutely marvelous pro-sheer elegance interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply for the faced areas of the jacket. Whenever I fusibly tailor a jacket, I use this method of applying the interfacing to the jacket front/lapel area. It’s pretty awesome. Also, I did tape the roll line for the lapel and I did that by machine. That, I should not have done. It just shows up too easily here, but might work better on something like a tweed or boucle where the stitches would really be hidden.

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I attached the pockets using my patch pocket method. Someone asked about the flaps. Really they’re just little rectangles that are stitched in place, folded down and stitched again. The Named instructions are very adequate for those. (BTW, this is the Kaisla jacket from Named….)

The body of the jacket is made from this drapey rayon/silk blend and its was interesting, to say the least. I wanted a drapey jacket but hadn’t thought that making one from something like this would be hard. It was hard. Not only did this fabric show a lot of flaws, but it shows all the inner workings pretty well too. Or it was trying to do that, but alas, I tamed this beast into submission! The final jacket looks really good and I’m surprised at just how well it coordinates into my existing wardrobe.

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The lining in the body is a silk/acetate blend hollywood lining. From what I understand, hollywood lining merely refers to the jacquard look of it. Mine has little medallions woven into it and that purpley color looks so unnervingly awesome with the pink. I also have this same lining in a tan color, just begging for another jacket lining to be made from it. Additionally, I lined the sleeves in a Liberty of London silk charmeuse. This, as you might be aware, is one of my favorite tricks. I’ve seen this type of thing in high end RTW and I love being able to use a contrasting lining in the sleeve to give the inside of a jacket a little edge. It’s fun! Additionally, it keeps the cost down on the silk front. I mean you only need a yard – if that – of silk for the sleeve and since your sleeve is the part of the jacket that will most likely touch the skin, it feels incredibly luxurious.

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Someone asked about the vent in the back. All I did with the vent is not sew it in. This means that instead of a slit or vent in the center back seam, I sewed the whole thing shut. There was no other change to the pattern in the back other than that so the shape of the jacket back is built into the pattern. I do love vents on jackets, I just didn’t want to mess with it because a vent with a lining is actually not the easiest thing to sew. I really didn’t have time for fiddly stuff, so I skipped that and redrafted the lining to better meet the way I had envisioned sewing this jacket. Worked out just great.

I’m really loving this jacket style in my closet. It’s a knock out color and looks easy and fabulous with jeans and a simple tee. I love the length too. It’s a longer style jacket and that has its perks. Plus it has a little modern edge to it that I think is really nice. I love the no collar look and can even envision a cardigan style jacket made from it. Lots of possibilities here.

What did you think of this jacket in the Named line-up? Like my lining combo? It’s a must try tip. Silk in the sleeve feels like a million dollars!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

  • Kathy Sews - I’ve enjoyed seeing your creations sooo much!! You kicked butt and so we’ll all still be tuning in on your blog regularly to read and see all your future makes!!ReplyCancel

  • Geo P - I loved all your outfits and I’m sorry to see you’re out. I need to make a jacket now, yours are amazing, I love them all! :) ReplyCancel

  • Dee Dee - Sunni, your pink jacket is the winner! Too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Dee Dee - Sunni, you have the most gorgeous, delectable, delicious looking notions!!! A girl after my own heart. The bias tapes, Petersham ribbons, everything……..makes me drool. I hope to share this information with everybody on Facebook. Best of luck on keeping on, forever keeping the gorgeous notions department. I have never seen the variety of colors anywhere in any notions dept. Love ya, Dee DeeReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Dee Dee! We are hoping to expand the online shop even a little bit more. Yay! Thanks for your enthusiasm. Means a lot!ReplyCancel

  • Aud Steier Griem - Hi, Sunni.

    Your jackets are wonderful. I very much like the way you make the sleeves with a different lining. Do you cut the sleeves longer to be able to wear them this way?

    Best regards,
    Aud in NorwayReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Aud! The sleeves are cut just like they would be for a regular jacket, I just roll them up! I should probably have a photo of them rolled down, but I was lazy and didn’t!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I love this jacket so much! It’s such an amazing color- I’m sure you must get boatloads of compliments every time you wear it! Thanks for linking to that Threads article. I will be poring over that, for sure! I’ve only made one jacket that was really tailored, and I used a really drapey fabric, too, so I feel your pain. I’m not sure how successful I was overall with it, but it was a good learning experience. Man, all the inside stuff really wanted to show through the fashion fabric! Ugh!

    Hope you enjoy some downtime after the mania of Project Sewn! I so loved your outfits!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - this jacket seriously has me drooling! i love the drape-y fabric, though i can only imagine how challenging that ended up being! the contrast sleeve lining is such a great idea… i’ll have to remember that! i really do plan to pick up this pattern for spring, an endorsement from you means a lot in my book!ReplyCancel

  • blacklabel - Awesome colour, impeccable finish – you’ll be missed on PS.xReplyCancel

  • Ann - Regarding Project Sewn, I don’t want to say anything, which might appear to diminish the work of your contenders in any way, but I do not agree with the outcome. I suspect it may have had more to do with popularity than with merit. Moreover, if everyone voted just once for what she sincerely believed was the most meritorious entry, you would not have been eliminated. I am sorry to see you go, and impressed, but not surprised, by your good sportsmanship. Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Eirini - I loved your creations and your styling on PS so much!!! Hopefully we will continue to see more of those in this blog…ReplyCancel

  • seamsoddlouise - I’ve loved all of your designs from PS. So sad to see you go. The lace skirt was awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - It’s great to see the inner workings! I think my absolute favorite part, outside of the obviously great craftsmanship and how it looked on you, is that you said it coordinates with so many things in your wardrobe. Anyone who has a wardrobe that can slip in a hot pink blazer seamlessly (har har) is fantastic. But we already knew that about you! ;) ReplyCancel

  • Deb - Hi there, Just a question regarding the interfacing that you use. Why do you use different interfacings and why the type that you use? I read about it and it appears that it is extremely lightweight – don’t you need something a little heavier in this area? What did you use on the back?

    Also,do you pull through your sleeve lining and use it as a cuff?

    Thanks so much –
    DebReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Deb!
      Whenever you pick interfacings you have to pick them according to the fabric weight, drape, thickness, etc and in this case I was working with a fabric that was drapey and somewhat thin. I wanted to maintain the drape while still giving a little bit of structure. The weft that I used was the hefty interfacing and I used that on the body of the jacket. The lighter weight interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply was a good contrast to the beefier weft and still maintained the amount of drape I wanted to keep in the overall jacket. I used the weft in the jacket fronts, around the armholes and the upper jacket back. I used the lighter weight interfacing in the jacket facings. Interfacing a jacket is a completely separate animal from any other garment and its something I might discuss more in the future. I’ll consider it!

      The sleeve on the jacket is just rolled up. Its not a cuff, just double rolled for style and to show off my fun sleeve lining! Otherwise its just a regular jacket sleeve.

      Thanks so much for your questions!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - I love the simplicity of this jacket. Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Ayida - That’s a beautiful Walrus Sunni! And I love how you just ‘casually’ provide us with tons of tips. I have never made a jacket because it seems so laborious, but I did add the Kasia pattern to my wishlist so I’m gonna do it some day!ReplyCancel

dapper

I hope you all had a steamy lovey weekend filled with v-day celebrations. I did. I mean, I picked out some old Harlequin romances from my bookcase (yes, I have a select few) and read them and loved their trashiness. Les sigh. I was telling my mister about it and well, we giggled. They are rather fun! I mean, its really awesome when you already have the whole thing figured out from the beginning, the books always follow the same story line and they have as little depth as possible. I have to say, its wonderful when the goods are delivered. And you can definitely judge Harlequins by their cover. Ha ha!

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Onto other pressing matters, I guess. I’m flattered to have made it thus far in Project Sewn. Seriously. It’s been pretty intense what with the workload I already have going, but I am determined to give it my all.  That said…. this week’s challenge was shoes. Here’s the thing though. I have to preface this by telling you that this outfit wasn’t actually made for the challenge. The outfit itself was actually based around these leopard heels, but I made this stuff way back in September and never blogged about them because of the hours I’ve been keeping for the last few months. And we can’t have that, now can we? I mean, I never blogged this skirt! How dare I?!! Alas, this week was one of those where my inner worker bee finally said ENOUGH! and I couldn’t bring myself to crank out anything from my sewing machine and I barely kept up at work. Taking a break has been much needed and so, it was Harlequins, Deep Space Nine and me-time as I slowly turned into a pumpkin all week.

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Still, the outfit bears some pretty remarkable elements and I’m proud to say that I can finagle my way out of tight situations with finesse (thank goodness I had sense in September to feel that I needed to make this for Project Sewn). So let’s talk. You can see that I didn’t deviate from my jacket obsession. My oh my. This jacket, as you already know if you read me, is not me-made. But since I had to re-line this thing (it being my favorite jacket ever) and since re-lining a jacket isn’t exactly the easiest thing ever, I included it in this week’s challenge. I’ve done this with several jackets that I already have actually. I’m all about making a garment last as long as it possibly can and this jacket is definitely no different. This is the original jacket from challenge #1 – my green jacket there being an exact replica of this one. My love for this thing knows no bounds. It will survive!

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My button-up is Simplicity 2339 (out of print, boooo!) and it’s a go-to pattern for me. Though I’m getting ready to give the famed Archer a try. I love me a good button up, especially when one can move their arms freely. You know me. I have that problem with sooooooooooooo many things. I even get tired of re-iterating the same fitting problem over and over. (Note to self: grow smaller upper back to accommodate patterns more easily). My top’s made from a Liberty of London cotton lawn. What else? This shirt, I have to say, was impeccably made. I’m singing my own praises just a little bit, but really, it’s really really good. You would never even know that I made it. I am very proud of myself on that front. I used all the tricks that I’ve gathered from everywhere and it bears some real fine workmanship.

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The skirt is my own self drafted skirt. It’s made of a lace that I seriously splurged on because I’m not really a lace kind of gal and when I see one that I like, I die and like, have to have it! The lace was incredibly expensive ($80/yard – YIKES). I underlined with a 4-ply silk crepe, lined the skirt in bemberg rayon lining and finished it off with a petersham ribbon waistband. It’s pretty much gorgeous. Pretty much. This brings me to another find that I’m hesitant to tell you about because this online shop boasts some pretty remarkable fabrics and I am loathe to give up my secret sources because then it means that y’all will go out and buy all the fabric. I go there when I’m in the mood for something ….. different. Fabrics and Trimmings on Etsy has really lovely fabric. A lot of what they have is novelty apparel and I have to say, very very tasteful and well, sooooooooo cool. Oh I can’t even believe I’m telling you about them, but I have to. You’ll love the stuff you find there and you know, it’s important that we keep these little resources going. So go and shop with impunity. It’s where I found this lace that was worth every single cent. And I made sure that I went on over there before I posted this and bought up all the good stuff anyway…… You know, I tease. right? Right? (wink, wink)

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And now a a pic of me and my man. I mean it was Valentine’s Day over the weekend. Mr. S told me to tell you that he got in a fight at a bar defending my honor, hence the mark on his lip that looks an awful lot like a cold sore. The blazer he’s wearing is an oldy that I altered for him (made it fit him a whole lot better) and I relined it too. Granted this was in December that I did this for him, but I instinctively knew that he would defend my honor so well that the jacket was completely justified. What can I say? We’re both hopeless romantic jacket people.

Now, enough of my silliness. Project Sewn awaits your vote!

  • Alida - Such a cute couple! I almost used that Liberty of London fabric for my trench coat but couldn’t afford that many yards!ReplyCancel

  • Jan - I love the classic jacket! Makes me want to head to the fabric shop to buy wool. Cute pic of you and your man!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - You two are so cute together! :) Yet another fabulous ensemble from you! You ladies are knocking it out of the park- I’m having so much fun every week seeing your makes!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - I adore the skirt ~ especially the way some of the flowers hang down past the hem. I don’t think ever, in my wildest dream, I could spend that much money on fabric. But I bet you feel like a million bucks when you wear it :-)
    Very cute picture of you and your love together!ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - Whoa, Sunni, you really did it up this time. I mean, you alway do, but for round 3 of PS, you went above all your previous makes. This outfit contains all my favorite fabrics – lace, 4 ply silk, and ridiculously printed cotton.ReplyCancel

  • Hélène - Lovely! Especially this gorgeous skirt with the flower lace detail. And the rich colour of the shirt. And the shoes. And the guy…ReplyCancel

  • Gjeometry - Wow, your entire outfit is awesome! I love mixing and matching colours and prints. We can wear black to a funeral, amirite? I think my favourite is that skirt, what fantastic fabric/colour/print/lace. ALL so pretty.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - wowza!!! love this outfit! the skirt is absolutely to die for… what a perfect splurge!ReplyCancel

  • Julia Bobbin - Those shoes! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your style is amazing! Absolutely love this look, I think it’s my favourite of yours so far! Bravo!!ReplyCancel

  • Miss Demeanour - Ah you two are too cute :) You really do have a sense of style and as Coco said, “fashion fades only style remains” nice work.

    xxxReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - Aww, you guys are so cute! Love all the elements of your outfit! Your jackets are super inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Sew Chic - Love this ensemble! Your pairing of fabric & texture is delightful. Good Luck in the contest!ReplyCancel

  • Almost there | Made in my living room - […] In other news – sewing/knitting related – I’ve made some progress with my perfect jacket pattern. I have it ready, 2 piece sleeve and all, I need to make a muslin now. I’m thinking of something similar to Dapper. […]ReplyCancel

  • Candace - Love this outfit! excellent! the skirt,the shirt, and the manly arm candy : )ReplyCancel

How to: Sew & Attach a Patch Pocket

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I know, I know. It’s been a seriously long space of time since I did a tutorial. I love tutorials and at one moment in time, I felt I had a lot to give in that arena. Thing is, things have been so busy. Something you’ve heard from me for a bit. The great part is though, I’ve got help now! Oh my gosh! You guys, you’re going to start meeting some of my staff here and I’m going to coax them into writing a few bloggy blog posts. They are all so creative. Can I just say, its super fun being around creative sorts and its so much fun to see the light in their eyes when they talk sewing. Anyway, anyway today, as a finish to the week, I thought I would get back to a little tutorial writing. Today’s topic is sewing and attaching a patch pocket.

Lest you think this might be a yawn, I’m here to say that patch pockets can definitely turn a handmade project into homemade at a moment’s notice. The kind where people are like, “Hmmm…did you make that?” And in their head they’re like, “cuz it looks like it.” Oh the shame, the shame! So let me give you some of my tips, eh?

Click here to view the full post »

  • Doris - Sunni, you are such a ray of sunshine these days. You are just so girly and precious. My son, 29 now, is always saying stuff like I just heard you say in a recent post; “I’m gonna love me some “whatever it is you are talking about!” I crack up when I hear him say that! I’m 74 and not a whole lot to laugh about these days so you are a breath of fresh air. Another thing he said inside the bank the other day, “Hmmmmm…….smells like success in here!” Too funny. I love both of your very different from the average bear, funny sayings. Just to let you know. One more thing, you are so blessed with talent. You could be a model! Keep on keeping on! Sincerely, DorisReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Doris! You just made my day! Thank you. Your sweet words mean so much!
      xxReplyCancel

  • Beth - I literally attached patch pockets to a blazer yesterday :P Ah well, it’s a wearable muslin, so I’ll use your methods for the “real” blazer (which is also pink!) when I get around to it. Thanks for a great tutorial!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Beth! It’s so good to hear that you’re making a pink blazer – I’m seriously lovin mine. Can’t wait to see your blazer! Pink forever!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - Goodness, isn’t Doris a dear! I echo her sentiment: Keep on keeping on. I adore you and everything you produceReplyCancel

  • kate mcivor - Thanks Sunni! A lovely pink tutorial for Valentine’s Day!ReplyCancel

  • Nakisha - This is awesome. It seems like something that would be so simple but it’s actually kind of difficult to turn good patch pockets!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I agree. They are one of those things that seem like it should just be the easiest thing in the world and they aren’t exactly. A well executed patch pocket rocks!ReplyCancel

  • oonaballoona - ugh, patch pockets have been a monster-in-the-closet to me, this tutorial could get me to try them again. i honestly didn’t reconize your jacket pockets as patch, because they were so damn pretty!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh thanks Oona! Yes, I’ve had some really unfortunate patch pocket experiences. They can look soooooo bad, so fast!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - Patch pockets are usually not something I usually fall for either, as they do have a tendency to look so homemade. But I have to admit, I think you have made a believer out of me. Great tutorial and some seriously stylish patch pockets! Who would have thought!!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Thanks for this tutorial! I avoid patch pockets as well, they are just so easy to get wrong. Your pockets are so lovely, they make me want to give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • Annette - Great tutorial. I’m now trying to figure out what I can make with patch pockets! I really want to try this.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I love them on jackets and they can look killer on skirts and even shirts as well. Even like a Grainline Scout Tee and little patch pocket. So fun!ReplyCancel

  • Annette Tirette - Great tutorial! I once made a Burda coat that had you slipstitch the patch pockets on and then topstitch, which takes some more time but might be useful when you want your topstitching a bit further away from the edge!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I’ve done this too! I’ve also attached patch pockets soley by hand and they can look even nicer when done like that too. I might just have to do a part-two tutorial.ReplyCancel

  • Candice - otherwise did you make the flap on the pocketReplyCancel

    • Sunni - The flap pattern piece came with the Kaisla jacket pattern and yes, I stitched the flap portion in a similar way except instead of using lining I used another piece of the same pink fabric for the flap facing. Since I wanted that favoring to happen though, I did cut the flap facing a little smaller than the outer flap. Hopefully this makes sense!ReplyCancel

  • Candice - that should be how did you make the flap on the pocket?ReplyCancel

  • maddie - I’m a huge patch pocket lover too. More than exposed zippers or ruffles!

    Quick question. When stitching the lining to the pocket at top, is it wrong or right sides together? I see that in the next steps, the top of the pocket is folded back and then folded under 1/4″ (?) to clean finish? It might be me that’s missing something – it’s Friday and my brain is fried.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - When stitching the lining to the pocket at the top edge of the lining, its right sides together. Then the top edge of the pocket (the pink fabric) folds back about 3/4″ or so. No need to fold under again, which would kind of be impossible really. Its just a seam that connects the lining to the pocket at the top edge of the pocket lining. I did press the seam in one direction only (downward toward the lining), so maybe that’s where the confusions lies? The lining piece is quite a bit shorter than the pocket so that you don’t have to have too many seams everywhere. Just makes for a nicer finish.ReplyCancel

      • maddie - Ah, yes, I was looking at the image incorrectly. I apologize about that. Thank you for clarifying.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Thank you for the great tutorial – such a small part of a garment, but it can have a major effect on how professional it looks. I love the “non-snip” method of turning corners. Light bulb moment when I tried that!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Hi Sunni, I love reading your blog. You are such an inspiration. In the past, I have signed up to receive your blog via my email and for some reason the email notifications have stopped. I have gone back on your blog & re-entered my email address for blog updates, but alas nothing!!! I don’t want to miss any of your blogs as they keep me inspired. Any ideas as to why I no longer receive the email notifications?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh no! I don’t really know what could be the problem (I’m not totally tech savvy). I am also signed up for the emails for my blog, just to make sure everything works, and it seems to work just fine for me. Are the posts being sent to your spam folder by chance?ReplyCancel

      • Tina - If you mean my junk folder, then no they’re not. I will add your email address to my contacts list to see if that makes a difference. I thought maybe you might know what the problem is in case another follower had the same issue. Thanks.ReplyCancel

        • Tina - Hey Sunni, I think I solved the problem. Will know for sure after you post a new blog.ReplyCancel

  • Dottie doodle - Brilliant, thank you! I’m planning a denim skirt with patch pockets so great timing.ReplyCancel

  • Tutorial: Sew & attach patch pockets that look awesome | Sewing | CraftGossip.com - […] sharp corners and a lining that doesn’t peek out – and they’ll look great.  Go to A Fashionable Stitch to see how Sunni does […]ReplyCancel

  • Kristy - I recently heard a tailor talk about construction methods, and he described his method of attaching a patch pocket – he folded under the seam allowances and somehow he managed to machine sew inside the pocket along the seam allowances. Sounded too fiddly to me, your method sounds easier and just as neat.ReplyCancel

  • Sassy T - Featured your Lady Grey on Sassy Sewing Bees it is one of my faves. https://facebook.com/sassysewingbeesReplyCancel

  • MPaula - A great tutorial Sunni, thanks. I bought a lace blazer once and the patch pockets gaped open; it was not a good look. I think they should have been smaller and had stiff interfacing.
    I posted this to facebook and Pinterest.ReplyCancel

  • Behind the Seams: Pink Walrus Jacket » A Fashionable Stitch - […] attached the pockets using my patch pocket method. Someone asked about the flaps. Really they’re just little rectangles that are stitched in […]ReplyCancel

  • Betsy - Looking at this tutorial, I think attaching a patch pocket is HARD, but I hope it’s easier when I actually do it. Thank you for the tutorial. Big help!ReplyCancel