Category Archives: Pattern

Python Print Jacket


IMG_1635Better late than never for #JungleJanuary!

On my SWAP list was a neutral all-purpose indoor/outdoor casual jacket that I could wear when it’s cool in the summer.  “Cool summer” places include work, car, grocery store, and commuter train so basically everywhere except at home.  I had originally envisioned a natural or cream colored belted jacket in linen similar in style to Collette’s Lady Grey coat, but that morphed into this moto inspired jacket once I saw this snake print.


Fabric  –  Ah yes, the fabric is what this is all about, right?  All thoughts about the all-purpose cream color were set aside when I saw this lightweight cotton twill in cream, black, taupe, and grey.  It’s from Emma One Sock of course, purchased in 2014.  I laid it out as a single layer so I could see all of the print which is not symmetrical.  Luckily it doesn’t have a nap so I could rotate the various left or right pieces 180 degrees so the print would be roughly symmetrical with the darker swaths on the sides.

It’s lined in a dotted grey silk purchased eons ago.  It has a bit of a matte texture so it’s not always easy to slide on, but it’s warm.

Pattern  –  Self-drafted!

This jacket is based on an as yet un-blogged fitted linen jacket with set in sleeves, shawl collar, and peplum drafted using the Armstrong pattern drafting book.  I converted the linen draft to the python version using my newest pattern drafting book, Metric Patternmaking for Jackets and Coats that my honey gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.  Love!  I only made one muslin to check the raglan draft, design the front opening and collar, and to check the ease through the body.


  • Raglan sleeves with overarm seam.
  • Faced elbow length cuffs with zips.
  • Front and back princess seams.
  • Moto-inspired diagonal exposed separating zipper. One side of the zip extends up into the shoulder seam.
  • Mandarin collar with contoured front.
  • Applied pocket with zipper and lining.
  • Cuffs and pocket have an ultra-suede detail to cover the ends of the zips.
  • Fully lined.
  • Long enough to cover a big shirt or long sweater.

IMG_1637Construction  –  The construction itself was straight-forward; no tailoring, no shoulder pads, no sleeve heads, so relatively easy to make.  Jackets for Real People has recommendations as to what type of interfacing to use where for different types of fabrics, so with a bit of experimentation, I decided on three different types; one type at the front, a different one at the at the front facings, and a third for the collar and cuffs.  Next time I would double the collar interfacing and beef up the front facing as it’s not quite as firm as I would like.

The big news here is that this is my first bagged lining and it looks very sharp!  I followed the technique in Jackets for Real People and I’ll definitely do it this way again.  It has such a professional look!  You get a clean finish where the facing, lining, and hem all meet at the front.


Fit  –  I drafted this and made the muslin over a long weekend in February.  It then sat on Helena for two months until I got the courage to try it on and work out the fit.  With a few tweaks I decided it was ‘pretty good’ and ran with it. I had a difficult time eliminating some puffiness at the upper back which I unfortunately think comes from my sloper.  At the same time, it’s tight across the back when I reach forward so I can’t remove the puffiness.  I need to figure this one out as it’s happened before.

Also it could use another inch or two of ease at the waist and hips.  I did want it fitted but not quite so fitted!

Update: Yep, I can correct some of the puffiness by adding more ease at the back at the waist and hip so it falls better.

Lessons Learned

  • First bagged lining.
  • First raglan sleeve draft. Woohoo!
  • First time removing coiling zipper teeth. Duh, it really is a coil!
  • There are so many more zippers out in the world than what we see at Joann’s. I ordered a variety of jacket zippers from Wawak.  The colors and sizes were trial and error, but I learned about zipper sizing so next time I’ll have a better feel for what to order.  The front zip is a size #5.

Burda 7525 – A Chambray Shirt for my Honey


For Christmas last year my Honey asked for a replacement for a much loved chambray shirt that had seen better days.  I couldn’t find anything similar online in the right shade of blue so I offered to make one.  Besides a few pajama bottoms and a fleece, I’ve never made him any clothing.  I know, selfish, selfish….

During our recent vacation at the lake in NH when I get to do nothing but sew and swim I took my time and made the shirt.  I take over the entire dining area for sewing when we’re there and have a beautiful view of the water.  Hah! This year I brought a pile of alterations and mending, and the makings for a jacket and pants for me, and Honey’s shirt.  Don’t want to run out of things to sew!  I kid.  As the world’s slowest sewist I know I can’t make all those things but it gives me choices.  I finished Honey’s shirt, including muslins, roughly over the first week.  I promised myself I wouldn’t start anything else new until I got through the alterations.  I made the easy changes like sewing on buttons but stalled out when it came time to taking in a few pants.  I can be such a procrastinator.  Ugh!  I hate having to try stuff on again and again when I’m sewing.


After a quick search for a men’s-long-sleeved-popover-casual-band-collared shirt, I decided on Burda 7525.  I haven’t made a pattern from tissue paper in ages!  The last few years I’ve either drafted them myself or downloaded Burdastyle PDF’s but  I really didn’t want to draft this for my first go.  This pattern has a relaxed fit, band or two-piece collar, bib front option, back pleat, and cuffs.  I’m giving it a thumbs up.


I am quite pleased with the fit!  I wasn’t sure what to expect at first.  I had hoped that fitting the male body might be easier than fitting a woman, but since my Honey is “mature” I knew I’d have to make a few adjustments.  Some of the modifications are the same ones I’d make on a garment for myself.

I made the following design and fitting changes:

  • Added a back yoke to allow for a rounded back.
  • Moved shoulder seams forward and shifted the sleeve cap to match.
  • Narrowed Shoulder width and raised cap height to accordingly.
  • Shortened sleeves ALOT.
  • Changed inverted center back pleat to knife pleats at the shoulder blades. The take-up of the fabric  across the back is the same, but it’s distributed closer to the arms.  I’m going with the theory that this makes the shirt more comfortable when you pull your arms forward.  Curious if anyone has experimented with this.
  • Made an “FSA”. (Full Stomach Adjustment!) I was trying to figure out how to add more length to the front just under the bib so the front would hang straight down and not stick out, not unlike an FBA.  I found a little nugget in David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking book that referred to a full chest modification with a bib front.  I basically created horizontal darts at the chest by opening a horizontal swath along the bottom of the bib. The darts are then then rotated up into the vertical seam between the shirt front and the side of the bib.  Yah, there were some mental gymnastics required for this one.

Since this was my first men’s shirt I ended up making two muslins which may seem like a lot but I want to be able to use this as the starting point for other types of shirts.  Next time I’ll add a bit more ease across the back, and I’ll make it a few inches shorter.


This is a 100% cotton chambray I found at NY Elegant Fabrics in NYC.  (I was there a few months ago for the Patternreview Weekend 2017 which was a ball!)  According to the dictionary, Chambray is a type of plain weave cloth of a cotton, silk or linen with a colored warp and a white weft.  I knew this but I always associate chambray with a particular shade of indigo.



I ignored the Burda instructions and followed most of the techniques and varying seam allowances prescribed in Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. The seams are all felled including the sleeve/armhole seam.  Coffin’s instructions are very clear.  I also used his directions for the collar and cuffs.  He uses a washable glue stick to ‘baste’ the inside faces of the cuffs and collar stand/band down before top stitching.  The Lakehouse was fresh out of gluesticks so I pin basted which wasn’t quite as fun as gluing.

The machine I had with me doesn’t have a rolled hem foot so I sewed a baby hem (using the method with three passes of the machine) and it came out great, maybe even better than a rolled hem.

The INTJ in me usually tries to outsmart the instructions.  In this case, my goal was to attach the bib with no exposed seam allowances.  The bib consists of two pieces of folded fabric with the folded edge overlapped along the center front.  Burda has you fold under the SA of the bib and topstitch it down which leaves you with an exposed seam allowance on the inside.  There’s no attachment method explained in Shirtmaking but from the photos it could be felled, which would be mighty tough with the curved seam.

img_0652I couldn’t give a shirt to my Honey that had exposed seam allowance on the inside, could I?  Technically yes, but I was determined to figure out how to get a clean interior.  So how DO you attach the bib to the bodice without any exposed seam allowances?  I made two tiny clips at the bottom of the bib and used the Burrito method!  Everything is enclosed except for a ¼” slit on the back of the bib.  I attached a tiny patch (hack job) to the inside of the bib to prevent any fraying.  In hindsight this Burrito technique would work better with a separate bib facing instead of folding it.  Then you could skip the clip and patch.

Bib Detail

This was my first time using a ‘button foot’.  I used it for the buttons on the cuffs and it was pretty easy.  I could see how this would be a time saver if you had a lot of buttons.  (The buttons on the bib were sewn with red button and craft thread for a pop of color.)


  • Count your buttons and make sure you have enough thread when you sew away from home. I ran out of both when all I had left to do was put the buttonholes on the cuffs.
  • Man-sewing can be fun and satisfying!
  • Muslins can be made from old Marimekko sheets.
  • You could, possibly, baste your garment down to the ironing board cover if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing. Just speaking for a friend.

Alabama Chanin Jacket and Skirt

img_0559Yippee!  I’ve been working on this Alabama Chanin jacket and skirt since April.  They weren’t on my SWAP list but looked like a great challenge.  I was inspired by the prolific Ruth at Corecouture.  My plan was to stitch during my train commute instead of reading blogs and going down the Pinterest rabbit hole.  That part was a success but it crowded out my regular machine sewing as it’s quite addictive!  I sewed on the beach, at soccer games, at my mom’s, on the deck overlooking the lake….. It’s a whole new world once you’re not connected to the iron and sewing machine!


For those of you not familiar with Alabama Chanin, it’s a high end 100% hand-stitched clothing line designed by Natalie Chanin and created by local seamstresses in Alabama.  The garments are all sewn from locally sourced organic cotton knit with various techniques such as appliqué, reverse appliqué, embroidery, beading, and sequins.  It often has raw edges and reminds me of folk art.  Natalie is happy to share her techniques with intrepid sewists and has written several books on her techniques complete with stencils and patterns.


Except for the peplum detail borrowed from a Marfy pattern, the jacket and skirt were both drafted from my slopers.  The fit is pretty good except that the front of the jacket doesn’t hang quite right.  It falls open at the waist and the bust feels bosomy which I am not.  I have several theories as to how to fix this but that will be another post.

The fabric and most of the thread (embroidery floss and ordinary button and craft thread) are from AC.  I also found some “hand quilting” thread at Joann’s which seems to be the exact same stuff as the button & craft thread except it comes in more colors.  The stencil pattern is Alabama Chanin’s Anna’s Garden.



This project had a lot of ‘firsts’ for me.  First hand sewn garments, first time stenciling, first appliqué, and first “embellishments” except for that denim skirt that I embroidered in high school.  I’ll try anything once.

I did a lot of experimentation with markers and paint colors and finally decided on Tulip spray paint.  The jacket is a teal paint on turquoise fabric overlaid on camel fabric.  This was originally supposed to be a reverse appliqué but after cutting out the shapes on several pieces I decided that I didn’t like the way the camel was working against the teal so I restitched about half the back.  The layers are connected using a backstitch with embroidery floss which takes forever.  Let’s say 6 to 8 hours per piece and I think there were 17 pieces.

Finally I added some sequins and beads around the front neckline.  I know, I’m a wild woman!  Oh and I almost forgot the snaps which have crocheted covers thanks to a tutorial on the Alabama Chanin blog.  I’m a newbie crocheter and this was amazingly tiny, done with thread like lace!  I just kept redoing it until I had three that looked similar.

The skirt is the opposite colorway with brown paint on camel fabric over a turquoise layer.  This was done with a running  stitch in a tan button thread which is much much faster.  It’s cut with a reverse appliqué and a raw hem that curls up ever so cutely.  The waistband is a foldover elastic sewn on with a stretch stitch.


  • Don’t spray paint outside, when it’s windy.
  • Have an excuse ready for when your husband finds a needle on the stairs.
  • Check the sofa throw for needles before sitting on it.
  • Use a the thickest mylar you can find.  Mine was too thin and would roll up when the paint was wet and stick to itself making quite a mess.
  • Needles travel well in a magnetic tray with a cover.
  • You will find tiny bits of fabric behind the car door handle, on the coffee table, in your tote, and in your bathrobe pocket.
  • Watch the thread tension on the backstitch.  I started with the back of the jacket which turned out a bit tighter than the front.
  • It pays to experiment.
  • This is not a race.  Savor the journey.

Cake – Camel and Gray Pants

I need pants. Long pants, short pants, wide pants, skinny pants, work pants….so I am officially checking two pair off my SWAP in camel and grey.  These are basic but will be workhorses in my wardrobe, hence the ‘cake’.  I’ll get to some icing soon.


Both pants were drafted using my sloper with modifications.  I borrowed the leg shape and width from a pair of RTW pants that I like.  They have an invisible zipper in the back to reduce any lumpiness in front and they have no pockets, again to maintain a clean look under my ubiquitous jackets and sweaters.  The only differences between the two pair is that the camel ones have a contoured waistband at the hip, and the gray ones have a 1″ straight waistband at the waist.  I also stitched down the crease in the front of the gray ones which I think makes a nice line.

I just need to get on my soapbox for a moment and give a shout out to SLOPERS!  Heh slopers, you ROCK!  It has taken me years to come up with bodice and pant slopers that finally fit.  For the longest time I thought that you were supposed to take a published pattern and then adjust it to match the fit of your sloper. No!  I learned from my sewing instructor  last year that I can use my sloper to add ease and style lines and I’m done!  This is a major sea change in the way I think about patterns.  I don’t have that many and now don’t really need that many.  Sure I’ll buy or download a pattern to copy a detail like a collar or peplum  but I don’t use the whole pattern.

Really, how many pants patterns do you need once you have a sloper.  There is no need to bang our collective heads against the wall every time we take a new pattern out of the envelope to fit it.



These are both made from Rayon/Polyester/Lycra (RPL) which has a fabulous drape.  Emma  One Sock stocks it in a decent range of colors.  Although they are suppose to be the same fabric, the two colors are a bit different.  The camel is a bit “spongy”, thicker, and stretchier than the gray.   Stranger still is that the camel has the greatest stretch lengthwise which the grey does not so I cut the camel on the crossgrain.  They even fit a bit differently due to the slightly different stretch factor.  I’ve worn the camel three times so far and sadly it’s already starting to pill.   We’ll see how the grey fares as I’ve only worn them once.

The jury is still out on RPL.  I have some in cream which is in the middle of becoming pants, and I have several more yards of camel for a jacket and skirt but I’m not sure I’ll buy more.  I typically don’t buy polyester for environmental reasons but I was looking for something with a bit of Lycra and the price was right.  Real wool gaberdine is pricey and hard to find.


Besides jeans these are the only pants I haven’t lined.  Any lining would need to have the same stretchiness as the fashion fabric which was a tall order so I didn’t bother.  The edges were first serged then sewn together.  The waistbands were cut on the same grain as the rest of the pants.  The RPL doesn’t take too kindly to iron-on interfacing so I used two layers of horsehair interfacing stitched together and it worked out OK.

Camel Contoured Waistband: Interfacing was laid in after the waistband was sewn on.  Then the top and bottom seam allowances were catch-stitched around the interfacing to keep it in place.   I then sewed the side seams and handstitched a facing made from Bemberg lining.  The final step was topstitching the top and bottom of the waistband.  I went back in and took in the waist a bit more and made a royal mess of the topstitching and facing.  I need to find a better way to make a contoured waistband that still allows me to adjust the side seams without too much hassle.

Grey Straight Waistband:  This was much easer than the contoured band.  I used a technique I found in Pants for Real People where the interfacing is stitched to the seam allowance of the waistband before being attached to the pant.  Brilliant!  I’ve probably said it before but Pants for Real People and Jackets for Real People, both by Palmer/Pletsch are the best sewing books I have.  (Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina comes in third.)

Hems were topstitched in a rush.  I usually do a catch stitch to some interfacing but couldn’t use it on this fabric.  Note to self:  Try blind hemstitch next time.


Pretty darn close to perfect!  The only change I will make in the future is raising the back waistband up about a 1/2″.  These are about as narrow as I can get before I start to get the dreaded under-the-butt wrinkles.


  • Just because you have a swatch of a fabric in one color doesn’t mean that it will be the same in another color.  Always order a swatch if you can’t touch it in a store.
  • Maybe topstitch the waistband before sewing the side seams for ultimate adjustability?
  • Invisible zipper foot on my BabyLock is a PITA.  Use the one on my Viking which is a sure thing every time.


White Skinny Jeans – Burda 7863

Finally! A pair of pants completed, white pants, at the end of August.  I worked on my pants sloper on an off with my sewing instructor for about 6 months.  We got the sloper worked out for a standard pair of narrow (not skinny) pants.  The concept is that I can use the sloper to draft any other kind of pant but when dealing with a stretch fabric the whole pattern basically needed to be narrowed in the X direction inlcuding the pockets and crotch width.

I threw caution to the fashion winds and wore them to work today — way after Labor Day!  😛

White jeans are on my SWAP by the way so yeah me!



I used Burda 7863  as the basis of design.  Basically I used the measurements of the pockets and back yoke.  The top of the jeans is about 1/4″ lower than my sloper.  For the next pair, and there will be several more, I won’t lower the back at all and will dip the front by another 1/2″.  The legs here are much narrower than the Burda pattern.

The pattern calls for a straight waistband but I made a contoured band instead with seams at the sides to allow for adjustments. It’s a bit bulky but I am always tweaking.

The one thing I messed up was the pocket placement on the rear.  It was fine until I started taking the sides in and now they are too far apart.  I’ve put the pants back in the sewing room for the winter  in the hope that I ‘ll get inpired to move them by spring.


And yes, those are houndstooth Connies!



I struggled a lot with the nature of the stretch denim which I am guessing has about 3% Lycra.  I think I got it at NY Elegant in NYC.  I prefer 2% Lycra but I had a hard enough time finding a white that was also thick enough to avoid show through.  The pretty floral waistband and zipper guard is actually the last of an old set of sheets.The pocket bags are just a buff colored quilting cotton purchased specifically for this project as I didn’t want anything to show through.


These are fresh out of a hot dryer for the photo shoot, but they loosen up in after an hour of wear.

I took them in at the waist, hip, and even reduced the crotch extension to accommodate the stretch properties.  I also narrowed the legs for style purposes.

The only fit issue that bothers me are the wrinkles below the derrière. My sewing instructor says that they need to be there if I actually want to SIT in my pants. Bummer!



I’ve made jeans before so there was nothing new for these.  I always have difficulty at the ends of the waistband though where there is a lot of bulk.  Need to work on that. Jeans button and rivets are from Joann’s and were easy to intall.

The topstitching was done with white jeans thread which worked just fine.  I had my serger and two sewing machines running for this one so I didn’t have to keep changing the thread.


  • Take fabric stretch into account when drafting the pockets.
  • Attach rear patch pockets AFTER fitting the waist and hip.

BurdaStyle 06/2013 #111A Shorts


These shorts were part of my St. Lucia vacation wardrobe. The fabric was leftover from a failed pair of pants. It’s a lovely fine twill weave of wool and silk in a warm brown with silver undertones. It looks sturdy but is actually rather delicate and doesn’t like to be stressed so we’ll see how long they last. I downloaded this pattern (06/2013 #111A) because of its relaxed look, faced waist, and width.

As designed the shorts have a side zip, faced waist, rear vent pocket, and rolled cuffs. They sit slightly below the waist. I omitted the useless and potentially lumpy back pocket and moved the zipper to the back. I also changed the bulky facing to seam binding and omitted the roll up hem. 

IMG_9859I laid the pattern out over my almost done pants sloper and found that the side seam sits towards the front.  I know this is an optical trick to make one look slimmer from the front but wasn’t sure if or how to translate that to my sloper.  Then somewhere along the way I lost an inch in width on each side!  Must have been late at night.  Hmmm….this is a design opportunity!  I added a 1″ strip down each side using the back side of the fabric which is a grey/silver.  It looks a bit crooked at the top but I won’t be wearing my shirt tucked in anyways.


In the end I am quite pleased with the fit.  I need to work out the bug with the stripe but I will be making these again.  They definitely suit me!



  • Take your time.  Don’t sew under time pressure.
  • My pants sloper already rocks! (Thanks Astrid!)

Marfy F1973 – Winter Coat

Last Fall I was experimenting with with different winter coat patterns and finally settled on Marfy F1973.  The most important feature for me was the raglan sleeve.  For a winter coat that I will be wearing over jackets and sweaters it’s easier to get on and off and doesn’t seem to bind at the armhole with a raglan cut.  It has generous sleeves and I liked the look of the swirly skirt and wide collar that I could use to showcase some faux fur.  The belt is plus to keep out drafts and the length works for most of my skirts.

Marfy F1973

This was meant to be a ‘super coat’ that would withstand the Boston weather on my daily commute and it did not disappoint!  I finished in December so I was able to put it to the test during our winter from Hell.  It’s definitely not very svelte but I’d rather be warm than chic.

Faux Fur Collar


The fashion fabric is a very soft tweedy wool twill that I purchased from Sawyer Brook several years ago.  Amazingly it’s not itchy at all!  On my screen it looked like a very warm brown, sort of a camel color so I pounced without ordering a swatch.  I should know better when spending the big bucks.  It’s actually a very cool brown and drab tan and not something I would have selected if I had seen it in person but heh, I’m already over it.

A Live Model!
A Live Model!

I got the faux fur from Kashi at Metro Textiles the last time I was in NYC.  Buttons are from Joann’s I think.

Lining.  Support buttons on inside.
Lining. Support buttons on inside. Photobomber: Waffles


Marfy patterns have no instructions so I used my trusty ‘Jackets for Real People’ by Palmer Pletsch.  I also drafted the lining.  Big picture:

  • Construct the outer shell complete with the undercollar
  • Assemble the facing, lining, and overcollar.  The lambswool was basted to the individual lining and facing pieces before being stitched together.
  • The windproofing is a seperate interling extending from the neckline down to the waist.  The sleeves of the windproofing are only connected only along the top half of the armhole and are cut back a bit at the underarm to reduce bulk.
  • Attach the entire outer shell to the inner shell along the front and collar edge.
  • Buttonholes at the front are bound.  I made standard buttonholes on the sleeve tabs.
  • Oh the collar – it’s actually a double collar.  The faux fur is a separate piece that is tacked on for the season so I can send the rest of the coat to the dry cleaners.
Marfy F1973
Marfy F1973


Since it’s not very close fitting I only made a couple of changes:

  • Lowered the beltline by an inch
  • Lengthened the sleeves by an inch -something I should be doing on all my Marfy coats/jackets.
  • Flared the side seams out starting at the waist so that the circumference at the hem is 4″ larger.  It just didn’t have that twirly Mary Tyler Moore thing going on that the pattern image shows.  Not sure it was necessary.
  • Added 20″ to the length of the belt!
  • What I didn’t notice on the muslin is that the back neckline is a bit low. It’s drafty at the back neck unless my scarf is positioned just so.  Not sure if I needed to just raise the back neckline or make a rounded back adjustment.


  • Order a swatch!  Don’t be so impulsive when ordering fabric except at Emma One Sock.
  • Check neckline when reviewing fit.

Vogue 1212 – The almost coat

When I was auditioning patterns for my faux fur coat and looking for something with a large collar, I made a mockup of this Sandra Betzina pattern, Vogue 1212. It’s got two awesome collar designs, two sleeve options, a hidden zipper, welt pockets, and a cool little flap option at the back waist. I like the simpler option in green on the pattern envelope. Here is the mockup on Helena. It’s being worn over a work jacket that has shoulder pads.

What’s with the curving seam under the bust line? It looks like it’s designed for a baby bump! Why would they do this intentionaly? It also seemed like it wasn’t very shapely.

At the time, i said no way is this going to be my faux fur, nor did I want to cut some of my precious wool for it. I figured that if I made this pattern, it would have to have the underbust/waist curve banished, and replaced with some shapely lines. Looking at it now a few months later, the curved seam must still be changed, but it doesn’t look so bad overall. I still LOVE the collar!


So what do you think? Is it worth making? I still don’t want to use my wool on it, but perhaps some microfiber of some sort would work; like a windbreaker or raincoat.

Vogue V7937 – Pin-striped Kick-pleat Skirt

This is the skirt I made to coordinate with the Puffy-sleeved Tracy Reese jacket. I’ve had it made for a while now but wanted to work it over first before photographing it.

I know, you may need some sunglasses for my blindingly white legs!

This is a wool/cotton blend that I got from Sawyer Brook fabrics.
It’s a cross-weave of black and off-white in wool, with a pinstriped pattern in peach and pale blue cotton.
I lined it with with Ambiance, and I’ll share this secret; the front and back are lined with two different colors, grey and black! You won’t tell will you?

I picked Vogue V7937 because of the princess seaming, and the pleat detail in the back which I thought would work with the sleeves of the coordinating jacket. I’ve made this pattern once before with success. It’s a great little pattern with several options at the back and waist and I think it’s been around for a while.


I omitted the facing at the waist since it usually adds bulk. Instead I fashioned a tiny 1/2″ binding from the fashion fabric.

I also thought I’d get all fancy and underline the skirt with silk organza but it’s not holding up very well. It’s starting to shred at the stress points! I had a terrible time keeping the seams from rippling. I didn’t have this problem with the jacket so I don’t know why it happened on the skirt. I’ve pressed and pressed. I just can’t believe it’s the organza. It shows up in the photo above but not the photo below. Hmmm…

It was also looking quite frumpy which is why I finally brought it back to the sewing room. I pegged it by 2″ and shortened it by an inch. These two changes took it from frumpy to downright sassy! Yeah me!

I also tweaked the invisible zipper AGAIN as the stitching wasn’t close enough to the teeth. I usually don’t have any trouble with this type of zipper but I ended up working this one over four times!

Detail of Skirt Pleats

Lessons Learned
Careful of my skirt lengths and widths.

Faux Fur “Parka” – Vogue V8933 – just in time for summer

I had to have an Astrakhan coat. On my commute to work I walk across a very windy bridge in Boston so I wanted something that had some super neck protection. I also wanted it to be super warm.



I was holding out for brown and finally found this faux fur Persian Lamb on a visit to NYC last year. It was the fancy Tissavel stuff so I only bought about 2 yards. That’s pretty skimpy for a coat so I knew it would have to be a short one.

I had read that you should keep the seaming simple with fur, so enter Vogue V8933 with an almost double breasted angled front, and ear height super collar. The pattern is very simple with no princess seams or front darts. It comes in several lengths and has inseam pockets. I made view A, the shortest one. The front is fastened with giant #10 snaps.


The faux fur wasn’t that hard to cut or sew but fitting it into the 2 yards WITH nap was tricky. It’s quite pliable and actually very forgiving. I used a catch stitch on the seam allowances to keep the seams flat, and because the fur is short there was no need to pull the fur out of the stitching at the seams. I’m calling this a parka because it has a Thinsulate interlayer (the thick stuff) stitched to the lining.


What was I thinking? Of course, with no darts or princess seams it was quite boxy and shapeless. Duh! With the Thinsulate I was worried that it would be too snug so I sized up. I also planned to wear it over a jacket so added a little extra room at the shoulders. In the end I had over-compensated and it was WAY too big. I had made a muslin mockup but that couldn’t help me with the question of thickness and bulk.

I was also disappointed with the fit of the shoulder and sleeves so I switched them out with those from another pattern. I’m on the fence as to whether it was worth it. Oh, I also lengthened the sleeves a bit and added a slit at the bottom.


I completed the coat last November and wore it only a few times before I sent it back to the sewing room. I finally went in and did the major alterations in February when I went to an ASG sewing retreat. I took out about 2″ each at the shoulders, waist and hips by creating princess seams at both the front and back, and gave it a bit of shape at the sides. That was about the time I lost half a snap and it took until now to finally buy and sew a new one on along with some hooks and eyes at the collar. Sad, I know; finished just in time for summer!

I won’t use this pattern again as I need something more shaped. I’m just warming up with the faux fur and will definitely use it again. Now that everything has been tweaked on this coat, the only change I wish I could make is to lengthen it. Because the Thinsulate and fur make it bulkier, I think it needs to be longer to maintain good proportions.

Lessons Learned
1. I need shape so use patterns that help with this. When will I learn?
2. Don’t touch or rub your eyes while cutting faux fur.
3. Cats especially like faux fur.
4. Don’t cheap out with fabric length. If I can’t afford the length I really need I should wait until I can.

I’m working on my photography skills. The detail shot gas the truest color rendition.

Last word; the hat is my second crochet project completed just this spring. It’s cute but not very windproof. I like how the crochet work feels very organic compared to sewing.