• Jackets and coats

    Little red Closet Core Kelly Anorak

    Today involved a giant breakfast, a bit of hammering, and a nice walk. I’m showing off my finished Kelly Anorak which I completed right before we headed out the door. Yes, I might look like little red riding hood but I stayed dry and warm thanks to my new jacket.

    This jacket has been a long time coming. I started it for the fabulous Anorak August Sew-along the brainchild of Sheffield Sewcial but after losing my sew-jo (thanks Covid) I struggled to feel motivated to finish until now. I was looking for a lightweight jacket to layer over jumpers for casual walks or errands when I didn’t want to wear my wool coats or Barbour jacket. I also needed a hood as NONE of my outerwear has one! The Closet Core Kelly seemed like a good choice.

    Somehow I made a toile straight away in some horrendous 90s Laura Ashley-esque waxed cotton from my stash. Some people thought this was my actual fabric! Fit-wise I started with size 8 around the upper body and 10 around the bottom. After a try on I had to remove 2″ from the length, add 2cm to the centre back and hood and add 1cm to each side seams around the hips. Maybe the hood is a little roomy now but it’s fine. Annoyingly I’ve put on a fair bit of weight since I started making this so the fit in the body isn’t ideal but I’m sure it will be better again soon.

    My pattern came from the fabulous Bobbins and Bolts in Harrogate. I met owner Gemma at The Dressmakers Ball and was so pleased to learn about her bricks and mortar shop. I really hope it survives the Covid absence of shoppers. I bought this and the Kew dress pattern which should get made next Summer.

    I know there’s been a lot of chatter about the pattern recently, especially the lining extension with people not thinking the instructions and construction of the hood works. Closet Core (formerly Closet Case) recently reissued the lining pattern. I didn’t use it so I can’t really comment on whether it’s fixed or not I’m afraid.

    My waterproof fabric was a fantastic bargain from Fabworks online. You know I love a trip to their Mill as the team are a real hoot! Can’t wait to go back again soon. This is called Dark Rust showerproof nylon and cotton, and it was £18 for 3m. My coordinating zip was from eBay. The BIGGEST thing I hate about my Barbour jacket is the double ended zipper which takes me about 5 goes every time so I’m super pleased with how this one came together.

    After reading the post on Closet Core about underlining the jacket in fleece (instead of lining) I thought that would suit me best and chose a navy and white spotty flannel from eBay. The red top-stitching and my red satin bias inside looks nice together and the husband said it reminds him of Joules which I think is quite a nice “boy compliment”.

    Now for some real talk. I kind of hated every step of making this jacket. I counted, and I’ve made 7 wool coats/jackets, 2 Chanel style jackets and 1 mac and this is the worst piece of outerwear of the lot.

    The construction is straightforward if you’ve made coats before but the fabric was so thick in places topstitching was a challenge to keep even and flat felling the seams was more fiddly than normal. Plus the spray glue I used to secure my flannel to the outer was utterly useless so everything kept shifting.

    I think the lack of sew-jo didn’t help as I dreaded doing anything on it. I stabbed every finger, had to resew most seams, and the cherry on top was when I made two left pockets for the front.

    The snaps aren’t right for this jacket either! This fabric is too light for them and I should have chosen plastic snaps instead of metal ones. Therefore I didnt bother putting them down the front when I knew they’d be loose and either sag or entirely fall off. I might go back and add one to the hem though to keep the flap shut when it’s windy. It’s done, not perfect… and that’s fine by me.

    We took the jacket out for a walk in Silsden today as I really wanted to see one of the Stanza Stones. It’s a series of six poems by Simon Armitage carved into stone and placed at atmospheric or dramatic areas of natural beauty. Today we saw the Dew Stones. You can do the full trail to see them all in one go but we’re going to visit individually to stretch them out. Armitage’s work has always been a favourite of mine as his poems are unfussy and honest. Plus he’s from Yorkshire, so he’s a winner.

  • Jackets and coats

    Deer and Doe Luzerne Trench

    Hello again ladies and gents! Hope you’re all enjoying #sewphotohop and fingers crossed you’ve been following my posts throughout September. I’m currently struggling to find time to sew for myself, which is killing me. I have a free afternoon on Sunday and some yummy fabric from So Sew English, so wish me luck!! How about starting the evening with a project review?

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    Meet my Luzerne trench coat. Do you ever really truly hate a project but keep going?? This is rare for me. I normally stuff UFOs out of sight but I think because I didn’t want to get this jacket too rumpled (hahah this sentence will be extra ironic as you read on) it always stayed in my eye line. I’ve been dipping into it every few months to get it finished. Given that I started this make in May, LAST YEAR, I’m amazed it’s finally done.

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    So why do I hate it? Let’s get started. The fit of this jacket was really hard to work out for my lifestyle. The amount of ease needed for wearing the trench with a jumper leaves it baggy without one underneath… and I like cardigans which create a hollow at the centre front and lumpy areas at the bust. Having the bust look especially rumpled really grates because I love a great fit in my torso. This is my own fault for trying to sew a relaxed coat when I’m not that kind of dresser. I like fitted clothes so what made me think I’d like a loose fit mac?!

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    The shape of the collar is also infuriating. It has this weird step that looks out of place to my eye. Its not a stand collar and it’s not a notch collar! What are you!?! Again this is my own issue, you may love this touch. Maybe you never even noticed… it looks so nice on other people’s versions.

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    Don’t get me wrong… There are a lot of great details. Those lovely pocket edges, the button tabs, curved back yoke, and well fitting sleeves but why oh why didn’t I ignore the pattern and make a longer tie belt!?

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    I know it’s a nice make but all I see is the creases and fit issues. I’m going to try and wear it more this Autumn with extra layers underneath to see if we can get on.

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    I used a lovely magenta organic twill from Fabworks which comes in a lot of colours. It’s the perfect weight but has a little bit of stretch which didn’t help my ease issues. And I made metres and metres of bias binding from a scrap piece of Wiltshire Liberty tana lawn. Binding everything takes a loooong time but creates a fun inside.

    Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

    The pdf pattern arrives in multiple sizes and with separate English instructions – it in fact goes up to a phenomenal plus size range in PDF so bravo to the team. They’re fairly detailed but you may need extra help if you’ve never tried bound buttonholes or sewn a collar before. I made a size 38 without a toile because that is my size in D&D patterns but would definitely size down in future. If you can, buy the paper pattern for this one as it’s a LOT of pages to stick together.

    Okay I’ve waffled on enough. For other gorgeous versions from the sewing community check out Sleepless into Bavaria who has made not one but TWO spotty macs, Allie J who clearly got her sizing just right and Stay Junique in her sassy red version.

  • Jackets and coats

    Speckled Colette Anise

    Hi everyone! Since the weather matches my blogging schedule (sporadic) I thought I’d share a long overdue finished jacket. As some of you will know from my social media posts I have around 40 unblogged makes. Thankfully five of them have been photographed but I still need to find some blogging time which is proving difficult. Let’s crack on then shall we!

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    If you’ve considered making a jacket as a step into tailoring I heartedly recommend the Colette Patterns Anise Jacket. It has enough new techniques for someone wanting to learn outerwear but not too many that you can get overwhelmed. I in fact made my first version when I was very much an adventurous beginner, in 2013! I copied my favourite blue coat and was pretty chuffed with the results… see my fabulously grainy photo below if you don’t have time to click through. I thought given all those years of experience I’ve managed to accumulate it would be interesting to see how I found the pattern four years later (yep this jacket is a year old people).

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    Let’s start by saying the sewalong for this jacket is superb. The welt pockets and bound button hole tutorials are excellent and work on many other garments. Probably doesn’t need to be said but welt pockets are super lovely to make but not great for putting your hands in on a bitter English day. The way the back seams curve to match the sleeve seams at the armhole is also my sign of a superior coat. It drives me crazy when they’re close but intentionally not aligned! Also having made several coats since this I realise how special it is to have a separate pattern piece for interfacing the the roll line. The collar is kind of a pain in that it refuses to neatly meet at the centre front due to the way the buttons strain and move. It still comes together pretty nicely and the clean finish you get by hand sewing everything closed at the armholes and hem is very neat inside.

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    Finding the right interfacing is a mission though and I’m less happy with the boucle version compared to my melton. I was trying to find something that would keep the boucle weave secure but offer the right support and I think I went too stiff. It’s most noticeable to me at the collar where I can feel it sitting slightly unhappily but I think it looks fine. There’s not a lot of help out there for picking interfacing (no magic unicorn saying you must buy this specific weight and brand) because it all depends on your chosen fabric. The only tip I can offer here is that you’re looking to support not harden the fabric or add too much weight. And remember cheap fusible interfacing isn’t built to last and will bubble and unstick itself over time, so if you’re keen to keep your jacket or coat around, invest in the branded stuff!

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    Let me share two bits of wisdom I learnt from making both coats. Number one – don’t use covered buttons, no matter how confident you are that the wool is safely enclosed inside. Years later, your buttons will pop apart from the strain and embarrass you in front of your peers. Not pretty. Number two – If you’re not a delicate dresser, use a lining with a tiny amount of stretch. I’m not talking a super spandex mix fabric, but just something with a little give. I always pop the armhole seams on my lining by wrestling myself in and out of my jackets without care. The jackets were I’ve used stretch satin have faired much better. Last tidbit – ALWAYS ADD A HANGING LOOP.

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    My wool was picked up at an excellent open day at Beyond Measure. Grace had sourced small remnants from a Lancashire mill; Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to this smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of bright yellow and blue running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for the jacket with nothing to spare! The lining was chosen to match the yellow flecks as good old B&M Fabrics on Kirkgate outside the market. Every time I see it the super flash of gold makes me giddy. Last but not least those fancy polished metal buttons were from Totally Buttons, an excellent online shop.

    almond rock anise jacket colette beyond measure boucle

    It’s a great little jacket and fun pattern to follow. I’m also super grateful past-Amy taped together the PDF and worked out all the fit kinks so I could just crack on and sew the new version!! I’m pleased I finally got to share it with you. I’ll try not to wait so long to post again, but while I’m gone maybe have a read of these lovely Anise jackets.

    I love Nicole’s choice of wool, removable faux fur collar anyone?, and let’s swoon at some minty perfection. Visit the sewalong pinterest board for more inspiration!

  • Jackets and coats

    Think Pink Butterick 5926

    Happy weekend! I’m currently in my sewing room whipping up a quick coat. Aka no tailoring, minimal hand stitching, maybe even no buttons… but welt pockets might make an appearance. Let’s wait and see.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    In other news I wanted to push my sewing with a garment that’s pretty different for me. I reviewed the Butterick 5926 jersey blazer pattern that comes free with Love Sewing 49 (out Thurs 25th Jan in the UK). You can also read my thoughts inside the issue but here are the essentials.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    Every time I reach for my jeans I agonise what to pair them with. I feel like I’m constantly chasing the ideal outfit that makes me look effortlessly put together; modest and tasteful but comfortable and easy. Generally I opt for a bright blouse and cardigan but it felt like time for a change.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    I don’t think I’ve worn a blazer for at least 10 years as I’m petite with slightly squeaky voice and always live in fear of resembling a schoolgirl. The thought of a casual knit blazer was appealing but I wanted to make sure it felt feminine. This pattern calls for stable knits like Ponte Roma but didn’t mention scuba, which seemed like a great fit in my mind. This gorgeous geometric pink was £4 per metre at The Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate and I used 1.5m to make this jacket.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    I chose to make view B, the hip-length version with shorter bracelet length sleeves that I rolled up for a relaxed feel and omitted the button fastenings. The blazer comes together really easily but you’re asked to reinforce a lot of areas of the collar and facings with stay stitching before clipping close to but not through the stitching line (always a tense part of the process for me). Shortening your stitch length can help here and a universal needle helped me avoid any skipped stitches.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    The recommended hem finish, with stitching that finish along the front edges wasn’t to my taste so I decided to top-stitch everywhere, varying the distance from the edge as I worked my way around. With this approach I had to be careful that the collar still rolled neatly to the outside where the front facing turns out and used a few pins to get the turn point just right.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    I also used my trusty blind hem machine foot with an adjusted needle position to attach the pockets which were very bulky to sew in place. I should be on commission for the amount of times I mention that foot! It was also the last outing for my singer overlocker before it committed suicide by firing the blade into the moving parts! Not pretty.

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    This is a versatile pattern that looks great in a big, bold prints as well as plain colours and feels as comfy as a cardigan. I really think notched collars are very flattering as they frame your face but more importantly they’re pretty fun to sew! Like I say the issue is out Thursday and actually comes with a second pattern, McCall’s 7357 and both are double stuffed with all the sizes inside e.g. 6-22. Winner winner quorn chicken dinner!!

    Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

    For some other gorgeous takes on this pattern see Manju’s bold floral blazer, Allie’s comfortable cool version and cmtsews chartreuse wonder

  • Jackets and coats

    Orange is the new red Vogue 1537

    Not quite a tangerine dream but close to the perfect pumpkin, it’s all fruity over in my house with this newly finished orange coat. It’s the kind of orange that is easy to mistake for red… until you try and wear it with real red.

    It’s of course the pattern of the moment Vogue 1537. This Kay Unger design was a firm favourite from the Vogue Cocktail Hour which raised money for The Eve Appeal. Check out my previous posts here and search the hashtag #sipandsew to see everyone’s makes.

    I wanted a pass at this coat after seeing someone make a wool version on pattern review. You know I like to break the rules and was happy to find a like-minded rebel. It’s of course designed for lighter weight fabrics but who cares about that.

    I lengthened the sleeves and skipped the tabs. You might notice extra buttons down the front though I prefer wearing it open. I actually hate wearing single breasted coats but like the way they look. This one is especially bad as there’s no hem vent. Shame on me for not adding one. It’s also lines up at the bottom, I’m just standing funny.

    The wool was actually bought with a voucher won at Sew Up North. It was for my fave Leeds market shop BM stores too, how amazing. Thank you so much Sally and Beccs for bringing this coat to life with your awesome raffle. My lining is a stretch satin from Leeds market too. I’ve had terrible luck with coat linings lately where they rip at the seams after about a year’s wear. Maybe I get more aggressive in my coat wearing style after the 1 year mark. This is my fourth or fifth outerwear piece but first full length coat.

    I’ve actually been singing the old nursery rhyme oranges and lemons for weeks as I have a mustard coat project lined up but keep changing my mind about what pattern. Maybe the new By Hand London release will be the winner?

    BONUS OUT TAKE TIME!! Sexy right?