Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My New Favorite! The Pilvi Coat and Sewing Out of a Book!

We are always looking for great books and magazines to inspire us on our sewing journeys. Sometimes it's just a photo of a dress in a catalog or fashion magazine that we wish we had a pattern for, and other times we find a sewing book with a photo of a cute pair of pants to be made. When we first got Lotta Jansdotter's new book Everyday Style, we knew we had to make something!

Thumbing through the beautiful pages filled with stories of real women and exotic travels we found the Pilvi Coat, a simple design for either a coat or a shorter jacket.  It's perfect for the beginner (look out for a sewalong!) because it is unlined, with raglan sleeves and no closures.

Lotta's Everyday Style has five basic garment patterns and several bag patterns. They are all printed on two large pieces of pattern paper stowed away in an envelope in the back of the book.  Each pattern piece should be traced onto a new piece of paper for your pattern use.

We chose to make our Pilvi in a soft lightweight boiled wool/viscose blend in a gorgeous orchid color. Radiant Orchid was Pantone's Color of the Year in 2014, and we're trying to understand why we haven't used it until now!

Boiled wool fabric is made by felting knit or woven wool fabric. It comes in varying weights and since this one has viscose blended with the wool, it has a beautiful weight and drape. Although it is a knit fabric, it is very stable, making it easy to sew and requiring little finishing, as it doesn't fray.  Even though it is difficult to see, it does have two sides, just as a traditional knit does: the "knit" side and the "purl" side. While both sides are beautiful enough to show, we chose the knit side to be the "right" side of our Pilvi.

Because of the thickness of a heavy wool, grading the seams is important. It also means that you should press, press, press as you go along!

We have made other jackets in boiled wool and we have treated the seams in the same way - top stitching a scant 1/8' away from the pressed seam, on both sides. This makes it lie flat, and is a beautiful professional finishing technique.

We also understitch the neckline facing, helping it to lie flat.

Again, you don't really need to finish of the fabric edges, but we chose to serge the edges of the facing, the sleeve hems and the hemline of the coat. We thought it would make them lay flatter. We added top stitching and sewed the hem by hand.

This might be our favorite new coat! Did I mention that it has pockets? This beautiful boiled wool almost feels like a long sweater rather than a coat. It can be made in a range of fabrics including woven bottomweights or a sweater knit fabric from our collection. Try it in a range of lengths. The possibilities are endless!

Creatively yours,
check our website at
for all the fabric, patterns and sewing goodies here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Creating Dream Jeans: Getting Closer to Finishing the Ginger Jeans

We can shop for hours, days, or even weeks to find the perfect pair of jeans.  So it should come as no surprise that we decided to take the leap to make a pair ourselves. It was time to take a shot at making our dream jeans with all of the qualities and fit we've been searching for.  In late summer we started on a pair of Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files by making a wearable muslin. Read that blog here!

We don't always use muslins for fittings, but when it comes to creating dream jeans, you better believe we are taking our time with fitting. We usually skip making a muslin when sewing patterns for knits or less fitted garments and make adjustments as needed on the final fabric, this is because the fit is more forgiving.

If you read back on our previous post about our muslin fitting, you'll see that we started with Version A of the Ginger Jeans - a low to mid-rise cut with a stovepipe fit in the leg. I was impressed with the fit of the Ginger muslin, but decide that I would prefer the higher-rise of View B. We decided it would be best to do an additional fitting on the final pair before Laurel finished them completely.

So we're back to the fitting room to make sure the fit is as dreamy as possible. What's the point of putting all that work into a pair of jeans and having the fit be a miss? To prepare for the final fitting, there are some aspects of the garment that can be done ahead of time. Laurel had a great time working on the bright blue topstitching and we are loving the pop of color!

Shop our neon topstitching thread here!
We chose a neon blue topstitching thread to go with our deep blue stretch denim, and every little thread shows, especially the wonky ones. Whenever your machine does develop a mind of its own and goes a little off, try to take a deep breath and let it go. In reality, nobody will see the mistakes that you do.

As you can see, we finished the fly front zipper, so we will not be adjusting our fit in the front panels for obvious reasons! We also sewed up the back seam, but did not finish it off with top stitching, so if we need to adjust the fit we can expand or narrow the seam. We also raised the pockets from our muslin fitting - pocket placement is everything for a flattering back view!

For the side seam allowance, we added a little width at the waist. Skinny jeans should be a snug fit, and we're guessing these might fit well in the hips but have gaps in the waist. We used a basting stitch to sew the two side seams and the inseam.

Let's give them a try!

This final fitting is important if we want our jeans to have the polish we expect. With the perfect fit, I'll be able to dress these jeans up for work with a blouse and blazer, or worn casually with a cozy sweater. The fabric is so soft and has a great stretch. Laurel should be able to take these back to her studio and put on the finishing touches.  I can't wait!

Want to make your own pair?
Try one of our amazing jean kits which include all the notions and findings you need.

Creatively Yours,