The "Wear Everyday" Coat from Ottobre Woman 2/2015

Have you ever wondered where the word "notion" came from?  I looked it up, and found this:

Notion- Word Origin and History for notion  n. "miscellaneous articles," 1805, American English, from notion with the idea of "clever invention."

This finally makes sense to me! Zippers, buttons, elastic- all fit the description of a clever invention!  Alas, all of these clever inventions can often add up to cost more than the fabric for a project, so that's why I usually choose notion-lite projects.  I bristle at the price of zippers these days- grrrr.

But this particular jacket, the Wear Everyday Coat from the Spring/Summer Ottobre Woman issue, caught my eye, because of the notions.  The plain white coat, accented with bright yellow cord locks and contrasting zippers was something that I wanted to copy.  I had a really nice white synthetic knit with a fleece back in my stash- just enough for this jacket, with barely a scrap to spare.  I made a size 42 in the neck/shoulder, and 44 in the body, and I'm happy with the fit. 

I cut it out first, then went to look for the notions to go with it.   Here's a pic of all of the notions that I got for the project:

The cord locks were the hardest to find.  I really wanted a bright lime green, and the only place that I could find them in small quantities was on Ebay from this vendor.  They took about a month to get here, but I think it was worth the wait.  A word of advice- if you order some notions from China, put everything else in one place while you wait.  By the time they arrived, I had completely forgotten where I put everything else, and wasted a couple of hours tracking it all down!  I had bagged up the cut out pieces, but my husband had thought it was a bag of leftover scraps, and used one piece to clean up some oil.  Yikes!!!!  Luckily it washed out.  Whew!

Since Ottobre doesn't have illustrated instructions, I took photos along the way of some of the more unusual steps, so that if mine turned out okay, I could pass this process info along to you- just a little supplement to their written instructions.  A warning, my sewing is imperfect at best, so if you are a perfectionist, and get caught up in my crooked seams, then just squint.  It all looks fine when you squint.:)

First, interface the edges of the pocket opening.  Then,  place the zipper next to it to determine how much it needs to be shortened. Stitch back and forth over the teeth at the new zipper stop, and cut off the rest of the zipper, leaving about 1/2" below the new zipper stop.
Next, sew the center fronts to the side fronts, leaving the pocket openings unsewn.  I pressed the seam allowances back, although my synthetic fabric didn't want to hold a crease, so it's hard to see here.  Apply Wonder tape to the right side of the zipper, and then press to the seam allowances.

Using a zipper foot, stitch the seam allowances to the zipper, trying to show as much of the zipper teeth as possible for that pop of color.

Apply Wonder tape to the wrong side of the zipper tape, and press the pocket bags to each side of the zipper, folding the pocket bag back and stitching from the top of the zipper to the bottom.

Place the pocket bags wrong sides together, and stitch around the open edges. I serged mine. 

Lastly, thread a short piece of elastic cord through the zipper pull and cord locks, tie a knot and cut off the excess.  Pockets- done!

Next up was the hood.  This is where you need the eyelets. 
I used 4 mm white eyelets, applied with the Dritz pliers.  I made and attached the hood facing, and trimmed the facing with the single fold bias tape.  The pattern instructions actually have you make the bias yourself from fabric.  However, if you just want a solid color like I did, then a 4 yard package will do all of the binding in the garment without a little left over.

Next, thread the elastic cord through the facing and cord locks, and then stitch the ends down at the front casing.  This is what it looks like at this point.

Then the last step of the hood is to attach it to the jacket body, and cover the neck seam with the bias.  Hood- done!

Then on to the big zipper.  First, interface the front edges with a 1" strip of fusible interfacing.  This is really a critical step.  If you don't do this, you'll end up with a wavy zipper. (My zipper is a 24" Ghee's separating zipper, that has black teeth on one side, and white teeth on the other.   Isn't it cool?  It's a little short- a 27" zipper would have been perfect, but I placed the top of the zipper a couple of inches lower to account for the shortness.) 

Insert the zipper to the front edges with the teeth exposed, and stitched in place.  The last step is to bind the edge of the zipper and seam allowance together with the binding fabric, and then stitch down.  Zipper- done!

Here is what this looks like from the outside:
And turning the jacket wrong side out, here is what it looks like from the inside:

The last step is to hem the bottom edge and the sleeves.  For this I used a twin needle with lime green thread.  Just one little last touch of lime to tie it all together.  Hems- done!  I hope these visuals will help if you decide to make this jacket.  I'm up to 10 items sewn from this Ottobre Woman issue!  This is a record for me- I'm having so much fun with it.

Do you avoid patterns with lots of notions?  Or do you seek them out so that you can use cool inventions?

Happy Sewing!


The Culottes Conundrum

In my last post, I made a muslin of a pair of culottes from Hot Patterns Camera Ready Culottes pattern.  Since then, I've had a few weeks to wear them, observe people's reactions to them, and decide whether I wanted to cut into some good quality linen for another pair. 

I did and here is my 2nd pair!


I used the same pattern again for this pair from the soft blue/grey/green windowpane linen at Fabric Mart.  After wearing my test pair a few times, I definitely felt a little weird with the legs being so wide, and I discovered that the waistband kept stretching out, and I was constantly pulling them up.  

So, this time I made two changes- I reduced each leg circumference by 6", and I used a grosgrain ribbon for the waist facing.  It's a great waistband finish if you want to reduce bulk and add stability.Here's a photo of what this looks like:

My top is made from Bright Mint Linen from Fabric Mart.  The pattern is the new Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Woven T and Dress.   I'm sorry to say, it did not live up to its name.  I had major problems with the sizing and the shoulder seams.  I ended up making several muslins, and determined that I needed the size two sizes smaller than my measurements would have indicated!  Even with cutting two sizes down, it is still very loose fitting, so I added some waist darts to bring it in a bit.  I should have stuck with Butterick 6175, which I had already made and was so similar.

The shrug is from the new McCall's Khaliah Ali pattern 7135.  I'm not sure why they call this a shrug instead of a cardigan.  Whatever they call it, I like it!  I used a tissue weight linen blend knit in a silver grey that I bought last year.  I shortened the sleeves 6", just because I didn't have quite enough fabric to make it full length, and I'm glad I did.  I like the 3/4 length on these.  I left all of the edges raw.  This is one of those fabrics where the edge wants to curl, and I just let it do it's own thing.

And the cherry on the sundae is the scarf.  This is a 1-3/4 yard length of silk chiffon that was cut in half lengthwise, and then finished with a rolled hem on the edges.  It had all the right colors to tie this outfit together.  I love it when that happens!

So, finally I'm getting to the title of this post- my culottes conundrumI have to tell you that when I wore my test pair to the school where I work, I definitely got some looks- like "What the heck is she wearing?" looks.  Particularly from younger people who just have never seen them before.   I remember when I first saw skinny jeans, and I thought that they were really awful.  Now 20 years have passed, and everyone is wearing them and I think they are great.  So, it should be interesting to see what happens.

Even people who were familiar with culottes from "back in the day", said that they liked them, often added "Well, you can wear them because you're so tall.  They would just make me look fat."  Which that makes me wonder- will anything that isn't all about making you look thinner make it in our society these days?  We are pretty obsessed with our weight, and these definitely are not "slimming".   My radar is on to spot someone else wearing them in my community, and so far, I've had no sightings.  
No matter!   I really do think that I'll enjoy wearing these culottes, along with all of the other pieces. What do you think?  Will you be experimenting with any new or old fashions this Spring?

Happy Sewing!


Camera-Ready Culottes Hot Patterns 1187

Have you caught culotte fever yet?   I wore culottes when I was a teenager and loved them.  But, I wasn't so sure that I could pull them off a second time around.  When I told my daughters that I was making culottes, I got some skeptical looks.  For the generation of skinny jeans, this has got to be a monumental leap of fashion acceptance. I made this pair using  Hot Patterns Camera-Ready Culottes pattern.  I'm also wearing the swing top that I just made from the Ottobre magazine last month.  The jacket is an unlined linen jacket made years ago before I started blogging and keeping track of such things. 

Here you can see the back better with a tucked-in top:

I looked at several patterns, but when I saw the line drawing for Hot Patterns version- the Camera Ready Culottes, I hit the buy button. I like Hot Patterns sizing.  It's about as close to ready to wear sizing as I've found.  I can make the same size that I wear in RTW with no alterations.  I was also intrigued by what the envelope calls "a grown-on and self-faced waist."

This pair is actually a muslin for testing out before I make my "real" pair out of some fine linen.  This is a basic slate blue suiting of unknown fabric content that I got in a Mystery Bundle from Fabric Mart.  All I know is that it has a very nice drape, which was my primary consideration for choosing it for my muslin.  I'm glad that I made a muslin, because I did run into some issues that needed sorting out before I cut into the good stuff.

It's really a pretty simple pattern, but I was thrown off track initially when the pattern for the pocket lining didn't match the shape of the pants front.  But, it was an easy enough fix- I just held up the pants front to the pocket lining piece and redrew the cutting line.  I'm lucky that I'm experienced enough to know to do that, as I think someone less experienced might have struggled trying to get the shapes to fit together.

I originally cut the pocket lining and pocket back from suiting fabric, instead of a separate lining fabric.   But, I realized that when you fold over the waist portion, you are also doubling the thickness of the pocket fabric and pleats in that area.  You are looking at 6 layers of fabric in the waist area. I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra padding there!  So, I removed the original pockets, and re-cut them from a thin lining.  Also, before I folded over the waistband, I trimmed down the top half of the pleats  so that there would only be one layer of them inside the waist area.  Here's a close-up of the front:

Maybe because of the additional layers, the pattern didn't call for any interfacing to be used at the waist, but when I tried it on, I could tell that it was going to stretch out of shape in no time.  So, I cut strips of interfacing, 1-1/2" wide, that I placed at the very top of each section.   To finish the waist, you fold down the top sections, and then stitch in the ditch at the side seams, darts, pleats, center front, and pockets.  It worked well, but I really do suggest interfacing it. Here's a close-up of the back:

My next decision was the length and whether to keep the cuffs or not.  Knee length?  Above the knee?  Below the knee?  Ankle length?  I think that this is the real key to getting culottes to work for you.  Since I'm tall, I decided to go with below the knee.  I shortened the pattern by 2", and I am 5'9" for reference.    The cuffs are about 2" wide.  If you wanted to make these without cuffs, and shorter, then it would take considerably less than the 2-3/4 yards recommended on the pattern envelope.

Lest you think that these are just wide leg pants that are cut off, here is a photo where the wind picked up the full width of the leg.  The finished bottom leg circumference is 36" on each leg!  That's about double the typical pant leg circumference.

And last, but not least, what to wear these with?  I tried out a bunch of different tops, and I think that it looks best with something tucked in.  Either that, or a shorter top that hits right about the waist.  Here is another combination that I tried.

I'm happy enough with this muslin to go forward with my linen pair.  I like the swingy, swishy feel, that you get when you walk with these.  I do think that they will be a nice addition to my wardrobe, but I can see that not everyone will like wearing so much volume on the bottom.  As a tall rectangle, I'm okay with the shape on me.

In the end, I got a nod of approval from my 21 year old daughter for these!  So, have you jumped on the culotte bandwagon yet?

Happy Sewing!