Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Yay! Named‘s new spring collection is out, so now I can finally share with you my Augusta Hoodie! A few months ago Named had a call for pattern testers in their newsletter, and I was lucky enough to be picked. I had the chance to preview their new collection and choose a pattern to test. There were a lot of tempting options, but I went with the Augusta Hoodie both because I knew it would fit in well with my wardrobe and because the pattern had a lot of interesting details to try out.

Testing took place over the Christmas/New Year holidays. I was afraid that if I ordered fabric online I wouldn’t get it in time to meet the testing deadline. So, with expectations appropriately low, I went to JoAnn’s. The recommended fabrics for this pattern are sweatshirt jersey or knit fleece. As expected, the selection at JoAnn’s was uninspiring (I’m so not into those ’90s-style saturated colors), but I did manage to find two shades of gray sweatshirt fleece. I threw in some white ribbing, pre-made piping, and brass snaps and I was ready to roll.

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

I match Named’s size 34 measurements exactly, so made up the pattern as-is with no changes. The fit is spot-on, save for a little tightness through the shoulders.

My favorite details are the piping and the snaps. They’re both easy to do, but I think they really elevate this pattern and make it look a bit fancier than your average hoodie. This was the first time I’d used snaps, so I was really pleased to find out how easy they were to install. My husband and I had an assembly line going where I would set them in place and he would hammer them in.

Also, I’m wearing my new Jamie Jeans in these pics – to be blogged soon! The fit is much better than my first pair.

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Construction was fairly straight-forward. If you can handle a welt pocket then you should be good to go. The one part I got confused about was how to attach the hood. However, the instructions have been updated to be much more detailed in the final version, so I don’t think that should be a problem anymore.

I don’t believe there are any major differences between the testing pattern and the final pattern. The pockets originally had a welt facing that was attached to the pocket piece, but it looks like they’ve been combined into one piece for the final version. That shouldn’t really change anything, but it does mean that the insides will look a bit neater since that extra seam won’t be visible.

I really like the way the top-stitched welt pockets look, but I have to admit they’re not very practical. My hands are on the smaller side, and even they can hardly fit in there. I’m also not a big fan of all the visible guts on the inside, but I don’t think there’s really a good way around it. You could potentially add a lining, but then you wouldn’t get the soft fleeciness against your skin. And the facing does give a nice, clean look from the outside.

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Overall I’m very happy with this pattern, and the Named girls were a pleasure to work with! Augusta is a really clever and interesting hoodie/jacket hybrid, and, as expected, I’ve already gotten a lot of wear out of it.

Make sure you take a look at the rest of Named’s new collection – there are a lot of great patterns to choose from! I really love the Asaka Kimono, especially in the sample fabric they chose. It’s definitely on my to-make list for the summer!

What are your favorites from the new collection?

<3 Lindsay

Faux Fur Jacket + Free Pattern!

jacket_promo-01

I am a faux fur convert. I had my doubts while buying this fabric, cutting it out, and all the way through construction up until the finishing stitches. But the instant I put on the finished jacket I fell in love.

I first got the idea to make a faux fur jacket back in September, when I saw an Altuzarra for Target jacket (seen here in my fall sewing plans post).

For the pattern, I just wanted a simple, boxy shape with no darts etc., so I decided to draft one myself. The pattern is just three pieces, so it’s a very quick sew! And after I finished my jacket I was so happy with how it turned out that I decided to offer it as a free pattern! It’s been graded to sizes 0 – 18, and I’ve illustrated some instructions and included tips for working with faux fur.

This is a great basic, boxy jacket pattern that you could alter in any number of ways. It’s perfect for showcasing faux fur, but it would work with any other medium-to-heavyweight fabric as well. I didn’t add any closures because I like the way it looks open, but you could definitely add some fur hooks or a zipper if you’d like. Available for download right here!

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Where to buy faux fur? I recommend fabric.com – that’s where I found this “snow leopard” fur. It’s super soft and plush and it doesn’t have that weird plastic-y feel that a lot of faux furs have. They seem to have a pretty wide selection of faux fur, and they do free returns, which is a nice bonus. For the lining I used my favorite – rayon bemberg – and I love how luxe it makes the jacket feel.

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Sewing with faux fur really isn’t much different than sewing any other fabric. The main difference lies in how you cut it out.

  • Because fur has a nap, you’ll need to pay close attention to the grainline of your pattern pieces. The fur should lie smoothly and in the same direction on all pieces.
  • I like to use a sharpie to draw the pattern pieces on the back of the fur, and then use my normal fabric shears to cut them out, making sure to only snip through the backing and not the fur itself. You can also use an exacto knife for this part, but I found the scissors easier to use. When you’ve finished cutting, gently separate the pieces from the fabric and then tug around the edges to pull off any loose fur.
  • I definitely recommend using a walking foot if you have one, and increasing your stitch length to about 3mm. A universal needle should work fine.
  • The thicker your fur, the harder it’s going to be to use pins. Wonder clips are great for sewing with faux fur or any other thick fabric. You could also try using clothespins if that’s all you have around.
  • Personally, I don’t trim the fur off the seam allowances before I sew. Instead I just use my fingers and a comb to tease out any fur that got caught in the seam.
  • I wouldn’t recommend ironing faux fur – I’m pretty sure that could quickly  lead to a melting mess. I just finger-pressed the seam allowances open.

I’ve found that faux fur hides a multitude of sins – so don’t worry too much about precision! The best thing to do to prepare is to sew a few scraps together and figure out what works best for you and your sewing machine.

And speaking of scraps, this trapper hat pattern (also free) would be great for using up your faux fur scraps! I made two of them for x-mas presents this year.

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

So would you ever wear faux fur? I find something about wearing it really fun and confidence-boosting. If you do make your own faux fur jacket be sure to leave me a link below! Hopefully it’ll make this long winter a little more enjoyable.

And if you know of any other good sources for faux fur, I’d be curious to know those as well!

<3 Lindsay

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

I finally got around to making the Lady Skater! I received this pattern as part of the first Pattern Parcel and printed it out right away. But instead of making the Lady Skater I had planned on, I used the bodice to make my stripy “Madewell” dress. I then used the bodice to make a couple less-than-successful tops and promptly forgot about the pattern until late this fall. When I re-discovered it I went searching for inspiration and found Sophie’s warm brown winter-y Lady Skater from a couple years ago. It looked like the perfect cold weather basic, so I went a very similar route with mine.

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

I bought this rust-colored jersey from fabric.com. It’s made from bamboo and it. is. heavenly. Super soft, great recovery, wrinkle resistant, and the perfect thickness for a dress! I’m definitely a bamboo fan.

I really love the color of this fabric too. I didn’t realize when I bought it (or maybe I subconsciously did) that it’s very similar to Pantone’s “color of the year” marsala. It’s a really lovely, warm color and almost a “faux neutral” because it seems to go with everything.

The Lady Skater’s a very quick sew – only about three hours from start to finish. I made no modifications other than shortening the skirt by 1.5″ to account for my height (I’m 5’4″). I could probably stand to shorten the bodice by 1/2″ as well, though it’s not bad where it is, especially with a belt. I went with the 3/4 length cuffed sleeves – my favorite sleeve length – because if I wear long sleeves I always push them up to 3/4 length anyway. I sewed everything on my serger with the exception of the topstitching around the neckline and the bottom hem.

marsala lady skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

This was such a satisfying make! Whipping up quick basics is great for keeping my sew-jo flowing in between more complicated projects. Especially when they so perfectly fill a gap in my wardrobe! I don’t normally wear dresses too often, but this one’s so versatile and comfortable that it’s already gotten worn a handful of times.

What have you been making lately? And do you also try to alternate easy and hard projects, or do you have a different system altogether? Or maybe no system at all! I’d be interested to hear about it…

<3

Nani Iro Backpack

Hey there! It’s been a while. I’ve been doing some re-decorating and re-organizing both in my sewing room and here on the web. Last weekend I switched my site over from Blogger to WordPress, and I’ve just about got it fixed up how I like it. Hopefully the rss feeds have switched over like they should and this post appeared in your blog reader. If it didn’t or if you notice any other glitches in the site please let me know! EDIT: This post didn’t appear in Bloglovin when I originally posted it two days ago, but it should be there now!

And now on to the backpack! This is the Cooper Bag by Colette Patterns. I first used this pattern over a year ago to make a backpack for my husband. He’s used it almost every day since and it was starting to look pretty rough. The side seams of the lining had blown out and one of the straps was starting to fall out at the top. It was time for some repairs and since I hate mending things I decided a good motivator would be to make myself a new backpack at the same time that I was fixing his! Note: I really like the idea of mending things and prolonging their usefulness. Those kinds of projects just always tend to sit on the backburner while I make something new and exciting – even if it’s the kind of thing that would only take me 10 minutes to fix.

Nani iro backpack

Nani iro backpack

I’ve been a fan of the Nani Iro “water window” design since I first spotted it at Miss Matatabi and when I saw this canvas version in person at Form & Fabric I knew it would be perfect for a backpack! The lining is also from Form & Fabric – a quilting cotton that I picked up for super cheap at their going-out-of-business sale.

The canvas isn’t terribly thick, so I used heavyweight interfacing on the body and flap pieces to give the bag a bit more structure.

It took me a really long time to cut out the pattern pieces just because there were so many options for pattern placement. I wanted to make sure I got a good mix of light and dark areas. I’m really happy with how it ended up looking. It was a happy coincidence that the printing on the selvedge was the exact width of the body strap – I think it’s a nice touch.

Nani iro backpack

Nani iro backpack

This is a pretty easy pattern to put together, unfortunately I made two stupid mistakes that prolonged my construction time. First I cut the slits for the magnetic snaps on the outside flap instead of the inside flap. Ugh. Luckily I had enough fabric left that I was able to cut out a new flap piece with the exact same pattern placement. I’d already put the straps on it, so I had to take my seam ripper to those and re-attach them to the new flap. Then I somehow managed to put the lining in inside out. Double ugh. Those time-consuming little mistakes are so frustrating.

Another mishap occurred before I even started sewing. For the first time ever USPS lost one of my packages. I’d ordered cotton webbing and magnetic snaps from this Etsy shop and though the tracking number said it had been delivered there was no package to be found. USPS was no help, but when I contacted the shop owner to let her know what had happened she surprised me by really going above and beyond to help me out. Even though it was no fault of hers she re-sent me my order for free and was so nice about the whole situation. The webbing and snaps ended up being really high quality as well, so I definitely recommend her shop if you’re looking for bag-making supplies!

The double loop sliders are kind of hard to find – I ordered mine from Buckle Guy where they’re reasonably priced and come in a few different finishes. I didn’t bother adding rivets to the flap.

Nani iro backpack

Nani iro backpack

After seeing where my husband’s backpack got the most wear and tear, I knew of a few improvements I wanted to make. The lining definitely needs some “action pleats” if you’re planning on carrying around heavy things like laptops and textbooks. For my husband’s new lining I used a heavy-duty ripstop and added side panels that are pleated at the top so the lining can still be sewn to the bag opening as usual. For my lining I just sewed the side seams at 1/4″ instead of 5/8″ and made mini pleats with the excess fabric at the top. I’m not planning on carrying a lot of heavy stuff so hopefully that’ll work well enough.

My husband’s old straps were made from self-fabric because I couldn’t find any webbing that matched. They were starting to come apart from the bag where they attached at the top, so I replaced them with cotton webbing straps – which he reports are much more comfortable. The instructions only call for one line of stitching where the straps meet the bag. Again, if you’re planning on carrying heavier things you’re going to want some extra reinforcement here. I fed the webbing in an extra inch or so and made a rectangle of stitching with an X through it where each strap attaches to the body of the bag.

Nani iro backpack

Nani iro backpack

I think it ended up looking really cool! And it’s going to be super useful for weekend trips and other traveling. Have you made a backpack or other travel gear? I may have to make the Portside Duffle next…

<3 Lindsay

Handmade Presents Round-Up

This marks my first year giving handmade presents for Christmas! I didn’t want to stress myself out with sewing complicated projects on a deadline, so I just focused on making a few simple things for people who I knew would appreciate them.

First up is this faux fur and wool trapper hat! I used this free pattern by Sewbon and it came together really easily. I made one version for a secret santa hat exchange at work and I liked the way it turned out so well that I made a second version for my sister-in-law!

This hat hardly uses any material, so it would be a great scrap-buster if you have any faux fur lying around. I just used a bit of the faux fur I bought to make a jacket with (which I’ll hopefully get around to doing this month…) I lined the inside with rayon bemberg in the hopes that it would reduce hat hair frizziness.

For my mother-in-law I made some home goods to go with her newly remodeled kitchen and living room. I found two fabrics that match her new color scheme – and that are totally her style – and decided on doing an accent pillow for the living room and a potholder and towels for the kitchen.

The fabric for the pillow is a Japanese cotton/linen blend by Kokka (the company that produces Nani Iro) that I found at the (now sadly closed) Common Thread in Austin. I used a spare Ikea pillow form I had and just sewed two rectangles of fabric together with an invisible zip at the bottom – super easy!

The kitchen towels are also just simple rectangles. They took a bit longer though because all the edges had to be folded over twice and the corners mitred. The potholder was actually really fun to make! It was my first experience using batting and quilting, and it was easier than I expected. To make it I just sandwiched two squares of batting between two squares of fabric and stitched diagonal lines at regular intervals. Then you trim the corners to be a bit curved and sew bias tape around the edge, making a loop at the end. Making a few for my own kitchen is definitely on my list!

The fabric I used is a cotton canvas by Lotta Jansdotter (available here) that I got practically for free at Form & Fabric’s going-out-of-business sale. I’m really hoping a new apparel fabric store opens in Austin soon, because both my favorites are closed now!

And finally, for my mom I made this cozy flannel infinity scarf. This only took about fifteen minutes, but I love the way it looks! I kind of wanted to keep this one for myself… :)

How about you? Did you give or receive any handmade presents this Christmas? I’d love to hear about them!

<3 Lindsay