Style Maker Fabrics Spring Style Tour 2018

Hello! I’ve been anxiously waiting for this day since Michelle asked me to be part of this tour. Style Maker Fabrics is fully stocked with new arrivals. When I saw all the fabrics, my imagination ran a bit wild and I planned approximately fifty new projects. It took me a day or two to come back down to earth and realize making all of them might not be realistic on any sort of deadline. I spent about a week deliberating and finally narrowed my decision down to three projects and four fabrics.

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I know you’re supposed to save the best for last, but I’m bucking tradition here and going all in by talking about my favorite piece first. This woven stripe was love at first sight. Do you ever see a fabric and think “I need that on my body?” No? Just me? Well, that’s how I felt about this fabric. I considered some sort of button up shirt, but after scrolling through Instagram for inspiration I saw the Wiksten Oversized Kimono from issue 4 of Making Magazine (here) and couldn’t get the thought out of my head. Michelle was a great help in selecting a coordinating fabric and suggested this washed linen. They’re a match made in heaven, don’t you think?

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The over sized shape and giant pockets drew me in, but the possibility of making the kimono reversible is what sold me. If you’ve been following me for a while you might know that I like bold patterns and colors. My love affair with print and color has made my wardrobe a technicolor dream, but that does create some issues when putting outfits together. This way I can have bold, but it will also coordinate better with some of my louder pieces. I realize the over sized look isn’t everyone’s cup of tea although it is certainly mine. This is bound to get endless wear over the next few months and I envision it being my go-to on cold summer evenings.
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Next up, my latest Grainline Studio Lark Tee. Everyone has their favorite tee pattern, and this one is mine. I’ll be honest and say that I actually haven’t made any other basic tee pattern because I liked this one after the first try. I’ve made six or seven of them and wear them regularly.  I made a size 4 and in this coral jersey knit it’s my idea of a perfect fitted, but slightly slouchy tee.

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Finally, let’s talk about these jeans. These were my second pair of Ginger Jeans (see my first ones here) and was able to sew them up in just a couple of days. I used this brushed denim and comfort is an understatement (hardware kit also available here). They are unbelievably soft and every bit as comfortable as the old worn-in mom jeans that I actually stole from my mom (a bit of a tangent about those on this post). Skinny jeans and comfort don’t usually go hand in hand, but in this case they get along quite nicely. I was careful not to over fit them and they’ll be just as nice to wear for a day at the park as they will be for date night.

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Lest I lead you astray, making these jeans wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. This was my first attempt at installing rivets which ended up being a bit of an ordeal. First, I attempted to install them at home with a wimpy little hammer that promptly broke. Next, I secured a new hammer at my parent’s house and using an old skillet as a metal surface when I dented the skillet in several places (sorry mom and dad). Then, I dug through boxes and found a cast iron skillet, installed the rivets, and thought everything was complete. Upon a final pressing and inspection I noticed a few tiny holes near the back pockets. These holes were apparently made during my rivet installation fiasco and I almost cried when I saw them. For once, I decided to keep a clear head and find a solution right away. Finally, I settled upon the idea of a little visible mending. I stabilized the holes and used perle cotton to stitch the shape of an asterisk in four places. I chose to stitch four so that it would look more like an intentional design feature than a mistake that needed to be fixed. It may seem silly, but I often toss a project to the side when a mistake like this is made. The extra stitching actually adds a nice little detail and reminds me that sometimes you just have to “make it work.”

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Now that I’ve gabbed on and on about my outfit, I just want to add on a little shout out to my husband who is the real MVP when it comes to these photos. Due to a small shipping delay and our schedules, the only time we had to take these photos was in the middle of wild winds and under threat of rain. I got dressed, we hopped in the car, and crossed our fingers that we could get the necessary photos. Guys, we took these photos in five minutes. After all the photos he’s taken for me, I think we’ve finally found our stride. The threat of rain and wild winds may have been a factor in making this photo session so quick, but I’m seriously impressed that we were able to just get it done. I’ll leave you with one last decent photo of my outfit and if you scroll to the bottom there’s one that will illustrate the hilarity of our 5 minute session.

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Now, I think that I’ve sufficiently run out of words. Are you ready to shop the Style Maker spring fabrics? Find the new arrivals here. Want more spring sewing inspiration? Check out yesterday’s post by Leslie (here) or see Lori’s post coming tomorrow (here). Want to be inspired by everyone on the Style Maker Spring Style Tour? Find links to all the tour posts here.

Finally, here’s likely the only reason you read or scrolled all the way to the bottom of this lengthy post:

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Whew! You’ve made it all the way to the end? Are you ready to read more? No? that’s cool this was a huge post. Yes? Here are links  to a couple of other projects I’ve made using fabrics from Style Maker. See my Joy Jacket here or my Gemma Dress here.

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Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat and a Coat Making Party

Can you believe it’s the first day of spring? I’m celebrating in unusual fashion by finally posting about my Clare Coat. Not unlike my Ginger Jeans, I’ve had the Clare Coat Pattern on my “to make” list for years. Luckily, my friends Rachel, Tiahna, and Jennifer wanted to make one as well. This last January we joined forces to host a Coat Making Party on Instagram. We were fortunate enough to work with a few generous sponsors, Riley Blake Designs, Raspberry Creek Fabrics, and Closet Case Files, who provided us with fabric and generous giveaways for participants. Without the motivation of sewing friends and our awesome sponsors, I’m not sure that I would’ve finished this coat, but I’m about to tell you why I’m so glad that I did.
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First, let’s talk about this olive green wool from Riley Blake Designs. Riley Blake was one of our sponsors and was gracious enough to provide each of us with wool to make the outer shell of our coats (see Rachel’s dark green one here, Tiahna’s pink one here, and Jennifer’s red one here). I chose this Olive colored wool and anxiously awaited its arrival. This wool is a mid-weight and seems similar to the weight of the fabric on my favorite ready to wear coat. I found working with it to be relatively easy and enjoyable. I did have a bit of trouble pressing, but this is likely due to the fact that I have a terribly cheap old iron and not an issue with the actual fabric.

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While the olive green shell of the coat is certainly striking, I think the lining is my very favorite part. Our other fabric sponsor, Raspberry Creek Fabrics, provided me with this Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel. I took a bit of a leap of faith selecting this without seeing it next to my wool and I’m so glad it turned out to be a perfect match. The flannel lining makes this coat extra cozy. It really feels like I’m wearing a secret blanket which is exactly how I want to feel in the winter. One aspect that I overlooked when planning this coat was the need for a sleeve lining that would be a bit more slippery to make the coat easier to put on and take off. I had already planned to use this black and white striped rayon challis as the lining for my Joy Jacket (see it here), so I simply added an extra yard to my order and used it to line my Clare Coat sleeves as well. I’ve found myself regularly wearing my sleeves rolled just to show off the fun striped lining.

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Now that I’ve talked your ear off regarding fabric choices, let’s talk about the actual process of making the coat. I spent four evenings preparing fabric, tiling the pdf pattern, and cutting out all the pieces to the coat. The amount of preparation that goes in to making a coat is something that I wasn’t wholly prepared for before I started this project. It likely would’ve only taken three evenings for the prep work if I hadn’t spent an entire evening tiling the pattern pieces for view b when I was supposed to be tiling the pieces for view a. How I assembled all the pieces before realizing it was the wrong view is beyond me. That is a mistake I plan to avoid in the future and a time-consuming lesson that I likely won’t forget.

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About halfway through January, I finally completed all the prep work and got down to business. These welt pockets on the front were the first and most time consuming aspect of the project. I spent my first evening focusing solely on them and despite a few minor imperfections, I think they turned out well. These perfectly-angled and flannel-lined pockets keep my hands nice and toasty when I forget my gloves (which happens almost every time I go out).

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Once the welt pockets were installed, the rest of the coat construction went rather smoothly. As a visual learner and first time coat maker, I found myself relying heavily on the sewalong (here) to understand each step. I was a bit nervous about the zipper installation, but soon found that I had no reason to worry. As it turns out, installing a separating zipper is even easier than a regular zipper. Who knew? I also got a bit confused about bagging the lining, but found it to be rather simple and magical once I followed the instructions and just went for it.

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Before I wrap this up, let’s talk for just a second about sizing and adjustments. I chose a size 10 for my Clare and because I wanted it large enough to fit over a bulky sweater. If I planned on only wearing thin layers underneath I could’ve possibly sized down to an 8, but I’m really happy with the fit of the coat as a 10. I only made one minor fit adjustment to the pattern and that was to use the full length (view b) sleeves and add 2 inches to their length.

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Honestly, January was a bit of a rough sewing month for me. I had a hard time getting back in the swing of things after the holidays and was seriously lacking in motivation. Most days I felt like sewing was more of a chore than a pleasure. This doesn’t happen regularly, but when it does I sometimes wonder why I sew. Looking back on January, I’m feeling grateful that I forced myself into the sewing room because I was able to accomplish two huge sewing goals , jeans (here) and this coat, that gave me the confidence boost needed to fall right back in love with sewing come February. Over the last few years of growth, parenting, and change, sewing has been the constant that reminds me I can do hard things, I can be proud of those things, and there’s always something to learn. In short, sometimes you won’t always love insert hobby or passion here, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. It just might mean that it’s time to push through resistance because something great is on the horizon. It also might not mean anything, I’m not claiming any miracles here.