Okay, I have been waiting to post this coat make for some time now, but I just couldn’t get any cold weather!!!  I started sewing and preparing it back in October 2015…and finished it at the end of November 2015.  We just don’t get the weather everyone else gets to justify a heavy coat like this.  How do the models do the swimsuit shoots in the cold and snow….?  I guess the same way southerners do the photoshoots for cold weather attire in the desert heat!!!  Hot and sweaty!!!

Simplicity 1015

Everybody would think that since I have been sewing for such a long time, that I am well versed in the art of coat-making.  Besides, it’s just a “jacket” with extra stuff inside, right?  Well that isn’t true…at least not for me. I put a lot of work into this coat…knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get much wear from it here at home.  I just wanted the full experience of making a coat.  Aside from that I just didn’t want to spend money buying one.  I wanted to feel the satisfaction so many of my sewing community enthusiast feel when wearing a coat they have made themselves. I got that feeling of satisfaction, it was like building a house or wearing a work of art!!!

Simplicity 1015

However, I have only been able to wear this coat one time…..yes!!!  ONE Time wear– and that was out of town.  I have yet to wear it again. Aaagh!!!

Simplicity 1015

Oh, about the trip that encouraged this make…Chi-Town!!!  The Windy City and snow to make this southerner feel at home and cozy warm all at the same time.  That was such a great deal.  I didn’t feel out of place, in my synthetics, as with my first winter snow trip to “Chi-Town” back in the 80s.  Oh my goodness, I froze my toes off on Lake Michigan!  I ended up wearing my cousins coats, clothes, and boats.  (Oh yeah, socks too.)  I had no idea back then, but now I’m just a tad older and wiser.  So this time, I really put in the required homework to have a warm over-coat for the “real” cold that is only known by my northern neighbors.

Simplicity 1015

SNOW!!!  Yes, I got to play in the snow.  The lining, a pre-quilted cotton with flannel backed satin sleeves, was put to the test, on this visit, and it did quite well.  I was warm and cozy the entire time.  What a fantastic feeling inside and out, knowing I wouldn’t need to borrow anyone else’s cold-weather gear.

Simplicity 1015

Simplicity 1015I even put in the extra time and consideration for a button-out lining for wearing it in less than freezing temps.  No go…not with this weight of wool (a melton) it is just too heavy for South Texas.  Just so you know…I had a fantastic time traipsing around in the snow.  I felt like a fabricholic in the garment district on christmas with no budget limitations.

Pattern & Construction Details::

  • Simplicity 1015, view B
  • Hongkong finished seams 
  • Poly silk lining 
  • Taped shoulder seams
  • Quick tailoring with fusible interfacing

Simplicity 1015
Has it been wasted, over $150 worth of materials and notions.  Would “fast-fashion” have been a better purchase, and the rest of my money and time be spent on more weather appropriate makes?

I have searched and searched for the perfect Henley pattern for years now. I finally came across this one by way of my January Stitch Fix. It was so right I had to duplicate it for future use. I did make an attempt at drafting one before, but I couldn’t figure out what fine detail was missing until now. So I went back to the drawing board and self-drafted this tee with the same details that caught my attention in the Stitch Fix version. Now I know, it was the neckline shaping!!

Grey henley t-shirt with sleeve bands and button placket.

So many fine details make up the perfect wardrobe piece. It’s a wonder I don’t have ten of these by now. I made it about two weeks ago, maybe three. I don’t even remember. What I do remember is that I have worn it so many times that one things for sure, is that I better hurry and find some more fabric and get a few more completed, before my family calls the fashion police.

 
Of course there was only a few tweaks I had to make for it to fit me the way I like, and that was the arm circumference. The fabric for future makes need to be very lightweight and breezy for it to feel comfy.  It’s really no secret, I’m a button-down and t-shirt kinda gal.  So if I can get it to feel that comfortable, then it will be in heavy rotation in my closet, which is why I needed help for ideas on styling beyond the regular “t-shirt” wear.

For this one, I made the sleeve tabs faux, but next time I will go ahead and put actual buttonholes in them. The main reason for that is I keep trying to unbutton them and lower the sleeves. The button placket is fully functional, just as I wanted with a narrow lightly interfaced band. I am really very happy with the make, I even allowed my daughter to style me up, since I’m prone to just throw this very comfortable top on for any relaxed occasion. I needed her to give me pointers on taking a simple wardrobe piece to another level and jazz it up. I chose the shoes myself, the boyfriend jeans are something I have fallen head over heels for as well. They too are another Stitch Fix find. Total score!! I’m rocking her hat too. I wore it when I visited NYC last year. I do love to wear hats, problem is it is hard to find the right size for my noggins.

I get a kick out of understanding the history and meaning or background for the things I wear or what I do.  For this, I wanted to check out where or what “henley” really is, and this is what I found….
  • The men’s henley is a “collarless” version of a polo shirt with three “signature” buttons.
  • The top button is never buttoned closed… hence the women’s version is a little more sexy with the top opened down to resemble a v-neck
  • It is usually long sleeve and may be worn as a base layer to a jacket.

Here is a video of the original Stitch Fix fashion show where i show you their version.

Rodeo season is upon us and hats are a big thing in these parts. What say ye about hats? Do you wear the big ones are keep to the more conservative type?

In every game, field event, or business, the torch must be passed on to the next person or generation in order to keep the legacy moving forward.  As a Bernina Brand Ambassador, I am always on the look out for others that could or may do what I do.  I have often wondered, what if I tell someone about this position, and they do better than me?  What if, I tell my Bernina Rep about someone, and then I get the boot?  These things we all ponder, especially in such a competitive field, as it has become in the sewing community.  We look at another person and think: 

“Wow, I want what she has….She doesn’t seem to be doing any better than me!.. I have more followers, more hearts, more likes, prettier pictures, I spent a lot $$$ on my blog!!  So, maybe, I’ll just bite off of her so I can be seen by the the “BIG” boys, do what she does, so I can be chosen to take her place.”  That’s what I’ll do!!””

So we set out to make it happen, quietly and meticulously, scheming and planning for that opportunity to pounce on the one hope that we will be recognized and chosen to become that prized “IT Girl.”  The cream of the crop of sewing machine ambassadors.  

“WAIT!!”  You don’t need to go there!!! Just ask me.  I’ll help you.  I want to pass the baton, this job is temporary for all of us.  So, please ask me, because I want another great person do a great thing in the sewing community.  I want to know that that person whom I’m passing the baton to is worthy and hungry to lead the pack after I’m gone.  Please ask y’all….BERNINA USA is looking for more folks like us to take the charge for the next few years.  Checkout the Kollabora site and read more about the BERNINA USA collaboration.  You could be the next “IT Girl” of sewing machines.
Some things, to keep in mind…
  • The fun part…You will receive a new machine on loan if you are selected as an Ambassador
  • The work….You will need to “write” tutorials which will be considered for review and maybe added to their website and published on the WeAllSew Blog.

  • Take lots and lots of step-by-step process pictures of every step in your sewing process.  
  • Learn your machine!!!  Study it, take the classes at the dealer which are required.  They are from 16-24 hours total depending on your machine.
  • Sell, sell, sell the machine to everyone you know.  Well, not exactly like a salesperson, but more like a true “Loyal” BERNINA owner would. If you don’t “really” love the machine, no matter the company, this part will be hard for you.  
  • BE LOYAL!!!  For me, I would buy a BERNINA even if I wasn’t getting one to use for free.  (Think about it…you know the cost.)
The glamour is in the brand, the work is in the process of sharing the brand.  You become “their” Brand representative in addition to your own brand.  Have fun, join in the fun.  
  • Write some process tutorials or tips for the Kollabora blog so you can be considered.  
  • Show lots and lots of pictures to show the steps you want to present.  Don’t just show the final product…they want the entire process.
  • Show how you stitch the project on the machine…it is okay if its not a BERNINA right now. Just show all the steps.
  • Pictures, pictures and more pictures.  
I welcome your questions and comments.  I want to see some great people join the ambassador program.  

GOOD LUCK!!!! 

Developing a game out of pattern play and creating fun pieces instead of always needing to worry about fitting a pattern can be exhilarating and satisfying.

renfrew- sewaholic patterns   I got the idea of this top from my regular StitchFix box this last week.

It’s no secret I have had a love affair with my Renfrew top for a couple years now. My first experience with this pattern was on a whelm when I ordered it after checking out a few people’s blogs back in 2014. I ordered my first indie pattern, from Canada, of all places. That was a hit on the wallet, but I wanted to support the indie designer, and as I recall, there wasn’t an option for a PDF. What is it about this pattern that caused me to like it so much, not withstanding the trials I had fitting my upper section. (Yes, I know now, they were not drafted for the busty.)  I wanted to know what it was that made everyone love this pattern so much. After all, it’s “just” a t-shirt basically. Shucks, I could have gotten 10-20 other patterns on sale, for what I paid for this pattern, plus the cost of shipping.

I got the idea of this top from my regular StitchFix box this last week.

THAT NECKLINE!!! My analytical mind wanted to know for sure what it was about the pattern that was different. I decided to do some measurements and find out exactly what the difference is in the neckline that causes it to sit on my chest so well.   I took my measuring tape and measured the pattern at the neck seam to determine the percentage difference from the band.  I found that it is a 12.25% ratio of neckline-to-neckband.  Plus the band is cut on an angle at the closure, which to me creates a snugger fit for the band.  I used that same percentage when I drew my new opening for this top, a little change from the basic “renfrew” which is much more open, to this more modest version and used the ratio I came up with as the base for determining my band length.

I got the idea of this top from my regular StitchFix box this last week.  (More on that later.) As soon as I saw this top out of the box, I remembered this fabric and knew it was going to be mine.  Now I know this lady, Susanne C., my stylist, is in my head, or following my Periscopes or my instagram or something.  I suspect this, because she sent me exactly the things I had been talking about on my YouTube channel or other social media.  SMH…this internet is really “mmmmmm….I can’t say.”  
Of course you know me, duplicate the heck out of that top…..I copied the front section of the original and then transferred the details to the back of the renfrew and used the neckline of their top, but made the ratio of neck to band based off the refrew to ensure the fit was spot on.  The sleeves are my renfrew sleeves as well as all the upper body, notwithstanding the neckline…as I said, I made that smaller to match the StitchFix version.   See the video here for more details on that shipment.
I enjoyed making this top, and the fact that it was chosen by a stranger….is even more unsettling.  Wow.  Check out those boyfriend jeans.  I have never even tried on a pair of those at the store.  I just don’t like shopping too much y’all.  So when I do go shopping I stick to what I know, which is not very good.  Its just a limitation I have.  Now I understand why there are stylist and wardrobe planners out there to help.  
Take care and stay tuned for more to come….I’m always working to bring you fun things to look at, consider and talk about.  Please subscribe via email at the top for faster updates when I post.  Next up…..”Stitch Fix Video.”