Sunday, October 2, 2016

Teal Raincoat, SewPhotoHop Roundup, & More


Teal Raincoat

Well, this has taken awhile!

I started this project last July, soon after returning from NYC. I had to order the custom double-ended zipper from Botani and the order got lost, so that delayed me. This fabric, from B&J Fabrics, is gorgeous, but it's a royal PITA to sew and press. I wasn't super happy with how it was looking and, towards the end, it was driving me crazy so I put the project into timeout. Last week I checked the weather report for Munich and it's raining, a lot, so I forced myself to finish it.

I combined two patterns. I used the body of Marcy Tilton's coat, V8934, with the collar from Sandra Betzina's coat, V1494. I made this raincoat years ago. That time I lengthened it, but I didn't want such a long coat for this trip. I like that coat, but I'm not crazy about the collar, so I decided to swap it out with Sandra's collar.

Vogue 8934

Vogue 1494

Let me see if I can remember what I did differently, since it was awhile ago, and I'm notorious for not taking notes as I sew.

  • Swapped out the collar for the Betzina collar.
  • Reinforced the back of the collar with extra interfacing and rows of stitches. This time I put the "quilted" interfacing to the inside of the jacket.
  • Narrowed the shoulder (typical).
  • Shortened the sleeves (typical).
  • Replaced the pockets with angled welt pockets. I love the ergonomics of an angled welt pocket. I made the pocket bags quite deep.
  • The coat is unlined, to make it super lightweight, but I finished all raw edges. I used felled seams where possible and bias binding elsewhere.
  • I finished the front with long, 1/2" wide, bands and band facings.

I considered drafting a detachable hood for the coat, but decided it wouldn't work well with the dramatic collar. Instead, I bought this cute teal wool rain hat from Etsy, and these great Cole Haan rain shoes from Ebay. I had first ordered some inexpensive rain boots from Zappos, but they were incredibly uncomfortable, so I sent them back and found the Cole Haans on Ebay for less money. These shoes are some of the most comfortable things I've ever had on my feet.

Collar closeup

I've used this "quilted, heavy duty interfacing" technique for reinforcing a collar many times, but this is the first time I put it to the inside of the coat! It worked very well.

So, this raincoat was annoying to sew, and the end result is far from perfect, but it will be very useful!

Sew Photo Hop 2016

I first participated in the Sew Photo Hop on Instagram last year. I decided to go again this year!

Here are my summary posts:

Day 1, #sewphotohop, "Hello." I'm Shams and I sew (and blog) obsessively. Not sure I'll be weighing in every day, but I'll try. Here I'm wearing McCalls 6028, made from Scuba knit and wool doubleknit, and a recently finished coat, Butterick 6385. I'm a bit dressed up today because after work there will be frocktails, feasting, and merriment with some sewing friends. @houseofpinheiro @minervacrafts

Day 2, #sewphotohop, "Favorite skill." Well, I have some real skills: housework-avoidance, is one. Food-prep-avoidance is another. Then there's advanced-fabric-buying, extreme-pattern-hacking and matching-pattern-to-fabric. But my favorite? Hmmmm.... I like handwork a lot. But maybe my favorite is probably my obsessive-dedication-to-detail. Here I'm wearing a denim duster I made using a Butterick dress pattern-I added 244 grommets to the front bands. You can't see those in this pic but, on top of that I'm wearing a cowl where I installed 100 small grommets. Through each grommet I inserted a weird little metal thing that I found at Fabrix. I call this my Weird Ass Metal Thingie Cowl and I love to wear it!

Day 3, #sewphotohop, "Dream project." I thought and thought and I really don't have a dream project, as I tend to make the things that excite me. Or maybe I just don't dream big enough, so... How about this: I bought this wool panel from Elliot Berman when I was in NY in late July. It's designed as a no-sew project: You cut around the outer edge and remove the mesh from the armholes, pop it on, and off you go. I love the panel but I hate how these sorts of wraps look on me. I wanted to refashion it but had no idea how. Then yesterday I had a flash of inspiration. I REALLY want to try out my idea but I have only a few weeks until my trip to Europe and this won't go with my color scheme so I can't work on it next. I probably won't be able to get to it until Thanksgiving at the earliest. Waaaaah! @dragonflyfabrics @houseofpinheiro

Day 4, #sewphotohop, "Signature Look." My signature look is a topper with color and/or texture over a monochromatic column (usually black). Worn with bold, statement accessories and shoes, lipstick, and red hair. @houseofpinheiro

Day 5, #sewphotohop, "Print or solid." I am picky about both. For prints I love dots, paisley's, and abstract textural designs. For solids I prefer darker colors. ("I'll wear black until they come up with something darker.") My favorite solid fabrics have some sort of texture. But it appears that day 22 is dedicated to texture so I'll say no more. Here I'm wearing a McCalls dress made from a printed scuba knit and a black wool doubleknit so it features a print and a solid! @houseofpinheoro @vhaberdashery

Day 6, #sewphotohop, "Essential kit." A freezer full of food, made possible by my Instant Pot, and a plentiful supply of Teechino. Today's stew is black bean, brown rice, and veggies. This leaves me loads of time to sew and still be well fed. I drink Teechino instead of coffee.

Day 7, #sewphotohop, "Stash busters." Coats! Especially lined coats! And they just happen to be one of my favorite things to sew! @houseofpinheiro @upcraftclub

Day 8, #sewphotohop, "Made for someone else." I don't sew a lot for others but I recently made these silk pouches as part of a wedding gift for a special couple, Allison and Dionne.

Day 9, #sewphotohop, "Dud." Epic fail? Mais oui!!!!! @remnant_kings @houseofpinheiro

Day 10, #sewphotohop, "Mini or maxi." I'll wear both but I prefer mini! (With leggings or tights.) I'm wearing a sweater from Simply Bella's over a self made dress.

Day 11, #sewphotohop, "Favorite tool." It would be difficult for me to choose a favorite as I love all my tools, but I'm particularly smitten with handmade seam rippers. I seem to collect them! Here are a few... @holmsown @houseofpinheiro

Day 12, #sewphotohop, "Tips and techniques." I have loads of techniques that I love but today I installed zipper pockets on a pattern that doesn't call for them. I love the zippers. 😀

Day 13, #sewphotohop, "Game changer." No question: the internet and, subsequently, social media. What a huge source of community, information, and inspiration!

Day 14, #sewphotohop, "Wardrobe." I've been having so much fun pulling together a travel wardrobe for Paris in teal, black, and cobalt. @sewoveritlondon @houseofpinheiro

Day 15, #sewphotohop, "Sewing space." Even when I'm not sewing, I'm thinking about sewing and noodling things out in my head.

Day 16, #sewphotohop, "Wish list." Last year I wished to go to Paris with Marcy Tilton. I'm going next month! This year I hope to visit Italy! And maybe Japan. A girl can dream, right? @brave_fabrics @houseofpinheiro

Day 17, #sewphotohop, "Zippers or buttons." This is the only image I've reused from last year but it sums it up. Of course I like buttons, but I LOVE zippers and other hardware!

Day 18, #sewphotohop, "Knits or woven." Both, though I sew more with stretch fabric (both knits and wovens) than with non-stretch. I'm wearing 4 self-made knit pieces in this outfit. @girlcharleeuk @houseofpinheiro

Day 19, #sewphotohop, "Sewing library." I rarely buy physical books anymore, but I did pick up the catalog for the Manus X Machina exhibit when I visited the Met in NYC this summer. It was a wonderful exhibit!

Day 20, #sewphotohop, "Seasonal." Am I confused? Not exactly. Am I obsessive? Definitely! Now that I've about finished sewing my fall travel wardrobe for Paris, I've started planning a hot weather travel wardrobe for next summer! It's waaay too much fun! @seamworkmag @houseofpinheiro

Day 21, #sewphotohop, "Go-to patterns." Well. I guess that would have to be the Presto top by @savagecocopatterns! Six are pictures here but I've also made an eggplant colored version. That's seven, so far! @sewessentialuk @houseofpinheiro

Day 22, #sewphotohop, "Texture." Texture is FAR more important to me than solid or print!!!!!

Day 23, #sewphotohop, "Inspiration." So many things inspire me! For example, just look at the colors and textures in this outfit from! @schnittchen_com @houseofpinheiro

Day 24, #sewphotohop, "One piece or separates." Even when I wear a dress, like my black wool sheath dress, I turn it into separates!

Day 25, "Favorite era." This one! I imagine it would have been much harder to get away with wearing a necklace made from eyeglass lenses in any earlier era! @fabricgodmother

Day 26, #sewphotohop, "Close up " I post close-up photos of my sewing all the time, but today I picked up my new team hoodie and I quite like how they did the thumb hole! The ends are sewn into the seam.

Day 27, #sewphotohop, "Other interests." I have other interests but, these days, I'm mostly either sewing or working. When I do have some down time, I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles on my iPad.

Day 28, #sewphotohop, "Wow." One of the most amazing sewers I know is kind of a secret. Manuela, who is from Germany originally, but now lives in Hong Kong, doesn't blog or Instagram, but her skill and artistry are amazing. I know her from Stitches Guild and she also posts to her Flickr album. Here is some of her work. HTTPS:// UPDATE: @manuela_in_hong_kong just joined Instagram!!! (I sent her a link to this post to make sure it was OK, cause, you know, it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. 😀)

Day 29, #sewphotohop, "Storage tips." I don't have many storage tips, but I just love my friend @sfkatwa's knitting bag! She bought this in Bali and I plan to knock it off. @stylemakerfabrics

Day 30, #sewphotohop, "What's next?" Well, I just finished a massive project-sewing a wardrobe for my upcoming trip to Munich and Paris. What's next is my trip to Europe!

#sewphotohop, Bonus pay, "Pj party." I love to sew comfy flannel jammie bottoms, but on top I wear one of my tees. I LOVE my tees but I rarely wear one out of the house - only under duress - as I feel schlumpy in a tee. These are: 1) One of my Greygler tees, the group for older Google employees, 2) My daughter's photo was featured on the advertising for one of her school's annual dance concerts so, of course, I had to buy a tee! 3) I enjoyed visiting the Meowtropolitan cat cafe in Seattle, and 4) I got my degree at U.C. Berkeley. This shirt spells out CAL in mathematical formulas. Go Bears! I enjoyed this photo hop, @houseofpinheiro, thanks so much! @workroomsocial

Nymphadora Knotted Scarf

Last July I visited Churchmouse Yarns on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle. I purchased one skein of Hand Maiden Maiden Hair yarn in the Winterberry color way. I knitted it up into the Nymphadora scarf, finishing as I was flying to New York.

Then it sat. It sat and sat. I wasn't thrilled with how the variegated yarn looked when knitted up. I decided to paint the yarn to cover up the "golden" bits. I ordered two colors of acid dye from Dharma.

And yet it sat and sat, while I dithered. I looked into creating a steamer for setting the color. But still, it sat.

Eventually I decided that I didn't mind the color so much! I tied the knots into the scarf and left it as it.

I like the scarf, but I don't know if I like it well enough to take it to Munich.

You can read more details on my Knotted Nymphadora Ravelry post.

National Sewing Month

You may have heard that September is National Sewing Month in the United States. Carolyn, of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, spent the whole month honoring this event. She hosted giveaways and featured a variety of bloggers. I am honored that she included me in her final post, What Sewing Means to Me, part 3.

It's joyful to read how these very different sewers and bloggers share a common passion for sewing. Check it out!

California State Fabric

I was amused to learn that California has an official state fabric! Last Wednesday, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly voted to make denim the official state fabric of California. I wonder if we are the first state to have a state fabric?

Some question this decision, but let's go with it!

In honor of our new state fabric, I just ordered tencel denim in two colors, one of my favorite fabrics on the planet!

And, no, denim doesn't have to be made from cotton. :)

More Brick and Mortar Closures

It's quite sad, but since my visit to NYC in July, several fabric stores have closed. Most notably, Parons Fabrics and Chic Fabrics. You can read more on Male Pattern Boldness.

This week I learned that Rose City Textiles in Portland, Oregon is closing at the end of the year.

And, of course, Satin Moon in San Francisco is also closing this December.

I buy fabric both online and in person and it saddens me to see these independent brick and mortar stores disappear.


Well, I'm pretty much finished sewing the Paris travel wardrobe. If I had more time, I'd make a new pair of jeans, as my current jeans are looking pretty worn. I also have a project I'm really eager to work on, but I just don't think I'll have time for either one. I have a short amount of time before I leave for Munich and I have a huge deliverable due in Munich, so I will probably be working weekends between now and then.

Last Thursday, DD1 texted me. She's looking forward to a Halloween in San Francisco after spending the last four in rural Oregon. She wanted to know if I'd be willing to sew her up a quick costume and then she sent me a photo. The costume included a bustier. Yes, a BUSTIER!


To be fair, a bustier probably doesn't LOOK that hard. I declined but told her I'd be willing to help her shop, so we spent a day in the Haight district of San Francisco. It's very fun to explore the various shops in the Haight looking for costume elements. By the end of the day, we mostly had what she needed and we ordered a few more things online. I won't be in the country for Halloween, but I look forward to seeing pics of her final costume!

This week I'll be going back to Seattle, also for work. So, yes, not much sewing can happen, but I have been knitting chemo caps!

Please join me on Patti's Visible Monday and Style Crone's Hat Attack. Have a great week!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reptile Moto Jacket, PROJKT Maiden Lane, and Artistry in Fashion!

Well, this has been a crazy few days. Crazy fun! It's been a weekend of fashion with the PROJKT Maiden Lane runway show on Friday, and Artistry in Fashion on Saturday.

I'm writing this on Saturday night and I'm pooped!


Reptile Moto TEAL

I wanted to make a moto jacket for my Paris wardrobe. I bought this teal reptile quilted-ish stretch woven from Mood months ago.

I had the lining in my stash. It is a heavy charmeuse that has an almost hammered look. I have a lot of it!

There are so many moto patterns available these days that I had a hard time deciding which to use but, in the end, I decided to go with the Lisette pattern, Butterick 6169, which has many satisfied reviews on Pattern Review. This collarless jacket is lined, has shoulder pads, shoulder princess seams front and back, in-seam welt pockets, and two-piece sleeves. Most reviewers noted that it has more-than-usual ease through the bust. Of course, I still made modifications:

Alterations and modifications:

I started with my usual size 18.

  • This jacket has more bust ease than similar jackets. Many reviews have mentioned that they didn't need an FBA. I did do an FBA, but I added much less ease than usual.
  • Narrowed the shoulder by about 1-1/2". This is more than usual.
  • 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment.
  • From other reviews, I saw that the jacket was on the short side. I lengthened it by 2".
  • Shortened the sleeve by 1".
  • Removed 4" from the waist at the side seams.
  • Swapped out the vertical in-seam pockets for angled zippered pockets.
  • Added zippers with gussets to the sleeves. I used a technique similar to my tutorial, though I actually centered the zippers at the seam. Centering the zippers requires more facings, but the technique is similar.
  • I used the reverse side of the fabric (which is black) for the front and back neck facings so that it exposes black when the lapel is folded back.

I mentioned my zipper expedition a couple posts ago. I wanted teal zippers for this jacket and I found a size 5 zipper with black tape and chunky metallic teal teeth at J.N. Zippers. They had both separating and closed styles and I had them shortened to my desired length. I also had them swap the silver zipper pull for a black slider. The front zipper is 20" long, the pocket zippers are 6", and the gusset zippers are 5".

Finished zipper pocket

Installing the zipper in the sleeve seam

Installing the zipper gusset. I used remnants of crinkled taffeta for the wedge-shaped gussets.

Finished sleeves

Zippers galore!

Back facing + lining using the reverse side of the reptile fabric. The heavy charmeuse lining has a hammered look.

I had to run to Britex for shoulder pads!

The reverse of the fabric shows when the lapels are turned back


Flashing the lining


Butterick 6169, Lisette

PROJKT Maiden Lane

Left to right: Emily Payne, Kini Zamora, Richard Hallmarq, Rey Ortiz

Britex Fabrics pulled together a fun event last night! PROJKT Maiden Lane was a runway show featuring 4 designers, all with a connection to Project Runway or Tim Gunn. Britex closed off the entire length of Maiden Lane, festooned the lane with lights, brought in a DJ with a sound system, and installed a long red felt runway. It was a lovely evening in San Francisco, a bit nippy, but nowhere near as cold as it can get. Before and after the show the first floor was open to guests for some late-night shopping and champagne.

Lining up for the event
Photo credit: Britex Fabrics

It was Very Civilized.

Sharman, the owner of Britex, and Kirby are filling the goody bags
Photo credit: Britex Fabrics

Setting up Maiden Lane
Photo credit: Britex Fabrics

The runway. There's Wendy peeking out!

Looking across the runway

Waiting for the show to start
Photo credit: Rose

Emily Payne, a former Britex sales person on the first floor, a contestant on season 13 of Project Runway, and season 5 of Project Runway All Stars, kicked off the show. She continues to have close ties to Britex and was the impetus for the PROJK Maiden Lane event. Emily presented two runway shows, starting the evening with her children's line, named for her daughter, Devon Rose.

The second runway show featured Emily's adult clothing. Emily commissioned some art pieces from Lance Victor Moore, who made some compelling face masks, designed to disguise the gender of the wearer. All of the models, male and female, wore one of these interesting-but-creepy, one-of-a-kind masks.

Lance Victor Moore's masks
Photo credit: Britex Fabrics

Emily Payne and Lance Victor Moore
Photo source: Emily Payne

One of my favorite pieces in Emily's show
Photo source: Emily Payne

Photo source: Emily Payne

For more pictures of these runway shows, see Emily Payne's Instagram feed and the #emilypayne hashtag. For more information on Lance Victor Moore's masks, see this Britex blog post.

Richard Hallmarq, a contestant on season 11 of Project Runway, presented the third runway show. His clothing featured knitwear and day looks. You can see more about Richard on his Instagram feed. Rey Ortiz, a contestant on season 1 of Under the Gunn, presented the fourth runway show, featuring evening wear. You can see more on his Instagram feed. The final runway of the evening, by Kini Zamora, contestant on season 13 of PR and season 5 of PR All Stars, featured his evening wear and clothing made with double-sided mesh fabric. You can learn more about Kini on his Instagram feed.

I took photos of the runway, but most of them did not come out, which is why my descriptions are so brief. One of my few pics that wasn't a complete blur is this dress by Richard Hallmarq:

It was a fun show, with lots of energy. Sharman says they may do more events of this type, and I hope so! It was a lot of fun for a mere $20. You can see more at #britexfabrics, #projktmaidenlane, and @britexfabrics.

Here are a few more pics from the evening:

A beautiful pic of Wendy and Rose!
Photo credit: Rose

The lovely Lucy, of Love Affair with Sewing, introduced herself!
Photo credit: Rose

Grace, a blog reader, also said hello!
Photo credit: Wendy

Sharman's pug, Kirby, was a star of the evening!

Who's a good boy?!?!

Someone is smitten!

Gorgeous Italian digital prints decorate Britex's window

Artistry in Fashion 2016

me, Sharman, and Ronda Chaney, who is wearing a self-made Kathryn Brenne jacket
Photo credit: one of Ronda's former students

Sharman Spector, owner of Britex, had a busy weekend! Her big event, PROJKT Maiden Lane was Friday night, and she was the featured guest at Artistry in Fashion on Saturday.

I love this annual event! Ronda Chaney, chair of the Fashion Department, asked me to help out with Sharman's talk, which was formatted as an informal Q & A.

Photo credit: Lynn C

Photo credit: Lynn C

Photo credit: Wendy

Photo credit: Wendy

I had left my regular glasses in the car, so I had to wear my prescription sunglasses!
Photo credit: Wendy

Photo credit: Wendy

Photo credit: Wendy

Other than the featured guest, one of my favorite things about AIF is seeing my tribe! You might recognize some of these talented folk!

Dorothy and Ann, each wearing self made

Patty and Mary, two talented sisters! Both are wearing self made outfits and Mary also made her purse from canvas that she painted. Mary Boalt is also one of my favorite people to follow on Pinterest!

A closeup of Mary's self-painted, self-made, purse!

Chris Groom and Mary Lou Lange, each wearing self made. Chris gave me a piece of that gorgeous ikat last year and I am busy thinking on how to use it!

Lovely Heather is wearing a self made "ball" necklace. She purchased that beautiful vest some years ago from Ruti. She came upon me buying my first purchase of the day in that very booth.

Artistry in Fashion raises funds for scholarships for deserving fashion students. Much of the student work is on display.

A beautiful felted vest made by one of the students

A hallway of student work

Have you heard of the book #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) by Angela Lan? Angela is fourteen years old and she's published a book on sewing and designing clothes for 12- to 16-year-olds. She learned to sew at the age of 11 and wasn't happy with existing books which focused on making pillowcases and other non-garment projects. She wanted to make clothes that she could wear, so she wrote a book, with included patterns. She is a very impressive young lady and she had a table at AIF, selling her books. Keep an eye on this one, as she might go very far.

And, of course, the main event at AIF is the shopping! There are lots and lots of vendors! I didn't take that many photos of the shopping because, well, I was busy. But here are a few that I took towards the end.

My friend Sarah was selling her beautiful ball necklaces!

One of the many jewelry vendors

One of the many clothing vendors

And, of course, you may have noticed one of my purchases!
Can you see what it is?!?!?!
Can you?!
It's made from eyeglass lenses!!! Most of them have been etched.
I love it!


I visited Seattle again last week and work is heating up. I have only a few weeks before Munich and Paris and I won't be doing a whole lot more sewing before then. (Though I do have one more almost-finished project that I hope to finish tomorrow.) The fall colors in Seattle were wonderful!

I learned that these are Horse Chestnuts, or Conkers, if you're British. I've never seen these in San Francisco! (They are evidently poisonous.)

Such beautiful berries!

I think it's kinda weird that Seattle has a statue of Lenin

I can't help it. I love a wing shot!

I hope you have a great week! Join me on Patti's Visible Monday!, Shoe and Tell Fashion, Defined Style, and Style Sweet Spot.