Category Archives: Coats

Style Arc Marni Ponti Jacket: A winner

Quick construction process, forgiving fabric to sew with, great design details—what’s not to love about Style Arc’s Marni Ponti Jacket! Have you tried making your own version yet?

Style Arc Marni Jacket pattern

I am a sucker for peplums because I think they cover a multitude of sins, PLUS they are pretty and feminine. They were still all over the runway in this spring’s fashion shows, as well as still appearing in some of the Big Four pattern designs. A little flouncy in the back, two topstitched pleats in the front, and you have a jazzy little peplum most would love wearing. The 3/4 sleeves on this light jacket are my “sleeve length de rigueur”.  (Pretty much as soon as I became a mother I dumped long sleeves for 3/4 length; it really reduced the number of garments coated with spaghetti sauce, amiright?) Details, ladies, it is all in the details, and I love pretty much all of them on this jacket.

Style Arc Marni Jacket made by Sew Maris

I made my Marni from a fairly lightweight inky navy ponte in my stash. In retrospect I wish it had a touch more body, but I will wear it for a while and see how I like it. Although it is called a jacket, in a lighter weight fabric it is almost a cardigan. Oh, and the only fitting adjustment I made was to petite the upper body by 3/8 of an inch. Easy peasy.

Style Arc Marni Jacket made by Sew Maris

The back is very simple, tho I do love the cuff turnback. Just right for showing off some of my silver bracelets!

Style Arc Marni Jacket (button closeup) made by Sew Maris

The pattern specified a large hook and eye closure, and as you can see in the pattern cover, it is styled with a belt. Well, I know me, and while a belt probably WOULD look great on this jacket, a single good-looking button simplifies both dressing and wearing. I really hate adjusting and fiddling with clothes on my body; I prefer the “throw on and go” approach. Besides, this button is PURRR-fect. No buttonhole, just a single button for another finishing detail, and a hook and eye closure underneath.

Style Arc Marni Jacket made by Sew Maris

Now let’s take a peek inside. You can see I stitched the entire jacket on my sewing machine—no serging. It just felt like too much thread for the design + fabric. I am pretty sure my stitch width was set to 1.0 and length to 3.0 (or maybe 3.5). The topstitching on the front princess seam + peplum pleat holds those seam allowances where they belong, and I did a blind catch stitch on the hem and all the way up the front facing to hold those edges in place. Remember, soft knits want to slide around, so I am much happier now with the roll of the shawl collar all the way down the front of the jacket. It just took a little fabric-bossing to get everyone in line. Oh, and a little seam binding up top to stay the shoulders, and that’s about it, folks. This is a case where Style Arc DOES = EASY.

Just a little teaser….there IS more on the way for this ensemble. If I could only get a little more time under the sewing machine!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

The construction lowdown on Style Arc’s Romy Anorak

I loved the Romy Anorak as soon as I saw it on the Style Arc site. Big dramatic collar, practical raglan sleeves for comfort, long enough to actually keep dry in a rainstorm, what’s not to love? The casual vibe totally suits my lifestyle and the Pacific Northwest, and with our rainy climate it is not possible to have too many jackets. Not.Possible.I.Tell You.

So of course I ordered it, and started dreaming about my fabric options. Despite the practicality of black or grey in my wardrobe – bleah. We need some color in the grey NW. Blue, teal or purple were on my mind. Sandwashed silk was my preferred fabrication. I even bought some. And some apple green lining.

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But the periwinkle silk refused to become Romy. Instead, it demanded to become Georgia. OK, OK. Georgia you will be. But that is for another post.

Instead, the purple Silkara I bought from Seattle Fabrics maybe 10 years ago started screaming from it’s storage drawer to become Romy. It was one of my original color choices, and had the added advantage of a DWR finish. Bonus points in Seattle. I cut out the pattern pieces, and the jacket. I decided against lining, so I also added 1/4 inch to every vertical seam allowance so I could flat-fell all the seams.

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I assembled the entire jacket shell first, including sleeves, flat-felling each seam. Since my fabric did not press well, I had to stitch the 5/8” SA, trim one side, then press the remaining full seam allowance for the felling/topstitching step, and immediately run to the sewing machine to stitch it down before I lost the press mark. Time consuming, but totally worth it. No ravel-y threads inside for me! Of course the only down side is the extra time required for double-stitching every seam, but a small price to pay for a clean finish.

I didn’t bother with the pocket construction at this point, tho the instruction sheet did specify constructing these before assembling the jacket. Whatever. I usually just give a casual nod to the Style Arc instructions. As usual, I found that all of the Romy pattern pieces fit together beautifully. Love their notch clipping/marking system, and the <for the most part> superb drafting. Still all smiles about my project.

Next up was attaching the collar. I stitched the outer collar to the inner collar along the top edge, leaving the neck edge and the 2 short ends open. I decided to try the “burrito” method of attaching the body of the jacket to the collar. Right sides together, I pinned the outer collar to the jacket, and then rolled up the jacket as tightly as possible and wrapped the inner collar around the jacket and was able to pin it to the neckline edge (1/4″ SA!!). It was a tight fit to roll the entire jacket inside the 2 collar sections, but I was going for a clean finish using machine stitching as much as possible. If you are not familiar with the burrito construction process, read this burrito pillowcase tutorial and think of the collar as the pillowcase cuff, and the jacket as the pillowcase body. Still all smiles.

Front plackets, zipper, and facings were next on the docket. I stitched both short ends of both plackets. I looked at the technical drawing and saw that the zipper teeth were aligned close to the front placket seam, so I basted the zipper to the left jacket front. Then I placed one of the front plackets on the left jacket front edge on top of the zipper, and this is when  I realized I should not have stitched the inner collar all the way to the jacket front edge. So ripped a few inches back on the inner collar. I continued assembling the jacket front/zipper/placket/facing sandwich, and turned the inner collar and hem allowance over to the front. Time to stitch. Ruh roh. A couple of things were not assembled in the proper order, so ripping and re-stitching ensued. Still sort of smiling.

Oops. Still some hems and other things were not quite right, so more ripping and stitching. Maybe a little swearing and mild snarling happened. Turns out the third time was the charm. Left front placket in place correctly and all edges finished off cleanly. Happiness. Of course since I had learned a few things on the left front placket, the right front placket and zipper went in correctly the first time. Big smiles again.

Until I zipped up the jacket. MAJOR swearing. HUGE snarling. With both sides of the zipper set into the front placket seam allowance the right front placket was almost completely on top of the left front JACKET instead of directly on top of the left placket. I went back to the placket pattern piece, and noticed that center front was marked on the FOLD line of the placket piece. WAH-aatt the what? The two folds are supposed to butt together? Seems like an obvious pattern marking error to me – where would the zipper end up? SHEESH almighty!

I went back to the technical drawing. It still looked like the zipper was set into the seam allowance to me. The H with it. I ripped off the right placket and moved the zipper tape as far out of the seam allowance as I could and still catch it in the stitching. Right side done. I ripped the left placket off again (yes, third time ripping!), and zipped the left side of the zipper to the right side. I aligned the plackets so the right placket completely covered the left placket, and marked where the edge of the zipper tape should be to keep my best-i-can-do-in-the-situation alignment happy. I stitched the left placket back together without the zipper in the seam, and topstitched the left side of the zipper to the left placket. Aren’t I totally au courant with half an exposed zipper tape? It was either that or burn the damn jacket. 😉

Full Monty of the zipper exposure:

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Normal zipper look when the plackets are not pinned back:

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The pockets, belt and belt loops were easy peasy – just lots of double stitching. I pressed and stitched the pleats into the outer pockets, and then cut out a lining piece of grey silk organza so the inside of the pockets didn’t ravel either. Stitched in the pleats in the bottom, and hemmed the bottom and the sleeves. Not sure how many hours later I had a jacket I love. The color, shaping, and detail is perfect for me. I need to attach some snaps or velcro at the collar and on the pockets, but that is all. Except for the front placket issue it was a dream to sew. I especially love the shape of the jacket on the body – it manages to avoid the dreaded teddy-bear-tied-in-the-middle look. Yay! Maybe I will even make a matching rain hat!

A closeup of some pocket topstitching loveliness:

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And isn’t that inside view purty?

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Yep, the plackets kicked my butt, but I am still super happy I made Romy. See how happy I look?

If you decide to make a Romy for yourself, below is my cheater suggestion of how to assemble the plackets. These instructions assume you have stitched both short ends of both plackets. I think the correct solution is to re-draft the front plackets so the zipper insertion in the seam allowance keeps the plackets/actual center front aligned, but if you don’t want to do that this technique will get a reasonable result.

Right side placket:

  1. Place the RS of the placket on the RS of the right jacket front.
  2. Place the RS of the right zipper on top of the placket, aligning it so the zipper tape will be caught in the stitching – but just barely.
  3. Fold the inner collar over the placket, and turn up the inner collar hem allowance at the neck edge.
  4. Fold the bottom hem allowance over the placket, turning the hem “turndown” under.
  5. Place the facing on top of everything, and stitch, backstitching at both ends.

Left side placket:

  1. Place the RS of the placket on the RS of the right jacket front.
  2. Fold the inner collar over the placket, and turn up the inner collar hem allowance at the neck edge.
  3. Fold the bottom hem allowance over the placket, turning the hem “turndown” under.
  4. Place the facing on top of everything, and stitch, backstitching at both ends.
  5. Zip the zipper together, and mark where the zipper tape should be positioned to enable the right placket to lay completely over the left placket.
  6. Stitch the zipper down to the left placket only, using 2 long rows of stitching to secure the tape.

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

 

Style Arc Romy Anorak

You would not know it too look at my shimmery purple beauty named Romy, but she totally kicked my butt! I tried to give up swearing for Lent, but this project broke down all resolve. A sailor would have blushed!

Look at Style Arc’s Romy. She doesn’t look that difficult, now does she? A few seams, a front placket, a collar, and a couple of bellows pockets. Easy-peasy.

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Welllll, things are not always as they appear. First off, I was using Seattle Fabric’s Silkara, which is a beautiful, iridescent, highly water-resistant nylon/poly fabric. Perfect for raincoats in rainy Seattle. It also does not press worth a damn. Which is kind of significant when you are constructing an unlined jacket using flat-felled seaming and the fabric ravels if you look at it sideways. I worked on this coat at my ASG sewing retreat, and the actual assembly of the jacket pieces (center front, side front, back and sleeves) was not hard. Just took a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time because of aforementioned pressing/double stitching on every seam.

AnorakFront

Hmmm, but that front placket. Put one side in 4 &%^@#^%$ times before it was “right”,and the other side twice. Where were you when I needed you, peeps? I could have used some expert counsel because as we all know, Style Arc does not overdo in the instruction department. Thank goodness my sewing sister Helen kept me sane, because I was seriously considering murder more than once.

ThoughtfulAnorak

Despite all my rage and hysteria during the process, I LOVE the completed jacket. Yes, I will be emailing Style Arc with a few “suggestions” on how to improve the placket pattern pieces and the instructions. I may even write up a little tute on how others might go about constructing it with less ripping and cursing. Beg me, it will definitely help.

AnorakBack

Happy sewing!

Maris

A definite home run for Sewn Square One patterns

Sewn Square One Swing Shift pattern

I am a big fan of Sewn Square One patterns. Not only are they fresh, hip, and ultra modern – they are WELL DRAFTED! There is (almost) nothing I hate more than paying good money for a sloppy pattern. I expect those notches to line up, all the pieces to fit together accurately, and good grading between sizes. You get all that, and more, from Sew Square One. Good design and well-written instructions, too!

The first Sewn Square One pattern I worked with was the Go Anywhere Dress. One of my students made it up in a grey chambray and it was darling. When I saw the Swing Shift pattern, I could instantly envision it on my eldest DD (she even looks a bit like Elizabeth, the Swing Shift designer!)

Amazing as it may seem, I did not have two coordinating cotton prints in my stash, so this project required a trip to the fabric store.  I love this Marimekko-esque print by Brooklyn designer Lotta Jansdotter for Windham fabrics, and the coordinating uneven check was perfect for the collar and pocket details. Look at this cute little spring jacket! IMHO, the fabrics, design, and mis-matched buttons all combine to give this garment a really fun, arty look that I think DD will really like.

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I love the asymmetrical collar shape – this feature alone could have sold me on the design – I am a sucker for asymmetry.

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More of the check (and buttons!) on the pocket flaps.

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The back has a cute little vent and is a perfect spot to add a couple more buttons – just for show.

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There is also an optional pleat detail on the sleeves, so you know I couldn’t pass up the chance to add more buttons. 😉

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This pattern is a keeper, and I plan on making it again. Maybe even for myself!!

 

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

Make a trendy fur vest

I hardly ever get “the” current fashion trend actually made at its height of hipness, so I am pretty jazzed that I actually ordered some beautiful Tissavel fake fur from emmaonesock.com, bought a pattern designed for fur, AND actually constructed the vest all in the same season. Shocking!!

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Other than applying the fur trim to Anna’s purple fleece coat, sewing an entire fake fur garment was a new experience for me.  I did a little research on recommended techniques, and basically followed Donna Salyer’s advice.  In short, cut the fur from the back side,  use 1/4 inch seams, zig-zag all seams, line with Bemberg or similar lining fabric, vacuum as you go, etc.  The pattern I chose was Kwik Sew 3731, since I wanted very simple design lines so the fur itself would be the focus. I may even be able to squeeze the hat out of the scraps if I do a little piecing!

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I traced my size onto tissue, and converted the back from an “on the fold” to a full size pattern piece. I did not trace off a left and right front, but I did remember to flip the pattern after chalking around the first front! 😉 I chalked around the pattern pieces onto the backing – but you could probably also just pin and snip around the pattern piece. The placement of each pattern piece on the fur was challenging. My fur has pelt lines and wavy white striped running thru it. I tried to make the layout as symmetrical as possible, but because the white “stripey” lines were irregular I had a really hard time. Maybe a more experienced furrier would have made a different layout choice, but I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. The only pattern alteration I made was to lengthen the vest by 1.5 inches, which you can see on the tracing of the vest back.

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Pinning and sewing the seams was WAY easier than I thought it would be. Maybe because I was using such expensive fur? I don’t know, but my normal pins went thru the fabric easily, and I just used my normal zig-zag foot rather than a roller foot or a walking foot. I did not have any issues with the fabric slipping as I sewed. I did not try to smooth the fur away from the seam until I had the fabric under the presser foot, because unless you pin it every 1/2 inch the fur would not stay in place anyway. For me, it was just easier to use my point turner and keep smoothing the fur as I stitched.

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Here’s a close-up of how I stitched – you can see I am bagging the lining and using a zig-zag stitch – I think the width was about 3.5 and the length 2.5.

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Donna Salyer does not recommend using interfacing, but suggested that staying seams might be necessary. I chose not to do this, because my fabric backing was really quite firm and it just seemed unnecessary to me on a simple vest. After I finished the machine stitching and turned the vest, I did need to pull some fibers out of the seam allowance. Again, not nearly as much seam cleanup work to do as I had thought might be required.  All in all, this was an easy, quick project, and I have already had fun wearing it!

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Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Pattern Review Day – Seattle 2011

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Yes, I know I am late getting this post up. Sorry! But in case you missed the announcement, Pattern Review celebrated 10 years this month, and several cities around the country hosted a PR Day get-together on November 19th. We were lucky enough to have someone step forward to organize one for Seattle – thanks for all your hard work, Jacqui (pretty lady standing in the pix above)!

It was pretty much an all-day event, tho I was only able to hang out with my fellow sewing nerd friends in the morning. We started at Nancy’s Sewing Basket at the top of Queen Anne hill in Seattle.  We were entertained and informed by two lovely young designers, Gina and Elizabeth, from SEWN Square One. In case you have not seen these patterns yet, you are definitely missing something. This new line is a division of Lorraine Torrence, and these patterns are very well-drafted, are fresh, modern designs, and have excellent instructions to boot. One of my students made the Go Anywhere Dress, which was designed by Gina. Adorable. Could successfully be made up in a wide variety of fabrics and be suitable for a range of occasions. Of course, I had to purchase a couple of patterns on the spot – the Swing Shift which was designed by Elizabeth, and the Upline Jacket. I am going to make the Upline Jacket in an “ikat style” print denim I have in my stash, and I am not quite sure about the Swing Shift yet. I do have to say tho,  it is so refreshing to see such hip, trendy YOUNG people interested in the art of sewing. These bright young designers definitely have their game on.

Below you can see Elizabeth is holding several of the SEWN patterns, and Gina is on the far right…almost out of the shot. Ooops. Cute, eh? 😉

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Here Gina is holding some of the sample garments while Elizabeth is describing the design features.

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After learning more about SEWN Square One, I headed to lunch with a pal from ASG, and then sadly had to head home. The rest of the gang went on to Seattle Fabrics and Pacific Fabrics in Northgate. It was definitely a fun day, and I hope to attend more PR events in the future.  If you are not a PR member, join us!

 

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Vogue 8539 – done

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Finally, the double torture is over. I finished the sleeve hems and added two more rows of topstitching to the bottom hem, and decided to call this one good. I DO think it is cute, and it was warm and cozy last night when I wore it to my Bellevue neighborhood group ASG meeting.  And let’s just say I am glad it is out of my sewing room. Really glad. I will definitely think twice before buying double-cloth that needs to be separated again!

And now on to the next adventure —twin sets! I seem to have (ahem) collected a bit of sweater knit fabric. And to think I was considering buying some at Pacific Fabrics the other day! No doubt there is a purchase in my future, but first I am going to make up a few shells and cardigans using the Loes Hinse twin set pattern. I am in the mood for something simple and fun, and this exactly fits the bill.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

Love the coat, no love for double cloth

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Thank goodness. All done except hemming the sleeves. All I can say is it is a good thing I love the coat, because I truly hated working with this fabric. Seriously hated it. Enough to consider pitching it a couple of times during construction. Separating the fleece from the nylon was no darn fun at all. My DH was able to rip it apart pretty easily, but I just don’t have the hand strength for that. And there was just too much bulk to retain the fleece in the front facings and hem edges — it had to go.  I used a razor blade to help set the fold line, and ripped the balance after my DH got it started. See how weird the naked front facing looks? Gotta love that perfectly straight edge, huh?

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Did I mention how easy it is to cut thru the nylon when using a razor blade? Umm, yeah.

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I tried mending the holes (yes, holes — I definitely made more than 1!) with fusible interfacing and fusible stay tape. No love from either of these products. Luckily, the 007 Bonding Agent did the trick. It is one big pain to apply neatly, but I repaired my damage and didn’t make it look worse. Always a plus.

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For the hem edge, I cut off the bulk of the fleece I wanted to remove with my curved blade Kai scissors, and then scraped a little more off with the razor blade.  Not a bad result, but definitely tedious.At least I managed to not add any more holes.

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Sooo glad this project is almost done. I think if it ages in the closet for a while I will enjoy wearing it…hopefully!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

Double trouble

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I am not sure what I got myself into. <More than> a year ago I bought some fabric at SewExpo because I thought it was super cool, AND because I thought it would make such a distinctive coat for our rainy PNW days. The fabric is double cloth – one side is a slightly heathered, black sherpa fleece, and the other side is a water repellent <probably> nylon.  

Have you ever sewn with double cloth? I thought it would be really easy to whip up a coat with simple design lines, but evidently I know how to make any project more complicated.  The pattern is simple enough — Vogue 8539 —and I am making View A so no buttonholes or hood.  Simple, right?

Vogue 8539

Let me just say this is my first double cloth experience. One way to work with this kind of fabric (and my choice for the garment)  is to create a lapped seam so there are no exposed seam allowances. The theory is that you stitch a seam wrong sides together, trim one seam allowance very close, and then pull the fleece away from the nylon on the other SA and wrap it around the trimmed seam and topstitch it down.  Sounds simple, right? Basically a felled seam. Except…..the glue used to adhere these 2 fabrics is FREAKIN’ strong. And I have arthritis in my right hand! So after for about 1 minute of pulling my hand was killing me and the 2 fabrics hadn’t budged an inch. Enter the scissor solution. I decided to trim the fleece very close with small, sharp scissors instead of pulling apart. Almost as good. Problem solved. Then I started to topstitch the lapped seam. Problem number two surfaced. I had lengthened my stitch to almost 5mm, and the stitches were uniform and consistent on the inital seam join. At this point the wrong sides (fleece) were together, and the presser foot and feed dogs were both against the nylon side of the fabric. But when I was topstitching the wrapped seam allowance, the fleece was against the feed dogs and the presser foot was against the nylon. Ruh roh. Those stitches were no longer as consistent….ugh. I ripped. I tried pulling from the back as I stitched. Maybe I should have tried a walking foot? All I can say is, this garment is not going to be an example of my best stitching. I am hoping no one driving down Aurora at 60 miles an hour will notice the wonkiness. Oh, and please notice I thought 2 rows of topstitching would be better than one. 🙂 

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Here is the coat so far – shoulder seams stitched, back darts done, and sleeves attached. Next up are side seam pockets and then the collar. I plan on making the collar fleece side out so it feels warm and soft against my neck. And I am going to have a AWESOME time cutting all that fleece off the front facing turnback. Why did I think this was going to be a fun project? Oye!!

Black double cloth raincoat

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

How many coats does a girl need?

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I think I mentioned yesterday I am itching to make coats this fall, and Vogue 1137 is another one that has tickled my fancy. Really, in rainy, windy Seattle do I need TWO coats that do not button and are  designed to be made out of something other than wool melton? LOL, the practicle answer is “of course not”, but I am still very attracted to this design at the moment. I could actually see making both of these garments and continuing my JackiO obsession at the same time. The coat is reversible, so maybe one side in a lightweight wool, and the other in silk taffeta? (Right, because I need TWO new silk dresses in one season!)  Maybe I could make the dress and one side of the coat out of lightweight solid wool, and another side of black and white houndstooth wool plaid. So very au courant! And I could at least pretend it had some practicle value if it was all wool.

Between teaching sewing lessons the next few days, and a fun class tomorrow night learning to make (better) fascinators, I am likely to not get much sewing done for myself this week. And next week I am taking a 3-day “masters” sewing class. Finally, I will get to be a master at something! 

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen