Category Archives: Copying RTW

Retro Jacket

Once upon a time my dad had a corduroy jacket.  He bought it when he was stationed in Germany in 1967.  It was a dark navy blue, with a mandarin collar, and while  not too fitted, it was slim fitting.  It had front pockets at hips level and it was lined.  At one time, my mom appropriated it from him.  Then I wore it all the time in high school and then my sister wore it too.  It was worn to shreds. 

I loved that jacket.  I would like to recreate it.  The last year and a half, I have looked off and on for a pattern that fit the style details of this jacket but have been fruitless in my searches. First I looked at images on Google images to find something that looked similar.  Never found it.  Then I looked at men’s patterns in all the usual places, the big pattern companies, Simplicity, and New Look.  Couldn’t find anything that worked.  I even called upon the esteemed Peter.  I thought, “Surely he must have a pattern that fits the bill in his stash.”  Actually, it is Peter’s most recent project, the cranberry corduroy suit, that reminded me of my dad’s jacket.  Although Peter had some good ideas how to work around a regular blazer pattern, he did not have a pattern with that mandarin collar I so craved.

And then I remembered Kwik Sew.  The Kwik Sew of the famed Xmas pj’s I made last year.  So I took a gander at both their men’s and women’s jackets.  And lo and behold, there it was.  THE. PATTERN.

Enter Kwik Sew 3438 my friends.  It’s not fitted, yet is still slim fitting.  It’s simple, has the mandarin collar.  My father’s jacket didn’t have rounded jacket corners, but that’s an easy fix.  The pockets had flaps and I think were on the interior, not patch, but again, a simple enough change.  Obviously, I won’t be binding the edges, but I think this may be it!!!

It really closely resembles the jacket in my memory.  Right, Mom???

Question of the day: Do any of you have clothing from your past that you miss and want to recreate some day?  This is one of those projects for me.  Tell me about yours!


The eagle has landed!

Or, how I won the Battle of the Chiffon!

Well, last night I fixed an eye on my Singer 5160 and was determined to finish this scarf.  I took some more of the advice I was given on Pattern Review and cleaned out the bobbin area of my machine.  I opened the plate and, lo and behold, there were all these dust bunnies in there!  I used the handy dandy brush that came with my Singer and dusted away.  I even used a stiff piece of fabric to clean out the bobbin tension discs.  After screwing the plate back on, I took my Singer on a test drive with some chiffon scraps…

And voila!  It worked.  No more loose stitches on the bottom and no more chewing of my precious chiffon.  I couldn’t believe it.  No more hand sewing for me! 

I quickly sewed on the remaining scraps, frayed them and the scarf was done!  Here is my rendition of Victoria’s beautiful RTW scarf…

Anne's Scarf

Anne's Scarf

Scarf, end detail

Scarf, end detail

Closed up of scarf w/ frayed scraps

Closed up of scarf w/ frayed scraps


Next up in the queue is NOT going to be the spring/summer scarf, but an easter basket for Jack like this one that Liesl of Disdressed made…  I am going to use the cute planets and rockets fabric I bought from Purl recently.

Happy chiffon sewing everyone!

“The project that would not end,” or “How I hate chiffon”

UGH.  That’s all I have to say. UGH.

Instead of delusions of grandeur, I have delusions of sewing.  How on earth did I think that I could hand sew 25 chiffon scraps to a chiffon scarf in one evening?  Do they sell reality pills at all?  Because I need a prescription.  Bad!

I honestly don’t mind hand sewing.  It is relaxing, as some others in the sewing blogosphere have mentioned.  However, I do mind how frakking long it takes.  OMG!  I think I only sewed about 4 or five of those scraps on in three hours and halfway through that miniscule am0unt I had to start using an embroidery loop for greater control. 

I don’t mean for this blog to be a constant negative rant, but my learning curve is really frustrating me.  The funny thing is though, that I am not feeling frustrated as I do the different steps.  It’s afterwards when I’m thinking about how the project’s going or blogging about it.  I am quite methodical and dare I say, patient (?!) when actually in the thick of things.  I am well known to friends and family to be lacking in the virtue of patience, so it is quite ironic to say I am patient when sewing. 

How I wish I could use my sewing machine for this project.  :sigh: 

Well, let me leave you with a few shots of my in process hand sewing and a pic of the original inspiration piece, Victoria’s scarf.

fabric scrap with hand stitching

fabric scrap with hand stitching

Scarf with some scraps hand sewn

Scarf with some scraps hand sewn

The gorgeous original scarf

The gorgeous original scarf

My scarf is shorter in length and skinnier.  The fabric scraps on my scarf are wider, more widely placed and more wavy than the original scarf.  And I haven’t frayed the scraps yet. Not sure if I like my version as much as the RTW scarf.  I’ll have to think on this…

Hand sewing anyone?

This past weekend I had two small, not so ambitious goals:

  1. Continue working on my spring/summer top sew along by buying the necessary notions and start sewing up the muslin that I had already cut out,
  2. Sew up a birthday gift for Jack’s nanny in a quick, easy/breezy sewing session.

Number 2 just makes me laugh and laugh now.  Copying my friend Victoria’s scarf has just about done in this sewing beginner.  Let me tell you, chiffon and I, we are SOOOO not best friends.  I tried sample after sample of my fabric trying to serge a rolled hem.  It was very unevenly covered and the needle didn’t always catch the fabric, so there were areas that weren’t finished for about an inch at a time.  I posted questions on Pattern Review in the Beginner’s Forum.   One person suggested I use Sulky water soluble stabilizer and another suggested that I needed more foot pressure.  I didn’t have Sulky, so I tried tracing paper, but the edge was a little stiff.  Then I got the idea to try kleenex.  I had two types on hand, one that was more papery in texture and another that was really soft and felt like.  After trying both of them, I liked the softer one better.  The rolled hem was much more pliable and similar to the chiffon in drape.  Who knew there were more uses for kleenex other than blowing your nose!?  Here’s a pic of the fabric running through the serger with kleenex underneath…rolled-hem-w-tissue1
I practiced a few more times and then felt confident enough to try it on my scarf. 

Here’s the finished edge.  finished-rolled-hemThe coverage is fine, the hem is rolled and I have a scarf!  (please ignore the fact that I used the selvedge; I thought it was edgier that way, seriously).  When you see the finished scarf, you’ll understand why I made that design choice.  At least, I hope you do.  hmmm… 

So the rolled hem was completed at 11pm last night after 2.5 hours of attempts, and that’s not even including the time spent on it on Saturday night!!!  Then I switched to the sewing machine to attach the fabric scraps and thought I could be finished with the scarf by midnight the latest, no problem.  MWAHAHAHAHAHAH! 

Of course that didn’t happen.  I gave up at 12:30am with only 1.5 of the 25 scraps sewn on.  My sewing machine (Singer 5160) just does not like chiffon.  I guess great minds think alike.  I fiddled with the tension.  I rethreaded a million times.  I tried first kleenex and then tracing paper underneath.  All to no avail.  I don’t have any pictures of this stage as I was not thinking about taking pictures, but rather about just getting the stupid little chiffon scraps on the stupid little chiffon scarf.  The experts at Pattern Review suggested stabilizer again, a single hole throat plate, or a walking foot.  I don’t have a walking foot or a single hole throat plate.  So, what to do?   Thinking…  Thinking… 

How about I don’t use the sewing machine at all?  How about I just hand sew the scraps to the scarf?  :chorus of angels singing:  So guess what I am going to be doing tonight while watching Heros and 24? 

Happy hand sewing everyone!


So my coworker Victoria has the most amazing wardrobe and looks stunning every day.  She also knits and used to sew.  Oh and she’s pretty cool too.  Well this week she came traipsing in with the most amazing scarf.  Now I’m not talking of a winter scarf here, but more of an accessory kind of scarf.  You know, like the kind French women wear so wonderfully and oh so casually.  Maybe Victoria is French and she hasn’t told me yet.  Hmmm… 

Anyway, back to the scarf.    Darn!  I should have taken a picture of it; my written description of it will surely pale in comparison to the beautiful thing that it is in real life.  It’s a chiffon print with a rolled edge hem all around.  Now to the “beautifulest” part:  it has wavy strips of the same fabric sewn with a single line of stitching all down the width of the scarf (meaning perpendicular to the length).  The edges of the strips are left unfinished to fringe as they will.  It’s such an ephemeral look.  I have been plotting to steal it thinking about copying it for myself the past few days.  I have some chiffon in the stash that would be lovely as a scarf.

chiffon-and-silk2Either the one on the left or right will do, but I’m thinking I’ll probably use the one on the left. 

AND, I have another emergency gift to give this weekend.  So guess who’s gonna get this scarf now.  NOT ME, but Jack’s nanny.  People who know me, know that birthdays tend to sneak up on me even when I know when they are.  Anne’s birthday is this Saturday, and I know she likes to dress up for church and she likes handmade things, so what would be the perfect gift?  But this beautiful beautiful handmade scarf of course.  I will have to make one for me someday too.  

So this little scarf project is going to interrupt my Hot Patterns Spring top for tonight.  But I am stopping by my local fabric/notions store on my way home to buy the supplies I need to finish up the muslin this weekend.   Hopefully, I will read the directions again and this time they will magically make sense to me.

Happy weekend sewing!