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Is it hot enough for ya?

It's too hot* to knit, so I've been playing with my new sewing machine. What better thing to make when learning how to sew? Skinny Rabbit says: Pajamas for everyone!

Pajama bottoms for the boy:

"The Dash likes."
(That's what he was saying while running in place.)
[What's that? Another VIEW?]

This is my very first sewing project on my grown-up sewing machine. I used Simplicity pattern 6931, and picked a crinkly lightweight cotton in an irregular motif with threads shot through it because I had no idea that bad boy crinkly fabric would give me a heck of time at pinning the pattern down and cutting out the pieces without breaking up the motif. The observant may notice that YES: My anal-retentive perfectionist self cut and sewed up the pattern pieces in such a way so that the motif would remain uninterrupted at all the seams. [Thank you, Manual Pratique de la Couture, my sewing book reference.] I'm really proud of these pajama bottoms because they came out pretty darn good despite the one boneheaded moment in the beginning where I accidentally sewed the pants leg together so that the seam was outside instead of inside. And doesn't my boy look all comfy in his little homemade-to-fit pajama bottoms? We think so, too.

Summer pajamas for the man:

[Click here to see the whole outfit and some sewing views!]
Fresh out of bed on a Sunday morning.
(So they're a little rumpled.)

I sewed these pajamas using Simplicity pattern 9900 and a lightweight cotton/elasthene blend. I'm really happy with them because I learned how to sew in facings and sleeves smoothly, and finish off curved narrow hems neatly without having any boneheaded moments. When my husband put them on (he wore them right after I finished them) he said, "These are really well-made." [Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!] Most welcome praise, especially after all that pressing of seams, hems and facings. [Note: Patterns should come with a disclaimer that reads, "Thou shalt have an iron and use it often while sewing this pattern. Kick on the air conditioning or pray for rain if temps are more than 90 degrees outside."]

And that's not all! I've been getting snail mail treats from my online buds. In honor of my new sewing hobby, Mrs. Pilkington sent me some vintage sewing patterns (with the added bonus of my favorite chocolates!) for some cute pillow toys and travel games, Maud in Finland sent an assortment of dried Mexican peppers, dried pozole and pepitas that will be put to very good culinary use, sweet Patti sent me a load of retro candy and some fab American magazines, and multi-talented Nikki (a friend of mine since since 1998 who has actually seen the first webpage I ever had...aahhhh!) sent me - get ready for this - the most adorable crocheted RABBIT, a crocheted scarf in Debbie Bliss baby alpaca and a cd jam-packed with tunes from the eighties. And for his first outing, we took Monsieur Rabbit, a.k.a. Pierre, to the open market in La Croix Rousse to pick up some treats. Which means, of course, that there's a SLIDESHOW for you! Click to see:


*It's also too hot to wear anything other than a bikini. So I put together a summer layout for my site! [Check it out and make it into my site's skin here. If you have a problem loading any elements of the new skin, make sure cookies are enabled, clear your cache, hit refresh or open my site in a new browser window.] As always, I have my longtime and talented friends to help me with this kind of stuff: I want to give a big thank you to my good friends Elise for all the retro chick images she sends me to use in my site designs and Nikki (one and the same) for previewing and cross-browser/platform checking. Who loves ya???

I'm back from vacation! And guess what?

....I had enough yarn to finish a Fiery Bolero! (The yarn gods must like me.)

This is the stand still like a mannequin shot.
[What's that? A wacky dancing while on vacation shot? Oh, alright.]
BONUS: I made the petite sundress, too. Oh, how CRAFTY!

Fiery Bolero details: Fiery Bolero from Interweave Knits Summer 2005. I used 5 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cathay for the size small, and barely had enough. I made no changes to the pattern other than adding a couple of extra rows to the body of the bolero for length, working three rows less on the ribbing of all edgings, and wrapping the stitches when working the short rows on the edging in order to avoid the "eyelets". [Footnote: Best instructions I've seen to date re wrapping stitches for short rows: Vogue Knitting's Ultimate Knitting Book.]

Petite sundress details: Simplicity pattern 4994, size 6-8 (I cut the pattern so that it would be between those sizes). I purchased the fabric at La Maison des Tissus and all notions at La Mercerie. Both are in La Croix Rousse, which is a walk from my home which makes me sooooooooo happy.

(Here's an action shot of the dress looking over the Loire Valley.)

And speaking of my vacation, I had a fabulous time. In summary: I traveled down the Loire River in a traditional boat called a futreau, strolled through fog in an international garden festival at Chaumont, watched July 14th fireworks from a terrace overlooking the river, visited where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last days, looked at over 300 portraits of illustres in a castle gallery, watched some jousting at a dungeon, got my hand kissed [!] by a stunt horseman wearing a knight costume, and then traveled up north outside of Paris for a surprise party for my dear friend Laetitia (with whom, incidentally, we stayed for a few days and had the best time ever). And when I wasn't doing all that, I was knitting, bay-bee! Mostly in the car or early in the morning while sunning myself on the terrace of the apartment. No sassy photos for you of the sunbathing but I do have, of course, a customary slideshow of the car knitting**. (You knew I would, right? I always do.) Click to see all the snapshots:

**Rules of my car knitting snapshots are as follows: All snapshots must be taken while knitting, or with knitting on one's lap, IN THE CAR. Further, the car must be in motion, temporarily stopped at a traffic light, intersection, in traffic or similar with engine always running. In no event may the car be parked, halted for more than 30 seconds or deliberately stopped for purposes of taking a photo. The seatbelt must remain on at all times, but the hand may be carefully stuck out of the window in order to obtain a good shot provided it doesn't cause any traffic accidents and even though it makes one look like a wacky camera-happy tourist.

P.S. Speaking of good friends, I had some WONDERFUL things waiting for me in my mailbox when I got back from my trip. My pal Bonne Marie sent me a surprise mega package filled with lovely gifts: some VERY haute yarn, a book of her prints taken in Paris, Last Minute Knitted Gifts, a slinky black long-sleeved shrug [!] (how she knew I wanted one, I'll never know) and some fab knitting mags. But that's not all: My pal Silvia has been doing some pattern shopping for me, BIG time. We're talking major pattern enabling...check out all the great sewing patterns she sent me! Woo hoo! What a welcome back, eh? I know I'm gonna sound mushy, but I don't care. I am so thankful for all the good friends I have, and for their sincere thoughtfulness and everything they do for me. They've all got star status around here. THANK YOU!

Look, Ma! I made a flouncy skirt!

Where's the garden party?
P.S. Captain Destructo took the shot. [Awww!]*

My latest sewing efforts have rendered a flouncy skirt using McCall's pattern M4875 and about three meters of flowery fabric purchased in La Croix Rousse. The pattern is classified as "easy" and the front envelope even proclaims "Suddenly You're Sewing!", and that is no lie, my friends. I put the skirt together over a couple of afternoons and suffered no boneheaded moments. I'm dying to put on a pair of sandals and a ballet tank so I can wear this skirt out, but I can't because the weather is being all fickle and cloudy. (Where's my summer, man?) I guess I have no choice but to dive into my wee stash of Fall fabric that I got a few weeks ago before La Maison des Tissus closed for the month of August.

summer2005_sewing_petitesundress2_finished_thumb.jpg I've also finished the petite sundress I had cut out and started sewing before I left on my trip to the Loire Valley, and I'm pleased with how the dress came out. However, I don't want to wear it out yet because I don't like how the back closure looks with the way the instructions called for it to be sewn in (with apparent stitching and a regular dress zipper), so I'm going to buy an invisible zipper and sew it in using a special zipper foot. That means I have to rip out this zipper, and do the whole entire zipper dance all over again without making a mess of it. Lucky me!

Speaking of stash, I've cleaned out enough of my stash during my MAJOR HOUSECLEANING to justify a couple of stash acquisitions for Fall projects. First up:


A nice little batch of Rowan All Season's Cotton in deep denim blue, traded with my friend Sarah W. (via Rowan supplier Kangaroo...thank you!) that wants me to make it into a cardigan to wear this Fall. Which cardigan? Oh, the suspense!

And because I am like to remain faithful to my local market, I bought the fixins' for yet another back-to-school jacket for yours truly:


One of my new rules of stash acquisition is that I won't dawdle anymore and that I will knit any and all new stash acquisitions in a somewhat timely manner. [Yeah, right!] In order to comply with that rule I will be taking these yarns with me to the country for an extended weekend starting this Saturday so I can get a headstart on my Fall projects. I feel my needles clicking already. Click, click, click!

*When Daddy's at work Mommy shall employ the photography services of four-soon-to-be-five-year-old Captain Destructo for taking mannequin shots. Of the five shots he took, this is the one shot that wasn't angled, blurry or chopped off. I would have included customary dancing shots, but i) there was no music, and ii) Captain Destructo wanted to get back to his morning cartoons. Whaddaya gonna do?

A Saturday post for all the cool people who visit my site on the weekends.

Remember the shirt I made in design school using fabric sent to me by my pal HEK Jenny? Well, I promised to show a photo of the finished shirt when I got a chance, so here you go:

This is the REAL pose-like-a-mannequin shot.
[Psst...wanna see a back view of the cuff with its ties?]
[What's that? Wanna see the back, too? Oh, ALRIGHT.]

In short: The pattern for this shirt was constructed by draping muslin on the dress form. The pattern was then drafted on paper using a graph ruler and a sloper. THEN I sewed it together. (I know that it may seem like sewing is a big part of my studies, but sewing is far from being the focus; it's just one of the many things we learn how to do so that we can bring our design creations to realization. Some people with whom I study don't enjoy the sewing bit at all, but for me it's a big bonus!)

[Footnote about the fabric: Dear Jenny sent to me as a gift and I must say that I received a lot of compliments on the fabric alone. It's SO snazzy. According to two of my fellow students - who happen to be exchange students from China - the fabric has a poem written on it in Chinese characters. In order to add interest, I deliberately cut half the shirt upside down, and matched up the pattern this way in the front and back. Oh, how fancy!]

And while we're on the subject of fashion school, we had our last open house at school a couple of weeks ago and I finally got a few of my projects back, which were still there "on loan" so that they could be displayed. I'm going to show a portion of one of my projects in fashion design so we can have some fun with it. The topic for this particular project was Uniforme, and we had to get *at least* one uniform - any uniform - and deconstruct it along with secondhand clothes (called fripes in French) in order to create a "whole new look". I got a fireman's jacket from a neighbor (who's a retired fireman), chef's trousers from the Bocuse restaurant and a bleu travail - which looks like a mechanic's overalls - from a friend. I also got a denim skirt from a secondhand clothes shop and a vintage lace slip that once belonged to a friend's great aunt. I ripped out the seams on a lot of these things (hours of work), and draped them on a dress form to create "new" garments, taking pictures of each one. We had to draw inspiration from a certain theme, and I chose "Route 66" as mine because the denim and mechanic's overalls reminded me of the old gas stations I used to see while driving on Route 66. Of all the "new" garments I created from these old clothes, I picked four of the most interesting looks that went with my theme and drew them onto my fashion figures.

This is a scan of a portion of one of my project pages.
Click here to zoom out on my drawings!
Footnote: Pantone markers, color pencils and artist ink pens on Canson paper.

Too add even more craziness, we had to include as accessories PANTYHOSE STOCKINGS that were donated to us by a [not to be named but big maker of pantyhose] company. Hence the wacky striped "armwarmers" on my fashion figures. Hee hee!

This is also a scan of a portion of one of my project pages.
Click here to zoom out on these drawings!

But that's not all. All of this is what I did in fashion design. For my pattern drafting course, I had to actually construct, sew and assemble the uniforms and old clothes together into ONE of the outfits shown on my fashion figures.

NOW it's time for a little fun. Of the four outfits shown on my fashion figures, which one do you think I chose to actually make?

P.S. And I will show pictures of it! :-)

Ahoooooy, Red Stripes!

Hey! Remember the GGH Bali I got last month? I bought it so I could knit it up into THIS:

"I know lots of good fun that is funny."

This, my friends, is the beginnings of the back piece of what Rebecca 29 calls the "Cropped Sweater". The original Cropped Sweater is worked in turquoise, ecru, brown and gold stripes, but MY version is worked in what I call Cat in the Hat Stripes, bay-bee! Just look at that. Every time I see it I think of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat. I could close the seam on that back piece, stick it on my head like a hat and hop up and down on a big ball of yarn (preferably, cashmere...or maybe alpaaaaaaaaaaaaca) while balancing a tray of margaritas and some of my stash...maybe the Rowan? Yeah...that's doable. "Look at me! Look at me now! With a pitcher of margaritas and thirty skeins of Rowan Calmer on the top of my hat!"

Just kidding. About making that into a hat, that is. And about bouncing around on the ball. But I wouldn't mind a pitcher of margaritas right about now.

thumb.jpg Dinner is a-calling and I've got some samples to work up for another school project, but before I go I'll let you in on the crazy outfit I assembled for my Uniforme project (described in this entry). It was a tough choice, but I ended up going with the outfit shown in my drawing to the right, because my teachers felt that the ruched sleeves (made from the upside-down chef's trousers) were a very interesting element. The denim "bustier" in that outfit was also a strong factor: It is actually the skirt turned around backwards with the waistband stitched onto the middle. (It's not shown on the mannequin to the right, but the finished bustier has an added denim jacket zipper as a front closure.) The skirt was made from the front piece of the bleu travail, assembled sideways with the collar at the back and the sleeves gathered to form a short layered train. I had to make this outfit so I could wear it (with funky stockings and some WILD theatrical Las Vegas-ish makeup for television news cameras [!]) during a student fashion show at a public event held in Lyon. (Footnote: I don't have the outfit at home so I can't show more photos of it; the school keeps it for a year so they can exhibit it and so we can wear it for another public event at the beginning of our second year.) And that is the end of my blabby Uniforme outfit post. Thanks for playing along :-)

Easy Peasy Let's Cut Corners Tunic. Woot!

Inspired by the talented Silvia and her fabulous tip top stripey top, I decided to pull out the sewing machine this weekend and whipped this together:

This is the REAL stand-like-a-mannequin* shot.

I wore this to school yesterday with some white capri pants.
(So it's a little wrinkled. Oops!)

*In the absence of photographer husband, I am the photographer and Gigi is my model.
Thank you, Gigi!

I used embroidered brown fabric from my very brown fabric stash. (Brown is my new black.)

thumb.jpg There is no pattern for this. I took my measurements, pulled out some draft paper and drew a basic construction. After all the pattern-drafting I do in school and because I was just too eager to put this together quickly I didn't feel like drafting a full-blown pattern using my construction. So! I cut out the pieces using only the construction, and added on seam allowances as I cut. There are only a few pieces so assembly was easy. I measured out the elastic for the neck and sleeves, sewed them into bands and then stretched them inside the neck and sleeve seams as I sewed these seams closed. (In other words, I didn't use a safety pin to slide the elastic through; I held the elastic inside as I sewed the seams closed. Impatience, thy name is Rabbit.) The tunic was really blousy, so to give a closer fit in the waist I topstitched a few rows using elastic thread at the back waistline. The whole thing came together in less than an hour and a half. I like to call it my Easy Peasy Let's Cut Corners Tunic. [Revs sewing machine pedal.]

I'm all over the place today.

Let's start with sewing:

Before I earn myself the nickname of Procrastirabbit (procrastinating + rabbit) I figured I'd better get off my lazy bum and just hem my freaking PANTALOONS, ALREADY. Arrrr! Here they be:

The hurry-up-and-take-the-picture-so-we-can-go-eat shot.
[Click here to zoom out!]
[Click here for another view!]

Quick specifics: Low-waisted, wide-legged pant made without a pattern. I made a basic pant in muslin (using my pant with darts construction) and used that as a basis for making the one in fabric. I added box pleats in the front and darts in the back. Zip fly closure and the pockets are "poches italiennes". I was going to wear the pant with a wide reverse cuff, but I decided I liked the hem without so there you have it. My only regret: That I didn't buy more of this fabric when I had a chance. I'd love to make another pant like this in this same fabric, only full-length for fall, and there was no more fabric when I went back to the fabric store. Sob! (Yet another reason for me to keep on stashing like a greedy squirrel.)

We were all very hungry and on our way out to eat pizza, so it was a very quick photo shoot. But I make up for the lack of extras, like whack dance shots and whatnot, by showing this bonus photo taken of me and Captain Destructo smiling wildly in the late afternoon sweltering heat. Of course, I be wearing me pantaloons. Arrrrr!

Long, drawn out "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!"

And there is also knitting. Mommy Guilt won out and I worked on the Captain's Linen Jacket last night. Result: Two finished jacket fronts.

Yikes! Block us, ferpetesake.

If I continue at this speed the Captain will have himself a new jacket before the end of summer. And if I'm feeling really ambitious, I might just head off to the yarn store and pick up yarn so he can have two new hand-knit jackets to start the new school year. He has already asked for one with a "hood" and "a zipper". Boy knows what he wants, eh?

And while we're on the subject of school....

I just got my final report card in the mail. Celebrate with me now, friends, because all those 7 hour schooldays from Monday to Friday and those late nights and early mornings I spent studying, sketching, drawing, painting, draping fabric, making textile samples, sewing, working in Photoshop and the rest (not to mention less frequent postings on my blog and less knitting...thanks to all my readers and friends who still kept visiting even with my fewer posts) has paid off. Out of almost one hundred students I'm not badly placed at all, and come September I go into my second year for a degree in fashion design/illustration and pattern-drafting a very happy rabbit, indeed. Margaritas for everyone!

Double the fun:

With a finished Crinkle and finished bustier! (And my Crinkle knitting partner Claudia just finished hers, too. So we've really doubled the fun.)

This is the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[Hey! You want some Crinkle SHOW-OFF poses? Click here then.]

Crinkle details: Srunched up cardigan in eyelet lace pattern called "Crinkle" from the infamously styled Rowan 39, using Phildar Licorne in what I like to call "passe-partout" (goes with anything, slappy) black. I knit the smallest size and used about 9 skeins of Licorne. I made no changes to the pattern, and that makes me happy because all I want during my summer vacation is mindless knitting, bay-bee.

thumb.jpgQuickly, let me tell you about the ribbon. I went with simple black, but I do have a couple of other ribbons I may use depending on the look I want to achieve and depending on what I'm wearing under Crinkle. I may switch to a plaid ribbon if I want to wear a plain white t-shirt or a print that contrasts nicely with the plaid, or I may use the red and white gingham for a look "poupée". For now, though, I want to stick with the black.

thumb.jpgWe also have the Crinklage Factor. Crinkle's look changes depending on the amount of Crinklage: We got level 1, level 2 and level 3 with sublevels in between. *My* favorite is level 2, but I may use level 3 if I want to achieve a bolero look and level 1 for something more low-key.

And there's a bonus. Let's not forget the bustier I designed, drafted and sewed up at the beginning of August:

Those polka-dots are really camera shy.
[What's that? You want to see a CLOSE-UP of the fabric? Oh, ALRIGHT.]

Bustier details: Inspired by images of 1950s pinups and 1820s corsets, I came up with a rough sketch of a bustier dress-style top. I drafted the pattern by draping on the mannequin because I wanted to play around with seam lines in 3-D. Fabric is a polka-dotted stretch cotton woven that I suspect has at least 2% elasthane in it. I love it! Next summer I'll wear it alone (oh, how saucy!) with form-fitting above-the knee shorts or pants. This fall I plan on wearing it under my Crinkle cardi or a short bolero, or over a tank, tee-shirt or blouse. Like always, I love layering.

Our Sunday morning photo session was short because we're having great weather and Captain Destructo was itching to ride his bike at the park. But before we took off I did kick into silly mode for a couple of gratuitous silly rabbit shots, of course :-)

We interrupt the knitting to bring you a Cambric Tea Blouse in muslin.

thumb.jpgDo you try on clothes before you buy them? I usually do. My way of trying on my version of Cambric Tea Blouse is by making one in muslin first. (So this is not the final blouse; it's just a sample I put together using my pattern.) Plus, I'm drafting the pattern from scratch by looking at a photo, so I want to check fit, drape and design elements. And yes! There will be changes from the original, just to suit my body type and clothing style. My version will have a mandarin collar, buttonholes, longer sleeves, no ruffle on the sleeves. The latter is a shame because I really liked that element, but when I tried on a test sleeve with ruffle it made me look like I was hunching up my [broad thanks to years of sports] shoulders. Darn. Anyway, there may be more changes when I dive into the assembly* of the actual blouse, which should be soon because my pattern's already good to go.

So! For the blouse I think I'll be using a thin cotton in a solid beige [exciting, I know] I have in my stash. I was planning on using this cotton for school projects, but August is a slow and quiet month in Lyon because everyone takes off for vacation, so shops currently have slim pickins in fabrics. I'm eager to see how this blouse looks in something other than muslin, though, so I'll resort to the stash to save me. Impatience, thy name is Rabbit.

*A confession: The assembly, a.k.a. THE SEWING, is my least favorite part. As a styliste modéliste, my favorite parts of the creation process are throwing out design sketches and constructing a pattern from scratch. I really love doing that; it's like putting together a puzzle when a pattern is drafted flat or creating a textile sculpture when draped on the mannequin. As for the sewing...well, I do like it. Just not as much. (There! I said it.)

See that?

We're finished!
Now block us, ALREADY.

It's a pile o' knit pieces! Of Captain Destructo's Linen Jacket, that is. They're all knit up and ready for seaming, so to the blocking board they go. After that: Seaming, zipper, neckband and front bands. Which means that soon I'll be taking a trip to Margaritaville (frozen, no salt) to finish this jacket. I'm not rushing there, though. I think I'll block and seam sometime this weekend, and then do all the rest the following weekend. That way, I won't go insane from finishing overload. But I see a finished knit on the horizon which means that the Captain will have a new jacket to wear for the first day of school!

And guess what? Today I sewed up my version of the Cambric Tea Blouse (the real thing, not the muslin), and even though [please read the following, thank you] it really needs to be pressed, has no buttons (I'll be snatching those off one of Monsieur Le Hubby's old dress shirts...recycle, bay-bee!), has a hem that is yet to be stitched and is being modeled by my mannequin* who does NOT have the same measurements as me, I'm still gonna show it. Here it is:

Tea Blouse to the left, muslin toile to the right.
I'll show a picture of myself wearing it when it's got buttons.
(Wouldn't wanna flash the internet.)

thumb.jpgI'm really happy with how it came out and with the changes I made to it. The fabric I used for this one is an inexpensive thin cotton I had bought for school projects. Okay for everyday wear, but I'd like one in a fancy fabric so I'm going to make myself another one in a nicer fabric, maybe in a print. And as for the sash? Yes, I'm going to make it. But for the Tea Blouse done in fancy fabric, not this thin cotton one. I'm going downtown tomorrow and I'll keep an eye out for an open fabric store.

In the meantime, think I should start a new knitting project? I think so. Just a few more weeks before fashion school lets back in, and my days are gonna be filled with school work; even more than last year. Let's see how much personal crafty stuff I can squeeze into these few weeks! (I feel a slight case of multi-project-itis coming on.)

*My mannequin is a French size 38 and was made to the standard measurements used in the fashion industry here; professional mock-ups and prototypes are done in the specific measurements to that size. I'm a French 34-36, so my clothes are a little tight on her and any custom stuff I make for myself has to be fitted directly on me. Ain't that just the luck?

Where's my pillbox hat?

The Skinny Rabbit Design Hour presents the toile for the short jacket I'm making:

This is just a toile.
(A sample made to perfect my custom pattern.)
This one looks a little bit like a bedjacket, I know.
It's muslin...whatcha gonna do?

It doesn't look like much because it's lacking details and, well, it's in muslin. (Pinkish muslin, which made Monsieur Le Hubby ask me if I was channeling Jackie O when he saw it.) I'm happy with the general shape and fit, so it looks like my pattern is good to go and I'll be able to cut into the fabric soon. I still have to draft the pieces for facings and lining, though. And I've decided that I want to include pockets so I'll try a couple of samples and then draft the pattern pieces for those.

In knitting news, I have something GREAT to announce. Remember how I ran short of Cork to finish my Mystery Project? I was planning to RIP OUT the whole thing so I could reknit it on a larger needle in order to match my row gauge with the pattern's. And just like that, my Mystery Project was saved from a trip to Ripdom by a very thoughtful knitter named (gotta put the whole thing in bold caps, I just gotta):


spring2006_linenjacket_zipper_thumb.jpgShe had some Cork in Mouse in her stash that she was kind enough to offer to me, and before you can say "thou shalt not rip out the Mystery Project" she packed them up and sent them to me from across La Manche. Cork is in the hooooouse! So not only has my Mystery Project been saved from the frogpond, but I've made a new online knitting bud who I discovered knits some fabulous things in my favorite colors (you have to see her cowl and her ribbed top with the diamante buckle) and has two really cute - and I mean REALLY cute - kids. LING (yes, all in bold caps again), you have star status around here. I and my sweater in Cork thank you!

Short Coat!

I have my sewing machine out because I'm making a toile for the trousers of the tailored suit I'm currently constructing in pattern-making (I know; I'm supposed to be on vacation, but I still gotta do some work at home) and I decided to just go ahead and make my Short Coat, already. I cut the fabric on Tuesday night and sewed it up yesterday afternoon:

This is the REAL stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.

Project details: This coat is based on the Simplicity Built by You 4109 pattern, because I love the sleeves used in it (they're flared manches talon cut on the biais). I used the pattern just to cut out the main pieces - which I modified, so the cut isn't exactly the same - and then I went my own way when it came to assembly. [Note: I changed the pattern pieces and did not follow the pattern instructions AT ALL so the result may be a little different for those who use the pattern as is; I used the pattern only to cut out some of the pieces.] The patch pockets and flaps are my own; they're the same ones I made for this jacket because I like their shape. I modified the collar and sewed it on the way I've been shown to do it in the industry here. I also completely lined the jacket, including the sleeves. (The lining is not a part of the Simplicity pattern.)

Here are some gratuitous finishing shots for you:

fall2006_shortcoat_closeup_thumb.jpg fall2006_shortcoat_closeup_thumb2.jpg

If you're wondering how this thing looks on me, we've got my Captain Destructo to thank because he's also on vacation from school, and he took a few minutes to snap some shots* of me wearing my Short Coat:

*Not a bad photographer for a six-year-old, eh?
I may have to have him take my shots all the time now.
[Hey! Click here for the rest of the show-off shots.]

I'm looking forward to wearing this; I love how it looks like a little cape with sleeves. We're currently having the best kind of weather for this kind of coat so I'll be debuting it today as we're heading out this afternoon. And here's a secret: I didn't have to buy anything new to make it! The main fabric - a wool blend - was already in my stash. For the lining I used a satin print I had gotten from the fashion design studio where I worked this summer and the buttons, well, let's just say that my Willow has four buttons less than before. I was too eager to finish this puppy and as yesterday was a national holiday the notions shop was closed so I couldn't buy new buttons. Willow had its share of wear, anyway. It's time to bring on the Short Coat, bay-bee!

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