Dandelion | Lotta Jansdotter Pilvi Coat

Ever since this Dandelion fabric was brought home, all the other projects in the queue have been pushed aside to make a new unlined jacket.... even though summertime temps are in the 90s F.  I'm so glad I did!  I love it!
There's something about a dandelion in its full seed state that captures one's imagination in the same manner my lovely fabric captured mine. 
You may remember the Dandelion fabric purchased a few months ago from All About Fabrics, a fabric textile outlet in Williamston, South Carolina.   All About Fabrics only sells to the general public 3 days each month at their store,  but I found the very same Dandelion print fabric online at Fabric.com and they have plenty in stock.  Hmmm, their care instructions says 'air dry only'.... I've already washed mine in cold water in the washing machine and dried in the dryer and all turned out well.
When I first saw this corn yellow dandelion screen print on cotton slub duck, I immediately knew it would be a Pilvi Jacket from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. If you click on the book's link, it takes you to Lotta Jansdotter's website where you can see photos of the jacket and her other designs.
Such a cute jacket!  The Pilvi is a raglan sleeve unlined jacket in either a short jacket version or a long jacket version.  I tacked the top corners down to give it a 'collar' look. 
I wanted a car coat length that was somewhere in between the short and long version..... so that's what I made.  Used about 1 1/3 yards of 54" wide fabric.  Hardly any scraps left over at all.  :)
My measurements were a solid Small at the time, so that's what I sewed with no fitting modifications.  In hindsight, I sort of wish I'd cut an X-Small in the bust and waist grading to a Small at the hips.  Anyway, a boxy jacket with the option of sewing down the top two front corners of the jacket into a sort of 'collar point'.  Which is what I did.   1/2" seam allowances are included in the pattern.  Nice!!!  She also has you top-stitch all the facings down which I also like. 
Definitely see the boxy shape in the back.  I really like the 3/4 length sleeves.  A lot!
I also top-stitched the raglan sleeve seams. 
Just so hard to see the white on white.  She does not have you understitch the neckline facing, but I did, as you can see a little of the seam here.  That's just one of those things you really might want to do regardless of what the pattern instructs.  The neckline 'collar' is tacked down with white button craft thread that totally blends in with the fabric and I like this so much more than using a 'button' or some sort of ornament.  Think it makes my jacket look like a sort of 'collared' jacket, without the collar.
When making an easy project, like this one, I like to work on skill sets that may be new to me..... so this project was all about hong kong seams and enclosed seams using a piece of yellow gingham that had been in the stash for as long as I can remember.
Don't you just love the yellow gingham against the yellow dandelions?!
This jacket was an utter joy to make!
With the exception of how to enclose the pockets with hong kong seams.  That was a head-scratcher for me and I simply could not figure out the mechanics at all.  A quick Google search turned up a photo of the inside seams of the gorgeous Vogue 1493 Koos van den Akker Kimono Jacket .....
Photo Credit:  Vogue 1493
......and this beautiful shot from Meg Carter, of McCall Pattern Company, personal make of the same Vogue 1493 kimono jacket.    You can purchase this lovely pattern here, and it sounds like it includes instructions for hong kong seam binding the interior including the pockets.
Photo Credit:  Vogue 1493
All the other instructions turning up in my Google search were written in Russian and linked to Russian sites and I get really nervous clicking on those...... sooooooo I sent an e-mail off to my sweet friend Carolyn, who blogs at Handmade by Carolyn, knowing she could help me move forward with my project.  And she did.  She sent me a link to her Trench Skirt post (interior photo below) and told me to treat the pocket's side seam, and pocket bag, like it was being serged and use an enclosed seam binding technique instead of hong kong seam.  Click on her link to see the finished pretty skirt.  :)
Photo Credit:  Handmade by Carolyn Trench Skirt <3
So that's what I did.
Trying to show a little mini-tutorial of what I did.... I serged the front pocket bag to the front side seam, then hong kong seamed the back pocket bag to the back side seam.  This is because the 'back' of the pocket bag side seam is what will show when completed and I wanted to reduce bulk.  This is the point I'm at in the photo below.  Pin everything together and sew an enclosed seam binding beginning at the jacket's sleeve edge, around the raglan sleeve seams all the way down and around the pocket bag in one fell swoop. 
Pin carefully around the pocket bag but you can do it.
You can see a little crease at the top of the bend of the pocket bag.  I treated this turn sort of like I would treat the edge of binding a quilt.  It's funny how the two crafts overlap sometimes.  ;)
I also used a smaller pocket bag pattern that would fit my car coat length better.  Lotta Jansdotter's pocket pattern is huge and would make fantastic pockets in the long coat version but would've overwhelmed my little coat.  Also note how I tucked the bottom of the pocket in the hem.  Thought this would anchor everything well.... and it does.... sort of.  The pockets flap a little more than I prefer so am considering going back and top-stitching them down.
Really like the neatness of the underarm area.  Top-stitching the raglan sleeve hong kong seams down was huge in adding to the neatness here.
The jacket's instructions have you sort of turn up the jacket's bottom corner and I just really did not like the way that looked on my jacket.  So after fooling around with it for a bit, came up with a mitered corner application that methinks looks quite nice and neat.  Even was able to match up the hong kong seams here!
Something about working with such a 'happy' fabric and learning new skills combined to make a perfectly enjoyable project.
Couldn't help snapping this photo of one of our fields we'd neglected to mow where the dandelions have completely taken over! 
I'm wearing the Ottobre no. 10 Sculpture white linen top and the Ottobre no. 14 Loose-fit pants with the new jacket today.
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)


Floral Linen Shift Dress | Ottobre 05/2015 no. 10 Shift Dress

In my quest for the perfect easy-breezy summer dress, I think I may have finally found it in a simple shift dress custom made to fit me.
Ottobre Design Woman's 05/2015 no. 10 Shift Dress pattern coupled with the lovely floral linen blend fabric recently purchased from my trip to the textile outlet All About Fabrics married well.  hehe 
If the fabric may look familiar, it's became the recent Itch-to-Stitch Belize Shorts were made from scraps when cutting this dress out.   Double win!  This dress takes @1 1/3 yards of fabric and I'd purchased 2 yards.  :)
Having made Ottobre 02/2016 No. 10 Glorious shift dress last year out of lovely linen red poppies fabric, it left me longing for a more 'fitted' shift dress, if that even makes sense!  A shift dress is known for its shapelessness..... usually a simple A-line dress with bust darts and no shaping at the waist.   
A shift dress isn't the most flattering fit on me I suppose, but for comfort on hot and humid summer days, it can't be beat.  By the way, I added in-seam pockets.  Kinda' surprised the pattern did not include them.  With all the fabric floating around, there's plenty of room to slip pockets in.
I've lost more weight so I was careful to take new measurements before starting this project and I was glad I did as they'd changed enough to change my sizing.  I've also been watching Nancy Zieman's (free) videos about her Pivot and Slide Method to achieve the perfect fit and applied some of what I learned here.  This dress is a size 36 bust and waist graded to a size 38 hips using Nancy's method.
I really like the fit and the way this dress looks 'custom' fit for me. 
I've struggled with garments not fitting quite properly through the shoulders that then produces an odd extra bit of fabric in the middle of the neckline, and as you can see in the photo below, the neckline is perfectly smooth with the shoulders laying where they should.  Love this neckline!!  It's not too chokingly high and lays on the neck in a flattering way.
Back view... not much to say here.... no darts, invisible zip that was a breeze to put in with my invisible zipper foot.  Why I ever waited so long to buy one of those is beyond me!!  Makes zipper installations ever so easy.
Let's turn to some of the details now.... I cannot believe this was my first garment to make from this Ottobre Design Woman 05/2015 issue!  This is a fabulous issue full of all sorts of great patterns.
 I made no. 10 that she calls Paisley Print silk-blend shift dress.  Ottobre's pattern names are always confusing to me, as in this case my fabric is neither Paisley Print nor silk-blend.  So I shall therefore call this pattern Ottobre 05/2015 no. 10 Shift Dress.  Simple.  The pattern gives instructions for a lined dress with sleeves, but with my lovely linen blend I did not want a lining as I wanted my fabric to breathe and be cooler to wear.  Nice to have the sleeve pattern as I may make this again in the future using the sleeves, but for now sleeveless is what I wanted.  Also you might notice there are no facings.  The neckline is finished with bias tape whose installation is a terrible weakness of mine.  I toyed with drafting facings, but decided to embrace the bias binding as I need more practice in this area. 
Both neckline and armholes are finished with self-made bias binding.  Probably should've used a little more sturdy fabric for the binding, but really liked the thought of this soft handkerchief cotton against my skin.  Followed Carolyn's tutorial for the neckline and about the same for the armholes, other than sewed the binding on with all the creases already ironed in.  Was sure to understitch all seams before turning and top-stitching.  Used lots of pins and sewed ever so s-l-o-w-l-y when top-stitching.  Pleased to see that all came out well with no puckers.
Inside out.  Such a simple dress to make.  When adding the pockets, I thought about how I did not want the pockets to bind on the linen fabric, so used white cotton fabric for the front of the pockets bags and the floral linen for the back.  I've made the mistake before of using different patterned/colored fabric for both pieces of the pocket bag and sometimes that does not look right.  But if you only use the different piece for the front of the bag, and self-fabric for the back of the bag.... all blends in well.
Ottobre has you add a 3/8" seam allowance and in this case that was perfect as I serged most of the seams.  But I really like a 5/8" seam allowance for the center back where the zipper lays, and that's what I did here.  Easier to sew in the zipper to me.  A little tip that has worked well for me to close the back center seam below the freshly installed invisible zipper.... is to begin sewing with a regular zipper foot, from the hemline up to your carefully pinned seam.  No odd bumps or bubbles!
In a simple make, it's fun to work on other skillsets too, so I covered the serged hem seam with self-made bias binding and hem-stitched it on my machine.  This produces an invisible hem with a pretty covered seam on the inside. 
Not the best covering of the zipper tape at center back, but it was the best I could do this day.  But what I also want to show here is the back shoulder dart.  One of the things I like about Ottobre dress patterns, is that she usually includes some sort of back neckline, or in this case back shoulder dart.  These seem to help with fitting for me in these areas.  No other modifications were made to this pattern.  Simple.
Speaking of simple, as I began to write this post today I began to wonder about the history of the simple Shift Dress.  After a quick Google search, according to ShiftDress.com, it all started with Givenchy designing Audrey Hepburn's LBD in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's.   The website included an interesting little bit about Lily Pulitzer's humble beginnings as she designed a simple shift dress to wear while selling fresh squeezed orange juice at her husband's fruit grove stand in Florida.   Her clothing empire took off from there.
The first person I thought of, when pondering the beginnings of the shift dress, was Twiggy.   She's definitely part of the Shift Dress' iconic history.
And then of course one could not forget the beautiful Jackie Kennedy Onassis. 
It also occurred to me that the first dress I ever made was a shift dress.  Though my mother was an accomplished seamstress, she never taught any of her skills to me.  Instead, she enrolled me in a summer sewing class at the local fabric store one summer when I was probably around 12 or 13 (c. 1972/1973).  The pattern was a simple shift dress and I still remember the vibrant 'mod' green geometric print I chose to this day!  Unfortunately nothing was retained from that experience other than the instructor had us throw away and discard the pattern instructions to blindly follow her lead in making our dresses.  I remember hiding my instructions but she found them and they were gone.  Retained.nothing.
And in the sport of having great fun..... my version of Twiggy.  Ha!Ha!
Happy Sewing Everyone!  :)
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