Category Archives: Misc Indy Patterns

Handkerchief Jacket

On my Pinterest Feed this interesting wrap popped up one day

I am always looking for interesting garments and even though they seldom work for me, I keep looking for simple garments as well. I’ve been contemplating summer wraps.  I need them.  I’m feeling the cold much more these days.  Can’t stand to choose food out of the freezer section without a little extra cover. But I digress. I studied this diagram closely and realized it was 4 squares: 1, the back placed on point. 2 placed on either side of the back for sleeves; and 1 cut in half ;  stitched to the sleeve’s free edge.

They call it a ‘handkerchief”. Hmmm, I would venture there are some people who’ve never even seen a handkerchief and have no idea of size.  I at least remember these dainty little bits of fabric carried by my grandmothers and all my aunts. They were small. 6-8″ square. Could not image the handkerchiefs of my memory covering my arms as is shown in the picture, so I reasoned the jacket much have used something larger. How large? Well if they used a 36-52″ Hermes scarf, surely they would have called it a ‘Scarf Jacket’. No? I argued with myself for a while measuring parts of me and turning the diagram around and around. Then I cut four (4) 18″ squares from aisle runner.

Aisle runner is my  choice for tissue and it stands in well as muslin too.  I needed to start somewhere, this seemed like a good starting point.

I stared at the diagram some more than attached the 2 sleeve squares half way (9″) down the back rectangle. Sliced the last triangle from corner to corner and attached to the sleeves. I’m using water-soluble thread in the bobbin so I can change things up if I want — which I assumed I would.

The look on my face says it all:  I’m not thrilled. The jacket wants to slide down rather than sit on my shoulders and appears to be both too big and too small.  Thinking maybe I just need to secure this ‘jacket’ to my frame a little better, I fold the sleeves in half and pin them at the cuff.

Not a whole lot of improvement. It does stay in place a little better. Perhaps the squares need to be smaller? But then the jacket would be way to short in back.  Maybe it needs some pleats in the neck or the shoulder part of the sleeve?  Umm but that’s not shown in the pics.  Ummmmm

It’s on ‘hold’ right now.  I am considering it a WIP (work in progress). It sits in the back of my just-cleaned-out closet whilst I contemplate a solution. I just don’t think I can do it with 4 equally sized squares. N-e-e-d t-o t-h-i-n-k m-o-r-e.



Wannadu Jacket

 Fall 6PAC started back in August. At the time it was way too hot to think of covering the body from head to toe. What I did though was to retrieve the clothes I use for transitioning between Summer and Winter.  Discarded those that have become worn. Sorted according to my base neutrals Charcoal, Sable Brown and Navy Blue.  One cool evening, I tried on clothes to make sure I could still get them on. Then  I looked for pants, 3rd layers and a mix of tops. (My tops need short, 3/4 and long sleeves to work throughout the transition from hot to cool and back.)  What I discovered was that I’m covered. Almost. My only missing garment is a black jacket. Otherwise, I can make a 6PAC for each of my neutrals from my existing wardrobe.

I’ve been keeping an eye on another thread concerning the trend in jackets  and watching on-line shopping channels to see what they are selling.  I’m glad to see the mix of styles available. I really could wear any style I desired and still be fashionable.  I decided to use a very old pattern in my stash, the Wannadu Jacket with a simple update, I made it 3″ longer– to make a length I’m frequently seeing.  I decided against the ruffles I see everywhere, I want this to be a basic garment in my closet for a few years.  Also avoided the high-low hem. Please I had enough of those when I PG 30 years ago.  IMO, if you want to look pregnant, get pregnant.


It’s a very simple style. Basically a Ruana shape with extensions for sleeves and a band to finish front opening and neckline.


I chose a very nice knit (rayon blend) with lots of texture.  I think they used a double bed, Jacquard technique to create the fabric but I’m not sure exactly what the fabric or technique is called. The texture is very similar to double weave with sections that lift and bubble from a base. Of course, my fabric is black so photoing it is no help. Trust me, it is gorgeous and best appreciated up close.   I opted to add a full lining using a 4 ply silk also in black. (I’m pretty consistent and predictable.)  when I cut my fabrics, I added the sleeve sections to the body thereby eliminating the seam that runs along the shoulder. However this 52″ fabric was not quite wide enough, so I had to use the optional cuff pieces to make my sleeves the length I wanted — which would be the length for cool weather.  I interfaced the cuffs but nowhere else, because I didn’t cut the typical band. I cut a 1″ wide strip that I planned to attach for a front button placket.

Probably the way I will most often wear my jacket except I’ll be wearing long pants and sleeved tops. (It is still summer as I type this post.)

Sewing is faster than writing. I placed the lining and fashion fabric right sides together and stitched around the neckline and center fronts. Inverted and basted the two layers around the outer perimeter.  The hem was left open.   Even though there isn’t a shoulder seam per se, I stitched the two layers along that line. The stitching just disappears. Even when standing right next to me, the line is hardly visible. I did a really nice job on the side seams.  I serged the edges before stitching. Beautiful inside finish. I serged the cuffs into a circle and serged one raw edge to the sleeve.  Finished the other raw edge, turned up and top stitched. this gives me a really nice edge at the wrist and a smooth finish inside.


I was ready for buttons and buttonholes but that’s going to be a whole ‘nother post. It was a stopping point for several weeks because even with my embarrassingly large collection of buttons, I couldn’t find one that I thought was adequate. They were too large. Not enough of them. Ugly.  Too heavy. Too small. Too everything that was ever said about buttons. Let’s leave the buttons and finish the jacket.

I added shoulder pads as an after thought.  I’ve been asking for help with my unique shoulder shape at SG.  Shoulder pads were suggested. Which did seem to help, some, but they’re really not the solution. I even used hefty 3/4″ jacket pads in this jacket. I look like I have shoulders but I also still have the side drapes I repeatedly complained about until I draped my shoulder.   (Funny thing, I’m seeing more and more garments where those drapes are the focal point.)

I do know that black is hard to see and you’re not seeing a lot of detail but… that’s about what you would see until you get within a foot of me.  This is deep dark black. Blacker than charcoal.


I planned this as a fall jacket and need the buttons only on colder windy days. I am more likely to button only the 3 lower buttons and ignore the top. If the weather’s really cold, I’ll wear a scarf and mittens.  I *think* this is done, done, all the way done.  I’m concerned I used too many buttons, which is correctable. But I’m going to wear the jacket a few times and take more pics before I decide maybe it’s not all-the-way-done after all.


AND that COMPLETES my fall 6PAC sewing!




Saki Shrug

I fell in love with this little shrug when I saw it on Yoshimitheflyingsquirrel:

Full directions are on her blog at the link above.

I loved it immediately.  Decided to make it when I saw it on one of the shopping channels for “Under $50″.  I followed the cutting directions  exactly except for converting to inches and rounding to the next full number. (I have no idea how to cut 7.87″.)  This was mostly a serger garment for me.  I did top-stitch the seams of cuffs and collar/hem strips. Mostly because when finished the serged lace hems -even though I trimmed a string off all 4 edges- did not appear to be a full 1/4″.  I don’t trust seams less than 1/4”.  Top stitching nailed the seams in place so they don’t flip around but also reinforced that narrow seam allowance. I think I made this in about an hour and a half. Love it except Yoshimi must be tiny. On 5’2″ me it is elbow length:

It is long enough and longer than I was expecting:


Maybe even too long.  It will be a great 3rd Layer and alternative to a blouse for summer. However if I make it again, I would make it wider.  I say if, because this is kind of a trendy garment.  Besides, I have several easy to make 3rd layers still to attempt.

A Little Something

I bought this pattern long ago, having seen someone else’s beautiful creation. I don’t wear too many jackets, so it sat unused until I realized that vests were possible, even from a jacket pattern.

The only change I made was leaving off the sleeves and finishing the armscye with self-fabric.

My fabric is a sweater knit. The print was a wonderful choice to coordinate with the two previous garments. I think it really makes these into an outfit.

But sweater knit may not have been such an excellent choice  for use with this pattern. The front has a cut on facing which is joined at the neckline like a shawl collar. My vest has a tendency to fly open revealing the unprinted inside. I’m not happy about that, but not unhappy enough to discard the vest.

I also don’t care for the way it hangs in the back. I did realize is was a swing coat. I thought the swing was controlled and gentle.  My sweater knit seems to hang excessively and fold together in the back.

However the side view is OK

It isn’t even raising in the front as most of my tops do. Hmm it’s hanging down in the front. I probably don’t have it situated correctly on my shoulders. Nope, I can see that I have the shoulders forward. Well it felt comfortable.


This was a wonderfully easy pattern. I would make it again perhaps a different type fabric. Also I would want to change the facing so that it extends further into the interior or use a double-faced fabric i.e. a fabric that looks the same on both sides. I’m not sure but I might want to shorten it as well. The front view looks a little long on me, but we just discovered I don’t have the shoulders sitting correctly.

I think it nicely finishes this outfit. Unfortuntely, I probably will only be able to wear it another 3-4 weeks and then it gets put up until Fall. Finally Spring is on its way to South Dakota.


Style Arc Gail

I was intrigued by this pattern (the free pattern for September 2013), especially after the discussion on Stitchers Guild. I decided I wanted to make it and placed and order along with 2 other top patterns.  The patterns arrived in my US mail about 10 days after my online purchase. I thought the delivery time was pretty good. My order included a fabric sample for each pattern and a personal note of thanks.

My measurements fall between sizes so I chose to purchase the next larger size than recommended.  I purchased 3 pants patterns last year and was distressed when  each and everyone was far too small.  Then and now, I took my measurements several times; measuring only over the underwear I plan to have on AND I selected my personal  biggest measurement to compare with the SA charts.

Still SA has been described as “body conscious” and so I approached the pattern with caution.  Even though only 1 size is printed on the paper, I traced.  Then I pinned the tissues to my dress form. Granted Mimie measures a bit more than me.  Generally this is OK because I prefer the “skims everything touches nothing fit”.  I believe the next time I order SA patterns, I’m going to use Mimie’s measurements instead of my own, because there’s no way this size is going to fit me the way I want.


I looked at the back first.  For one thing, I was curious as to why SA drafted and published a full back.  The back is symmetrical.  Suggested fabrics did not include plaids or large prints and if you used them, you’d also want two fronts which SA did not provide.  I’m puzzled and if I could politely suggest, I would say “SA you can cut postage costs by publishing a half back when a full is not required. That would result in less paper needed for printing. Less paper shipped in the envelope. Less $$$ for postage.”

So looking at the full back, I see the poof that I also saw in the recent Otto garments I’ve made.   I do like the draft of the shoulders and neckline.  I feel these will be the perfect size and are superior even to the Otto draft.  I so love not having to perform the narrow shoulder adjustment, but the shoulder seems to be sticking up.  To correct these issues:

I untaped my back waist length adjustment and started making it deeper.  Normally I’ve been making a 1″ adjustment. This one is 1.5″.  I think that’s a me issue just as the little dart I added at upper part of the armscye is a me issue.  As I’m aging my shoulders are rounding.  When I think about it, I shrug my shoulders in place, sit and stand tall. But truth is, gravity is winning the war.   I need to make these changes not only to the Gail pattern but most likely to all my other patterns as well.

I want to skip to the center front twist piece.

I’m not entirely sure, at this point, how it is all going to fit together, but I note that SA has included several notches to help match the twist to both the front and back pieces.  I think SA deserves kudos for this.  Also, were it not for the me sized body the pieces are pinned to, they would all fit together perfectly. I love patterns when the pattern maker has taken the time to ensure adjoining pieces are the right length and notches that should match, really do.

But from here I want to move onto the front and the sides.:

I have to consider ease and fabric behavior.  The recommended fabric is jersey, baby wool or any knit fabric.  The sample appeared to be a lightweight nylon knit.  About 90% of my sample was firmly glued in place so it was impossible for me to test stretch.  I’m contemplating using a slinky fabric or a light weight rayon jersey.  If I use the slinky I know I want Zero (0) ease.  If I use the rayon jersey I want about 20% ease.  I know these things from lots of experience both successful and disastrous.  I know it’s a combination of what the fabric will do and what I want to wear. This tissue, with 0 ease, fits at the underarm but immediately lacks the needed ease; and even right now I can see the wonky tissue folds in the bust area. I’m not entirely sure what is happening with the armscye. Is the front going to pull it over or do I have a problem here I should tackle?  When I use fabric, is that bulge of tissue around the bust going to drape towards the center front and lower half of the garment?

I start trying to make changes for the ease.  Doesn’t matter that SA is body conscious, I’m “skims everything”. If I don’t adapt the pattern for my preference, I won’t wear the finished garment.  I split the back from hem to underarm and add about 2″ of tissue.

The back looks good but I start scratching my head trying to figure where and how to add the ease for the front.

Not only is the front lacking ease at the hip, but there is this bubble which can clearly be pinched into a huge dart.  Except, I don’t think I want a dart, I want that fabric to drape towards the twist. Will it? Also, my back waist length adjustment needs to be applied evenly to both front and back –YET– it is clear the front without any adjustment is too short. The waist notch is above Mimie’s waist.  Do I add length? To the front? to the twist?  I need to add hip ease. The tissue barely touches. I must have at lease seam allowances. But where do I add the ease? Front? Twist? Waist?  Can I just ignore the waist and where it is placed? Will the fabric fall into place?  After all fabric will not act exactly the same as tissue. I have no confidence that I can make this fit me.  The fabric in my stash is not the same as the sample.   I also have no muslin fabrics. In the last 6 years, I’ve made so many garment trial and experiments that I don’t have fabric suitable for muslins.  I’d have to trash one of my expensive fabrics but even then I wouldn’t be working with fabric the same as the sample. Sigh, I have no confidence to go forward. I’ve folded up the pieces and put them back in the envelope for when I get smarter.

Sham’s Table Cloth Skirt

I don’t make that many skirts, but on the web there recently appeared two very interesting, easy patterns.  I already shared my version of Rhonda’s All Points Skirt (yesterday’s post), now I want to share my experience with Sham’s Table Cloth Skirt.


My version:


is sewn from a 100% cotton fabric that is light in weight but feels like that 1950’s bark cloth that was so popular for draperies during that time. I don’t know how this fabric made it into my collection.  I’m not sure if it’s one of my mother’s fabrics or fabric my sister jettisoned when she decided she wasn’t sewing anymore, It could have come in that barn box. Whatever, it was in the stash and had one of my tags stating 42″ wide 3 yards long. So I cut a 42″ square. Then I cut 4″ for the waistband. Then I started cutting the long rectangles. Whoops, just enough fabric for 1 rectangle.  I either did the math wrong or my fabric tag was wrong. There wasn’t enough fabric to cut 4 rectangles 42X21″. Having made these large cuts I wanted to continue. So each of my rectangles is 42″ long but only 10″ wide. I used a rolled edge for the hem and called it good.


After all, I’m not sure I’ll wear this skirt more than once. I quit wearing skirts and dresses when my working days filled up with IT duties.  I never knew which day I needed to crawl around on floors or climb ladders to stick my head in ceilings.  Skirts/dresses became impractical for most working days and my wardrobe.

I’m slowly adding a few skirts. I feel most comfortable wearing them during the summer and fall.  Here I wanted to see if the skirt would word with Red as well as Blue.  The blue top shown first gives me a monochromatic look  which adds visual height.  I wanted to know if I could wear a complimentary or contrasting color without breaking up my body too much. Unfortunately I didn’t get enough of my legs and feet to have a good feel of my proportions.  I hate tunic length garments anyway. Because no matter how much I straighten and tug


They insist upon riding up in the back making my bohunkus look 3 times as large as it is.


That’s a RTW knit top which I didn’t hem as soon as I purchased it and probably won’t hem it now.  I like the color and the trim. Hate how a tunic length garment can make me look so bad.  From the front too



See it riding up and pucking in the front?  There is plenty of ease in body and hem area. It doesn’t need to behave so.


Now the $64,000 question:  Will you make this again?  I like this skirt.  Sham’s instructions are very clear and even with my styling misstep and fabric shortage, the skirt itself looks nice on me.  The construction seems to introduce volume into the skirt that would otherwise be achieved by adding slips with yards and yards of tulle. We used to call those Fifty Yarders and you wanted two.  Do look at the gallery on Shams blog (linked above). The skirt also looks nice with very drapey fabrics and at various lengths.  That said I’m unlikely to make the skirt again. Why? For the same reason as the All Points Skirt.  It’s very distinctive.  I’m reluctant to make multiples of distinctive garments.  If they suddenly became the rage, then yes I’d make another. But otherwise, I’m this is going to be a successful but single version.