Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ponte Knit Cropped Blazer - Simplicity 4698

When browsing the Tracy Reese website recently, I came across a knit blazer that I really liked. I sort of obsessed over it for a few days and was going to buy it until I saw that it was a final sale and I could not return it if it didn't fit. I was going to NYC for a few days and decided I would go to check out the blazer in person. I headed downtown to Tracy Reese's flagship store in the meatpacking district. When I got there I was pleasantly greeted by a woman that worked there and asked if I needed any help. I told her I was browsing, although I was looking for this blazer. It took me a little while to find it among all the other very tempting designs. (I have to admit I found myself looking more at the fabric and the construction first before actually looking to see if I liked the garment itself!)

I found the blazer in the sale section and was actually a little disappointed. It had raw edge finishing, which is hard to see in the photo online. I really liked how the blazer was reversible, but I thought it was reversible with a gray/navy combo. Well it was, but the navy fabric was like a polyester crepe de chine. Between the fabric choice and the raw edges, I felt like even the sale price was too expensive for the "quality." So I decided to make the blazer myself! I wanted to make it reversible, but wanted to try the blazer pattern out before doing anything too complicated.

I used Simplicity #4698, which is now out-of-print, but it is made for a woven fabric. I selected a 4-way stretch, solid black ponte knit from my stash (but of course I purchased it at Fabric Mart last year.) It was a really nice, sturdy ponte knit, so I figured it would be ok to substitute this for a woven fabric.

So here it is! This ponte knit blazer has two side pockets, princess seams and a single button closure. I made size 16 and didn't have to do much altering. The only major alteration I had to do was to bring in about 3/4" at the top of the princess seam. I added topstitching to the princess seams to make it have a more ready-to-wear look. 

This blazer has a half-lining, which I wasn't too crazy about at first, but when I saw another blazer at the Tracy Reese store, I decided it was acceptable. I selected a poly faille print to spice up the lining a little bit. 

I would recommend this pattern to anyone-- beginner to advanced. Next time I'd like to try a reversible blazer like the Tracy Reese blazer I fell in love with-- but I definitely will be using better construction techniques than the original blazer!

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Trip to Mood

Last week I was in NYC for a fabric show. I had a little bit of time before the show started to check out Mood Fabrics! I was in once, but was doing business at the time so I did not get a chance to really look around. Made famous by Project Runway, Mood Fabrics is found on the 3rd floor of 225 West 37th Street, between 7th & 8th Ave. It definitely met my expectations and although I did not go in looking for something specific, I found a few items I could not live without!

As you may know, I work for Fabric Mart, therefore I have access to LOTS of incredible fabrics. So when I'm fabric shopping somewhere else, I have to absolutely LOVE the fabric I see and be willing to spend real money for it. I first looked in the silk print section.

I found a beauitful silk crepe (almost like a 4-ply) from Peter Som or Derek Lam (I can't remember which one was written on the tag!) This fabric was $16 and I bought 2 yards for a total of $32.

This zig-zag print is from Tucker. This charmeuse print has a more matte backing that I think I'm going to use as the face. The charmeuse side does not have as much of a defined print, which you can see in the close-up picture. This piece was $16 and I bought 2 1/2 yards for a total of $40. 

After digging throught silk section I walked over to the knit section and found a really nice selection of silk knits. I snatched up this fun abstract geometric print. No designer attached to this one, but it is 60" wide which is great because I can get a tank or short-sleeve blouse out of it. The start of the cut had a lot of samples taken from it, so I ended up getting more like 1 1/3 yards, which will be plenty for sleeves or accents. I paid $25 ($25 per yard) for this piece.

Overall, I spent $97 on these fabrics, but feel like it was well worth it. These fabrics are definitely on the top of my list of things to make sooner rather than later. Any suggestions on what to make with them?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Simplicity 2447 - Plaid Buttondown Tunic

After making three buttondown shirts for my husband, I'm really in this "technical" sewing mode. I've been wanting to make Simplicity #2447, a buttondown tunic shirt, for a few years now. I even had the fabric picked out for that long---I just never got around to it. I bought the fabric at Fabric Mart back in 2009. We sold the entire roll to a wholesale customer, but I snatched up a few yards before it was measured for them! It is a tie-dye plaid linen crepe from Ralph Lauren, which I have pre-washed.


I feel like I'm finally figuring out what parts of the "mainstream" patterns fit me and what I need to alter. I cut out a 16 in this pattern. I had been cutting 18's in the past-- based off of my measurements, but ended up taking them in all the time. My hips are the tricky part, so I use a bit smaller seam allowance there, but I think I've FINALLY got this!

The pattern was really easy, especially after having the experience of three other buttondown shirts under my belt. The front yoke and back yoke are both set on the bias. I love the look, although the pattern does not call for it to be stabilized. The linen really distorts, so I should have stabilized it with a stiff, yet lightweight fabric.


I added top-stitching to the shoulder seams --the pattern did not call for it, but I love adding RTW details. I used buttons from my stash. I ended up picking vintage pearl buttons. Shined them up a bit and they look really great! They add a touch of shine to this outfit. 

I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone -- beginner or advanced. It's a perfect addition to my spring wardrobe. I can't wait to wear it with leggings and a belt!