I feel w-a-a-a-y better. I have put on real clothes three days in a row AND I went to town for groceries. The cupboard was getting pretty bare in the McGree house. Poor Dunkin had been reduced to eating Mitzie’s canned catfood…….which honestly didn’t seem to bother him. He steals her food every chance he gets anyway. Of course, being a responsible pet owner, I asked Google about it first. Google sent me to the American Kennel Club that told me Dunkin wouldn’t die eating catfood in a pinch. But they were very clear that I shouldn’t make a habit of it. Google was strongly AGAINST feeding cats canned dog food. Fortunately I have a 60-can case of it in the garage so we were okay on that end. Anyhoo, I have been to Costco and Safeway and my cupboards are back to bulging.
One of the rotten things about having a cold is, I get antsy. I am too “yuck” to do anything productive, but not “yuck” enough to stay in bed. I pace around the house, check email and social media, read the news and go stir crazy. So, to un-stir my crazy I sewed. I am not sure I can responsibly recommend sewing when one is sick. I was not on my A game and made a Ton-And-A-Half of mistakes. Silly mistakes, like forgetting to change the color of my thread, or getting mixed up between the right side and wrong side of the fabric or flubbing up my stitches when attaching a button (who does that???). The seam ripper saw over-time duty this week. But it kept me busy and out of trouble so my vote is, it was worth it.
Are you dying to see what I worked on? Oh good! The first two pieces were easy sewing I could do when I wasn’t blowing my nose or taking a nap. The other piece was something, but I will show it to you in a bit.
First: Stitched on a Heart and Slapped on Some Lace
I was inspired from our inspiration post (did you catch that???……inspired/inspiration. Hah!) and decided to add “Love Wins” to the back of a favorite sweater. I cut the heart from velvet in my sewing closet and attached a strip from an old pillow case. I followed my own directions (from last weeks post) and it came together super easy. Well, almost easy. This is the project where I forgot to change the thread color (right color was black; wrong color was dark brown). But it wasn’t a crisis. When I caught the mistake I put the right color in my machine, stitched over the wrong color a couple of times and lived with it. Actually, I thought it turned out nice. The velvet against the black is sweet-looking.
I also wanted to make the flannel shirt I showed last week long enough to cover my rear and be “tunic length”. Then I can wear it with tights. To do this, I found some longish black lace and stitched it to the bottom with a medium zigzag. I put it on the cuffs and one of the front pockets so that it would be more tied in and pulled together. I guess you could call this look, “Pacific Northwest Logger meets Frilly Girly Girl”. It is fun and comfy to wear on a dreary day with something skinny on the bottom and warm boots.
And Finally, The B5819 Strong Willed Traveling Cloak.
I meant for this project to be fast and easy. Whip it out in a couple of hours. But sometimes your projects get their own ideas. And this cloak was nothing if not strong willed. It insisted on being its Very Best Self and would not take “fast and easy” for an answer. All I could do was oblige it. Let me tell you the story. It starts with a book.
I have been reading Tim Gunn’s and Ada Calhoun’s book, The Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet. In the chapter on coats they explored an earlier rendition, the traveling cloak. “Hmmmm, a traveling cloak”, I thought, “I want one of those!!!” Fortunately, I have the perfect pattern AND fabric here at the house. The pattern is Butterick 5819 and the fabric was some black luxe fleece that I picked up at Joann’s during a pre-Christmas sale.
I’ve made the pattern about a half-dozen times so I felt confident that I could put it together, even in my cold-induced stupor. Fleece is a “Dream” category fabric so we were good there. Now, this is the project where I got confused on the right side and the wrong side of my fabric. So there was still plenty of seam ripper-rippping. But that was due to operator error, nothing else.
Joann’s Fabric and I are like that couple who dated all though high school and broke up right before Senior Prom (I have seen it happen many-a-time my friends). Then I started seeing other fabric stores like Mood, Emma One Sock, and MarcyTilton.com and realized I liked them. They were interesting, had fun fabric, and stretched my craft when I was with them. My relationship with Joann became “complicated”. It’s true–they were my first fabric store “relationship” and would always have a place in my heart, but we could never go steady again. It’s not you Joann, it’s me. I’ve changed.
By the way, did you know there was actually no Joann (or Jo-Ann) in the picture. The name is a combination of two daughters from the founding families, Joan and Jacqueline Ann. Also, since 1969 (except for the years 2015-18) Joann’s has been mostly a dude-fest. That is, run by men. The current CEO and CFO are named Wade and Matt. I am sure they are great guys. I don’t know if they sew.
On to the cloak………I had some interesting contrast fleece to go with the black. Since B5810 Version A has a great-looking collar I decided to use it there.
Have you ever been working on a pattern you’ve made a bazillion times and all of a sudden come to a step you swear you have never seen before? This happened with the collar. I was sewing along, happy as a clam, until I got to step 4. It said “pin the interfaced section of the collar to the uninterfaced section”. What?? Interfaced??? I didn’t remember any interface! I reread the directions and step 1 was labeled, “Interfacing” I stared at the pattern and whispered, “I don’t even know you anymore!” Then I ran to the closet and poked at the collars of other B5819’s. No interfacing. I decided, “I didn’t interface before, I am not going to now.” Yes, I did think of the quote, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” but I also thought , “In for a dime, in for a dollar” and went with that.
The cloak liked the collar but wanted more. It thought the one contrast was too stark and should be more pulled together. “After all, I AM a traveling cloak,” it told me, “I want to carry you anywhere with a spirit of ‘savior faire'”. How could I argue with that? We talked about adding appliques in the contrast but the cloak said it didn’t want to look like everything else in my closet. So we settled on trim. I made the trim by cutting 3 inch strips, folding them in half and stitching a narrow seam. Then I ironed it down so the seam was on the back side and non-detectable when you stitched the trim to the bottom of the cloak.
A feature of the B5819 is that the edges of the collar and cape/cloak are unfinished. I tried to leave them alone, I really did! But the cloak had it’s own opinions. It put it’s hands on it’s cloak hips (imagine Disney animation here) and said, “Is the best you’ve got???” And the cloak was right. The edges looked, well….undone and goofy. Like you were being lazy rather than artistic. So, I turned and stitched and the cloak was happy. Now, I was on a roll. I went to my button stash and the cloak squealed, “Oooooh buttons!” Since we were in agreement, I grabbed a bunch of buttons and attached them to the collar and along the bottom of the cloak. The buttons were a mixture of high/low. Some were plastic nothings that pleased us, some were vintage from who-knows-where and a couple were buttons I bought at a street market in Paris. Ooohh-laa-laa!
I thought I was finished but at the last minute the cloak and I both hollered, “A Pocket!!!!” We definitely needed to put in a pocket! And not just any pocket, but a secret inside traveling pocket. Since pockets in fleece are the easiest thing going I cut out an 8 by 8 inch square, stitched the top edge down and attached the pocket to the inside of the cloak. I was able to stitch two of the edges along the previous stitching (“stitched in the ditch”), but one line of stitching was visible on the outside of the cloak. The cloak said that was a price worth paying and if she was happy I was happy.
Whew!! Say it after me, “Voila!!! it is finished!!!! Like I said earlier, this project was definitely something!!! I am glad we got to share it together.
Wait, Isn’t There A Surprise This Week???
Yes indeed, and I am thrilled you remembered. This week I have a surprise for you. And it isn’t some lame surprise like new fabric or a pattern launch. It is a real honest-to-goodness surprise. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space in this post to disclose it properly. I am so wordy!! So my dear friends we will have to wait just a little bit. As they say on television, “Stay Tuned……….” (Next post, I promise!!!).