Sunday, March 4, 2018

Burda Anorak Jacket


Hey, there! I hope 2018 has been kind to you, so far! 2018 has had its rough edges, at least for me, but let's not dwell on that.

Today I have a spring jacket to share. Elliott Berman Textiles gave me this beautiful reversible jacquard last November. It arrived just before I left for Japan and I loved it, but then I fell and rolled, backwards, down an escalator in Tokyo within an hour of landing. The resulting injury to my dominant (left) hand has slowed my sewing output.

After deliberating, I decided I wanted to use a Burda anorak pattern. I downloaded it from the Burda site, but I gather it's from the September 2014 issue of their magazine, if you have that.

Unfortunately, Elliott Berman has sold out of this fabric, but they have other brocades and jacquards.

I've made a lot of changes to the pattern, but it's been awhile, so let me see if I can remember all of them...

  • The pattern is from their collegiate collection and is sized in "tall" sizes. I'm not used to their tall sizing, but went with it anyway. I ended up using the original length for my size. I could have shortened the armhole, which is long, but I didn't. I really like the large, 3-piece sleeve that reminds me of the 80s.
  • I didn't need to add width to the pattern, so I did a vertical-only FBA.
  • I eliminated the elastic sleeve hem. I left the sleeve long so I could fold it back and show off the Petersham ribbon hem.
  • I hemmed the entire jacket with Petersham ribbon, in two colors. I originally bought 5 yards in a plum shade, but ran out. I went back and bought another 1-2 yards (I can't remember exactly) but I neglected to bring a sample of the original ribbon, so this time I got a more purple color. I decided to use it anyway, as I liked using both colors. I hand sewed the ribbon, which means I sewed 12-14 yards by hand, since I hand sewed each edge.
  • I omitted the drawstring at the hem.
  • The pattern calls for 4 yards of fabric, and I had 2.5, so I had to be judicious. I omitted the back shield.
  • Instead of the 3 pockets from the original pattern, I made two front patch pockets finished with Petersham ribbon.
  • The hood was supposed to be finished with a narrow trim from the same fabric, but this curved shape takes a lot of fabric, so I replaced with a plum-colors cotton stretch velveteen.
  • I harvested the beautiful selvedge from the fabric and inserted it into the upper sleeve seam.
  • I lined the (unlined) hood. By the way, I like this hood as a collar, but not so much as a hood.
  • I added shoulder pads, covered with the lining.
  • I replaced the zipper with 3 buttons. I sewed the very last bit of Petersham ribbon on each side of the buttonholes.
  • This pattern is quite boxy. I narrowed the side seam, at the waist, by 1/2", for a total removal of 2". I also added two 3/8" tucks in the back at the waist, removing another 1-1/2". I left it boxy, but not too boxy.

And now, for some pics!

Harvesting selvedge. When a selvedge is nice, I harvest it even if I'm not sure that I'll use it.

Sewing the selvedge into the sleeve

The selvedge is a bit uneven, but I let it be.

Spring has been glorious here in San Francisco

I used the last bit of Petersham by sewing it on either side of the 3 buttonholes.

I usually don't bother covering shoulder pads, but I've been in a slow-sewing mode!

Once I finished covering the shoulder pads, I had to cut some of them off, or they would have peeked outside the neckline. I guess my shoulders are narrow. Patterns certainly seem to indicate that I have narrow shoulders, as I'm always narrowing them, though I didn't in this pattern. I decided to go with the wider shoulder, as part of the boxy look.)

The 3-piece hood. I trimmed with some stretch velveteen and lined with Ambiance.

I enjoy finding backdrops with different textures

Hand sewing

Covering the hood seam

And more hand sewing. Lots more.

Fabulous earrings by Pam Neri.
(I buy from her right off Instagram. See something you like on her feed? Message her!)

I bought this fringed leather purse for DD1 in Florence last spring, but she didn't want it.

Taking in the side seams at the waist.

Thanks, Elliott Berman, for the fabric!
I paid for all other supplies.


Misc

These days I want to blog projects, but not travel or other activities. You can follow me on Instagram to see my current hijinks. You don't have to join Instagram, unless you want to leave comments.

Here are a few miscellaneous pics, and one video.

I was recently in Venice Beach, CA for DartConf 2018, a Dart language conference that I helped organize. Actually, my primary contribution was producing swag for the event. I had so much fun getting a plushie made. I gave a brief talk, introducing him at the conference. Meet Dash! (If you want to hear my voice, it's a 2-minute video...)

Loving Dash!

I'm proudest of the first ribbon, "Chief Plushie Officer"!

Since I never posted about Christmas, here are a few pics. I took my daughters to the Claremont Hotel and Spa in the Berkeley Hills. We were upgraded to the presidential suite. It was pretty sweet!

Christmas morning

Love these munchkins!

Visiting Twin Peaks on Christmas afternoon

Taking a selfie

Too bright to see the screen. LOL

Christmas view from the Presidential suite

Christmas morning

Visiting Britex a couple days after Christmas

A recently purchased outfit that I'm enjoying. The vest is from Simply Bella (she may have more in stock - if interested, give her a call). I purchased the pants in Venice Beach, when I visited in January.

People often ask about my fingers, so I took this pic this morning, exactly 104 days after the accident. I am using them, though the nail on the pointer finger is growing in with a split down the middle. I really miss my fingernails! Without them, it's almost impossible to pick up pins and needles.

What's next for me? I have an upcoming sewing retreat, a trip to London, and lots of deadlines at work! It will be pretty busy between now and Google I/O, in May.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Leopard Brocade Coat




Hey! It's Shams from Communing with Fabric with a project made from a stunning Britex fabric. For this project I selected a fabric from the Novelty category, Smoke Striped Leopard Smooth Brocade:


This reversible brocade leopard print from Italy is truly a stunning fabric. I wanted to make a coat and quickly settled on Butterick 6385, a Lisette pattern. I made this coat once before for my Paris wardrobe and I have loved wearing that coat.

Besides the beautiful brocade, the coat is lined with black stretch silk charmeuse, and the edges are bound with black stretch silk twill. It closes with covered snaps, though the outer coat features decorative Britex buttons.


In late October, I was headed off to a creative sewing retreat organized by Diane Ericson, Design Outside the Lines. The fall retreat that I attended, held in Ashland, featured coats as a theme. The guest co-teacher was Kathryn Brenne, who designs patterns for Vogue and has her own couture sewing school.

Kathryn encouraged me to use a variety of couture techniques, some that I hadn't used since taking tailoring back in the 80s, and some that were new to me. For example, I made shoulder pads and sleeve heads using wool fleece, used Kathryn's no-bulk side seam pockets, and made covered snaps (the snaps on the coat are covered with the brocade, and the snaps on the facing are covered with silk twill). I set the lining by hand, and finished the bias trim by hand.

Kathryn demonstrating her no-bulk side seam pocket using my coat.

Britex button on the left and a covered snap on the right.

Kathryn setting my sleeve or, as she calls it, "introducing the sleeve to the coat" on the mannequin...

...and on me

In my size, this coat calls for 3-1/8 yards of fabric and that doesn't inlude extra for pattern matching. I had 3 yards and wanted to use the print symmetrically. I was able to squeeze it out by cutting each pattern piece singly—no cutting while doubled. I used both sides of the gorgeous fabric—most of the coat uses the darker side of the fabric, while the inner and outer collars, the front facings, and the back yoke use the more silvery side.



Thanks to Britex for the beautiful brocade. I purchased all other supplies.


I just returned from Japan earlier today. One of my more notable souvenirs from the trip, two shattered finger tips with a deep cut to the bone through one fingernail, makes typing a challenge. After hours in a Tokyo ER, an orthopedic surgeon stitched up my fingernail and the nail bed (where the nail is missing) using a mallet and lots of local anesthesia. Nevertheless, I made many posts to Instagram and Facebook. I probably won't repost them here, though I may create a list of links to the relevant posts on Instagram.

Despite my mishap within one hour of landing in Japan, it was the trip of a lifetime—a complete dream. But I don't know how soon I will be able to sew again or, indeed, type normally. (I use my right hand as normal, but I have to hunt and peck with the ring finger of my left hand.)

I am left handed, so this is particularly challenging.

I return to work tomorrow. Have a great week!

Join me on Not Dead Yet's Visible Monday!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Japan Prep, DOL Ashland 2017, and More!


Margy and I in Ashland

Contents:

So... basically I planned to write a "Preparing for Japan" post, and that's it. Next thing I knew, I was writing a massive post on DOL. I apologize for the extreme length but, basically, this is an Accidental Post.


Preparing for Japan

I've been planning a visit to Japan for many months. I wanted to share a few tips I've learned, in case you make a similar journey. (Note, I will be updating these tips, to keep them in one place.)

Everyone asks me which tour I'm taking. I'm not taking a tour! I've planned my own trip. I will spend most of my time in Kyoto, taking day trips from there. I'm also spending some time in Tokyo. My itinerary fills me with joy—since I'm traveling alone, I need only to please myself! I should add that I'm flying in and out of Tokyo with friends, then we go our separate ways (though we may meet up for lunch at Google Tokyo). So at least I can lob spitballs at their heads during our 11-hour flight. I found a convenient hotel near the train station for that first night, so we all booked it. It will be easy to get outta town on the bullet train the next day.

I've been wanting to visit Japan since I was 11. I don't know why it took me so long, though I am not a fan of Japanese food, so maybe that's part of the reason. I am a huge fan of Japanese culture and aesthetic sensibility. If I had a bucket list, which I don't, seeing Kyoto in the fall would be at the top of the list.

  • I purchased a Japan Rail Pass. This can save you money, but must be purchased before you leave for Japan—it is physically mailed to your non-Japanese address. Their website has a page to help you evaluate whether it makes sense for you. It's definitely saving me money. My rail pass cost $405 for 14 days.
  • I pre-ordered a portable wifi device. Wifi can be spotty in Japan, based on the experiences of numerous friends. Some hotels/Airbnbs provide a free portable wifi, but I ordered one to be delivered to my hotel the first night. You can also pick it up from the airport, but the airport railway office closes for the night, and I'm landing late in the day. If my plane is delayed, the office might be closed. Use the https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/services/pocket-wifi link to pre-order wifi. The jrpass.com/mobile_wifi link cost $20 more for the same dates, and had to be picked up at the airport. The link I used (the first one) delivers to an address in Japan for free. It cost me $79 to rent a device for 2 weeks, instead of the $97 offered by the second link.
  • Many businesses in Japan accept only cash, so you will burn through money. A good place to get cash is at a 7/11, which are plentiful, I'm told. I also purchased yen ahead of time here in San Francisco because I don't want to be scrambling for yen when I land late in the day, suffering from jetlag.
  • Many people in Japan don't speak English and I certainly don't speak Japanese. My friend Kathy (who is flying with me!) found some great phrase books at Kinokuniya, but I found my copies online. These "point-and-speak" books will be very useful! Let me give you a sampling from each. First, the general language book:
    From the food book:
  • Several people warned me not to expect hand towels in bathrooms, and to bring a package of hand wipes.

RIP, Nancy Zieman

Most of you have probably heard of the sad passing of Nancy Zieman. She was a pioneer in the field of home sewing. Many sewists of my age have seen (or been aware of) her TV show for years. She has been valiantly fighting bone cancer which was diagnosed a few years ago, and had metastasized from breast cancer.

Rest in peace, dear lady. Thanks for everything.


Britex Coat

I recently returned from a very special Design Outside the Lines retreat in Ashland, Oregon. Diane Ericson's guest teacher was Kathryn Brenne. Kathryn specializes in couture sewing, which was a fun juxtaposition to Diane's free, artistic approach. Both women are creative, but in different ways. Here are some pics from our week in Ashland. While there, I shared photos to Instagram, but you'll find more below.

My project for the retreat was a coat made from a gorgeous brocade from Britex (which is currently on sale).

I used many couture techniques on this coat and, once I returned home, I wanted to finish it before heading off to Japan. My goal was to finish last weekend, and I worked for many hours over both days. I attached the last covered snap at 11:50pm on Sunday, so I just made it. I haven't been able to take pics yet, but I hope to soon. Meanwhile, I posted many in-progress pics to Instagram.

Only chopped up scraps remained from the coat, thanks to the pattern matching and relatively small yardage I had. I pieced some of them together to make myself a travel bag. This reversible fabric is truly stunning.

Stay tuned for an actual blog post of the coat!


DOL Ashland 2017

Ashland DOL was so special, the more so because Margy came. She flew to San Francisco and we drove together to Ashland. (ROAD TRIP!) In fact, attending DOL was her idea. There were lots of friends I'd already met, and friends I only knew from the internet. It was so fabulous to see all of them in person!

Without further ado, here is a sampling from my hundreds of photos!

I got a haircut!

Crystal, a DOL attendee and friend of Diane's who lives in Ashland, is also a stylist. She cut hair for several of us. Can you imagine a more magical setting for a haircut?! It also meant I couldn't see what she was doing until it was done, but I trusted her completely.

Check out Crystal's tool belt!

Gayle captures the moment I see my haircut. I love it!

With Gayle (who had just gotten her hair cut, too) and Crystal

I bought a hat! And, gee, you can see I really needed that haircut.

I met Wendy of West Zen Studio! I also saw Debra, her BSF (who I got set up on Instagram), again!

Gayle, of Gayle Ortiz, is positively glowing!

We've just arrived in Ashland, but Margy knows how to relax and soak up the atmosphere!

Look who welcomed us!

So good to see Diane Ericson again!

I was shopping at Lithia Park Shoes for some boots. No sooner had Margy sat down when this happened. Meet Athos, who is happy to share his orange fur.

I was thrilled to meet the uber stylish Leslie Gelber (who I "knew" through Instagram). Here she is with Crystal, hair stylist extraordinaire.

There is so much creativity in this spot, I'm surprised they didn't burn through the floor. Left to right: Debra, Leslie, Diane, and Gwen

Who knew Margy likes to photobomb?! With Wendy and Debra

One of the stylish Karen's, Karen T, is wearing a knotted necklace that she made from strips of red jersey knit. Ginny sits behind her.

Debra repurposes suit sleeves into these cute bags. I'm modeling it in the second pic.

Several of us tried on Kathryn Brenne's hat made from felted wool. I think it flatters everyone! Top row, me and Claire. Middle row, Marta and Roni. Bottom row, Wendy

Karen G and Margy

Diane and Karen T

Sherri and Marta

It was SO great to see Claire again! She made this top from a kimono. (She had some good tips about my trip to Japan.)

Karen G and I have a mutual friend in San Francisco who doesn't sew! Check out Karen's adorable floral boots!

Guess who surprised us by dropping in! Marcy and Katherine Tilton just happened to be in the area. Here is Marcy with Kathryn Brenne.

Kathryn Brenne and Katherine Tilton had never met before. (Why are there so many spellings of Catherine?) Left to right: Marcy, Katherine, and Kathryn

So good to see Katherine again!

Very special! (And thanks to Roni for this pic!)

Gayle is wearing a gorgeous vest she made at a previous DOL.

And here's the back.

This pic of Gwen and Margy makes me smile. We were headed to one of our favorite breakfast and lunch spots, Hither.

This shawl is one of Gwen's ongoing projects. She sews pebbles to it, in some cases to cover moth holes. Gwen is recently retired, so I'm expecting to see an uptick in her wonderful creative projects!

It was so good to see Kathryn again! I'll be joining her tour in London next spring.

Debra found some earrings at Webster's that she thought Margy should buy. She didn't describe them to Margy, other than to say, "I saw some earrings at Webster's you should buy!" Margy found the right earrings. They are kind of hidden in this pic behind her hair. Oops.

Here we go! Cool, right?!

Shopping at Webster's. A yarn AND a wearable art clothing AND a jewelry store. A dangerous combo.

Webster's charming window display

Leslie is wearing an amazing coat that she made from some fabric painted by Miles Frode. It can be worn 3 ways—she is holding the bottom part that attaches to the jacket to make a full length coat. It's very clever!

I love the detail on the back of Leslie's (purchased) dress.

I love this photo of Gayle!

Kathryn helps Karen T.

Look at Leslie's amazing glasses!

Barbara, wearing a vest she made, watches Kathryn. Kathryn's fabulous capelet is just a knit rectangle, partially folded in the long direction, and closed with a buckle.

Wendy and Debra

Teaching also occurred. I liked the pieced hem on Diane's top.

A closeup of one of Diane's pieced samples.

Diane showing her fingerless gloves. I love the closures she's used on her top.

I love the removable, lattice collar!

A gorgeous coat featuring a lot of hand stitching.

Kathryn shows us her coat that features needle felting leather to wool.

Kathryn demonstrates the wraps from her latest Vogue pattern.

Kathryn demonstrates her technique of felting leather to wool.

Even sewing, Margy looks stunning! This was my view of the workroom.

Barbara

With Debra

Debra made this fabulous statement necklace using scraps of a Kantha quilt.

I bought this fabric, hand painted by Miles Frode.

Wendy and Debra at closing circle. Debra collected the charms on her necklace when she visited Paris with the Tiltons.

Karen G and Barbara

Roni and I, newly shorn

I've saved best for last! Lithia Park!

Lithia Park in the fall is stunning!
I have not retouched these photos in any way.

Sharon

My last pic as we left town. I like that I caught Margy climbing into the car

Edited to add: Check out Gayle's post that includes discussion about DOL!


Halloween 2017

We were busy sewing on Halloween! It was interesting to experience the day in Ashland. Those Ashland folk take Halloween seriously. They close Main street for a huge parade.

My Halloween costume

A tiny bit of the parade.

Does anyone get the reference? Can you explain it to me?

More parade

Kathryn Brenne took this pic in the hotel where DOL was held. The mother created all of these costumes for herself and her family. They came to the Ashland Springs Hotel to take their photos in front of its elegant fireplace. She was pretty dedicated to have 4 children in order to achieve the perfect Halloween costume. ;)

I watched most of the parade next to this adorable family. Mom was Cat in the Hat.

A Halloween decoration in Bloomsbury Books.

Remember the pussy bow I made for DD1's Halloween costume?

She was the Mad Hatter! (As portrayed by Johnny Depp.)

I also loaned her the spools of travel thread to make this sash belt.

Meanwhile, at Britex...

The employees at Britex compete every year for best Halloween costume. Visitors to the store vote for their favorite. I'm happy to report that Lindsey, DD1's close friend who has been working there for several weeks, won with a tribute to Carol Burnett's parody of "Gone with the Wind", "Went with the Wind". The original costume was designed by Bob Mackie.

For those not familiar, here's a 2-minute video where Carol Burnett talks about making this skit in 1976 (when I was a junior in high school... ahem). It has become a TV classic: