Flannel pants

After a lot of work, here they are.  Hemming, either with an outside ankle slit, or not, is the only sewing part left to complete. The right leg has a slit; the left leg doesn’t at this point.

There’s lots of details on making these so continue reading at your peril, or just skip to the photos at the end.

I did the London shrink before cutting it out. I cut it out using a nap layout. Very careful examination in bright sunlight showed a subtle difference between one side and the other. Both sides have the brushed texture typical of flannel. One side has a slight twill weave look – I decided this was the right side of the fabric.  It was  fun working with this fabric – easy to handle and frayed very little.

I used a myriad of resources to see photos and illustrations for sewing the finicky parts:

  • dug out my trusty old Burda 3098 pants pattern for the detailed fly instructions
  • Burda 3098 again and Threads Sewing Guide for angled front pockets
  • pulled out the waistband binding pattern piece from the never made Vogue Anne Klein 1294

I attached the fly shield to the zipper tape before attaching to the front piece, a la Ottobre Woman instructions (see the 5/2013 issue).

I shortened the legs a total of 4 1/4 inches – 3/4″ above the knee, 1 ” below the knee, cut off 21/2 ” at the hem.  I have short legs and I think these pants are designed with extra length at the ankles for a slouchy bunched up look.

Another sewer made these pants a few years ago and posted photos on Burdastyle.com – she has them turned up – have a look here. (link to Burdastyle.com)


side view

I trimmed away 3/8″ at the centre back seam tapering to nothing at the side seam to get rid of excess length at the back – I’m very happy with the fit at the butt and below.

back view

backview 2

I think the waistband would have benefited from firmer/stiffer interfacing – I used a fusible weft interfacing.

inside front detail

I destroyed my old camera last week – I’m learning all the fancy new features on the replacement.

The Boulevard Coat

I picked up the coat this past weekend.  I’m delighted with it.  With the lightweight open weave fabric it’s not a three season coat. It will probably be worn only in early fall and  late spring.

B6244 hanger

B6244 Coat side

coat front B6244

B6244 coat back

Unfortunately, the coat fabric seems to wrinkle very easily.

I had a sewing and cutting marathon sewing on Monday and Tuesday, cutting out the all the dress pieces from the fashion fabric and lining, save the sleeves.  The skirt, with added side seam pockets, is sewn together, as is the bodice.  I basted the bodice together in its entirety to check the fit before any machine stitching was completed.  The front princess seams needed some tweaking below the bust to improve the fit. I think I should have reduced the size of the bust dart.

I’m going to make a bracelet length sleeve – I compared the sleeve from Simplicity 3833 to the dress sleeve – it’s very similar – the 3833 sleeve is a bit narrower across the upper arm. I like that this sleeve has an elbow dart to give some shaping.

After taking a break from sewing today, it’s back to sewing tomorrow.

Lisette B6244, coat and dress

wool poly blend

I bought the caramel colour wool/poly crepe-like fabric earlier this year, knowing it would end up as a fall/winter dress. I had lots of time to decide on what dress pattern to use. At first, Vogue Easy Options 8828 was a likely candidate – love the shoulder princess seam design. Then, Vogue 9092 Custom (cup) Fit was released. Finally, I saw the Butterick fall patterns and Lisette 6244. Each pattern is a variation of my work dress “uniform”: closer fitting bodice and A line skirt.

What sold me on 6244 was the added coat pattern and the fact that it’s a Liesl Gibson/Lisette pattern. I’m a Lisette fan – they fit me well, love most of the designs, easy to sew yet have style that is sometimes lacking in easy to sew patterns.

B6244 Image from butterick.mccall.com

The coat, in both colour and collar design, reminded of my ridiculous decision to make up the famous, reissued Issey Miyake coat (Vogue 1476) several years ago in my pre-blogging days. I had purchased more than 4 meters of expensive, loosely woven wool/lambs’ wool fabric to make it up.  Other than the massive pattern pieces to cut out and manage when sewing, it’s not a difficult to sew pattern. I started sewing it but never finished – my smaller frame was overwhelmed by all that fabric. So the unfinished coat and leftover fabric was stashed away until I had 6244 in my hands.

very wrinkled fabric

very wrinkled fabric

A couple of weekends ago, I cut out out the pattern pieces, then compared the coat pattern pieces and the unfinished coat and remnant to see if the Lisette coat could be cut out from it – answer is yes, though on the cross grain because of the old coat’s back yoke seam and a few tiny moth holes. Cutting out the dress and coat pattern pieces and making length and size merging adjustments on all the pieces was as far I got. I do a lot of pattern prep and most of my cutting out at my parents’ house because there is a large table. I could tell my mother was very interested; she likes the coat pattern too and doesn’t do much sewing any more as she doesn’t have the need for a large variety of clothes.  So it wasn’t much of a surprise when I heard she sewed up the coat for me.  I’m itching to pick it up this weekend!

Next week, a few days of my vacation will be spent cutting out and sewing the dress. [Reminder to self –  add side seam pockets to the dress].  The dress is lined to the edge – a good feature for me as wool and my skin don’t always get along.  The sleeves will be lengthened to three quarter length or bracelet length. Will also check out the fall fabrics to see if there is something suitable for the contrast yoke and bodice side panels.

image from butterick.mccall.com

Just saw on the Lisette blog today that there is a  October 14-16 coat sew-along. Can also see it in action: 

When Lisette patterns were part of Simplicity, each pattern had a name in addition to the pattern number. Now at Butterick, they just have the number. I’m going to dub this pattern the Boulevard dress and coat.

Happy sewing, wearing and some photos to come soon!

Tweaking the fit

The waistband is the only major part of the pants that needs to be done. The front pockets and the fly are finished. Now it’s tweaking the fit in the crotch and waist. After all my talk about making welt pockets, I didn’t make them. My mother, knowing my perfectionist tendencies, knew it wouldn’t be easy to get a finish I would be happy with, given the soft fabric and my novice welt pocket making skills.

In these photos the waistband is basted in place. Surprisingly, the waistband feels a bit loose at this stage. Size 38 Burda waistbands usually fit me spot on and I’ve gained a few pounds and extra weight on me goes to my waist and hips first.

Notice how the pants bunch up around her ankles. There must be some extra length in addition to the narrow legs at the ankle to make all that bunching. As these are meant to be dressier work pants and I have short legs, I’ll have to take offanother 2 1/2 inches or so on the legs to get them so they don’t look like I couldn’t be bothered to shorten them.

Never noticed until now how close the colour of my wool flannel is to the cotton twill used for the magazine version.
magazine photo


three quarter view


My top is bunched up below the waistband, especially on the left side in the last photo.

Issues to think about and try to fix:

  • Maybe I added a bit too much to the crotch length?
  • Still have the diagonal wrinkles going towards the side seams despite making adjustments to get rid of this – maybe they will disappear once the waistband is one completely?
  • Need to take away at the front crotch curve like I did on the muslin.

Goodbye summer, hello fall

As a way to clean up the mess that is my sewing room, I made one more summer item:

The leftover fabric from the still-to-be-finished Portfolio dress became this top.


side viewback viewBurda Easy 8639

The pattern is from 2002. I made the short sleeve jacket and skirt about 10 years ago. The first version of the sleeveless top is still worn on occasion – it’s old enough that the mustard yellow colour is back in style.

I lengthened the top at the hem by one inch on the front and 2 1/4 inches at the back and rounded the corners in a slight nod to the high-low hem trend.

Now I need to put on the sleeve bands on the Caya dress so I can wear it on Monday.

Pants plain and fancy

The knee length muslin  for Burdastyle 109 was cut out on the weekend and sewn up yesterday evening (if only the real pants could be sewn up in 1 hour).  I searched the blogosphere when considering this pattern for my wool flannel and couldn’t find that anyone has made up these pants and blogged or posted about it.
image from burdastyle.de

Before cutting out the muslin, I shorted above the knee by 3/4 inch, below knee by 1 inch and expect to shorten at the hem – the pattern has the finished length from the waist at 44 inches- my side seam length is somewhere around 40 inches. I extended the crotch depth length up one size and tapered down to my regular size at the knee to accommodate my curvy teardrop butt.

The pocket design and details sold me on the pattern – I prefer angled front pockets and they have the pocket piece extending into the centre front for a neat look – this should be required design for front pant pockets. I also feel up to the challenge of making welt pockets on a garment, though I will do a practice run on the muslin before trying doing it successfully on the wool flannel.

front 1


Barely any below the butt wrinkles

Barely any below the butt wrinkles

Will attach the waistband in the next few days to see how that changes the fit.

Of course, the perplexing descriptive-only Burdastyle magazine instructions aren’t terribly helpful for visual learner me. I searched my pattern stash and found this 20 year old Vogue Geoffrey Beene wardrobe pattern – there are instructions for curved single welt pockets and double welt pockets on the dress (my mother made the dress nearly 20 years ago for me to wear to a cousin’s wedding).

circa 1995

circa 1995

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[The wool acetate blend dress still hangs out in my closet nearly 20 years after its sole wearing.]

I rarely buy designer or such complicated designs – it’s fascinating to see and read the designer details as I’ve read through the instructions.  When my mother made the dress for me, I had a lot of Perry Ellis or Calvin Klein clothes – now that I do most of my sewing, it’s not so complicated as I don’t have the same skill set as my mother.

The GB pants, which I have always thought are an interesting design, have the pocket piece cut in one with the the back pant piece- there are darts in the pocket piece!   The pant has a deep back yoke for the waistband with the tucked front pant waist being stayed and faced. The 70’s look is coming back in style, so maybe in another 10-15 years the 90’s look will return.

V1654 back pant detail

The heat of the sun

Last weekend, these three partially feathered birds (vireos) were eager to be fed. This weekend they were nowhere to be seen. Either they fledged in the intervening seven days or they became a little snack for something higher up on the food chain.


Our resident chipmunk,  who lives under the front door stairs, scolded me for the disturbance when I fired up the barbeque.


There’s a herd of cattle, a pod of whales, a murder of crows… there’s a clan (?) of vultures sunning on the roof of this old barn.

The vulture clan

What does this have to do with sewing?…I need to shade my eyes and head when seeing all this natural beauty at the cottage.

I finished this hat, view B from Burdastyle 7117. The outer fabric and the crown lining is cotton chambray. For the side piece lining, I  used soft cotton – omitted interfacing this piece to reduce the heat factor.  As you can see from the slight wrinkling on the back inside brim, the (uninterfaced) part stretched where it was bias cut.

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I’m well shaded from the sun.

Caya Dress

Thrilled with the outcome, (though the sleeve bands haven’t been put on yet and the skirt  and skirt flounce hem needs pressing).

It’s easy to sew, has a good fit, simple but with the nice details of the wide neckband and underbust band.

Although flounces, ruffles or gathers are design details I typically avoid, I made the tiered flounce on the skirt as it was too plain without it. I did a bit of practice on fabric scraps to determine the zigzag stitch width and length and how much to stretch it when doing the lettuce edging on the tiers.

skirt flounce

The skirt ends just below the middle of my knee – I think it would have looked better an inch or so shorter.


Caya bands

Doing the neckband and underbust band are the most time consuming parts of this easy to make dress.

upper bodice

upper bodice


I stay-stitched inside the stitching line on the front bodice at the base of the V, after fusing a small square of interfacing there, to be sure I ended up with a neat  and stable V point join. Colour in photo is somewhat like the real thing.

neckband joined to bodice

My attempt at using clear elastic for gathering was unsuccessful.  Don’t like using the stuff now or the first time I used it on another knit fabric garment. Notice how it isn’t gathered enough on the right side of the photo. I will either: 1. practice on fabric leftovers, 2. use lingerie elastic and hope it works, 3. pretend it’s woven fabric and put in easing stitches and pull it together.

bust gathering

Here’s the inside of the  backband. With three layers of fabric, I did careful though messy seam grading. The lower seam wasn’t graded  or pressed in these photos.

inside back waistband

inside back waistband

outside back waistband