May-Bee

Busy-busy! It’s been a lot of work out in the garden but it’s looking pretty darn lush out there, isn’t it?

The Back 40 (Feet not Acres)

It’s all planted now and all that’s left to do is weed, water, weed, water… Oh, and harvest! A photo of our front garden (with the flowers and shrubs, not the veggies or the dye plants) was recently featured in an article in the local weekly newspaper so I guess other people have noticed and appreciated all our hard work. (Hint: Ours is the one labelled Mount Pleasant though we’re actually a few blocks further south in Riley Park. Also I disagree strongly with the “church-going seniors” epithet. Definitely not.) Anyhow, Thom’s elbow is quite a lot better now happily although we both have to pace ourselves carefully. It’s just too enjoyable being outside in the warm sunshine pulling weeds and deadheading flowers! Here’s an excellent article on why gardening is good for you in so many ways. Just don’t be tempted to overdo it. Ask me how I know!

Please pay special notice to our new extreme fence in the above photo. Not our idea at all. This was part of a grand backyard landscaping project by our next-door neighbours and it was A Major Pain In The Patootie TM! The workmen promised faithfully to be careful of our garden but they trampled flowers, broke raspberry canes, toppled bamboo and left footprints in my cabbages and kale. There’s still wooden pallets squashed up against the bent and broken blackberry branches on the outside of our back fence. They aren’t done yet either after more than a month of running backhoes, saws and nail guns. Ugh. Our neighbours keep apologising for the delays and the mess and to be fair they did include completely finishing in the fence on our side too thinking it would look nicer for us. Just glad I’m not paying for any of it. On the upside, the workmanship is not too bad considering the lack of skills training these young guys actually get. It’ll be interesting to see the effect when their yard is finished: deck, water feature, mini-golf (not kidding!), pathways etc. Please note that theirs is actually quite a bit smaller than ours. A regular city lot. And their house is considerably bigger. No accounting for how some people spend their money I guess. Hope they will actually use their outdoor playground more than they have up until now.

On our side, we’ve been upgrading a few of our lawn and patio furnishings. For starters the slap-dash wooden hammock stand Thom made a couple of years ago is really too heavy and awkward for us. (We will not mention that I’ve already fallen off the new one, will we? Too embarrassing. Though the bruise is coming along nicely.) Plus we needed a new bistro table (on order) and another sun umbrella that we don’t have to keep moving around. We spend a lot of time in our outdoor space so why not make it a little more comfortable. I would love a comfy couch or chaise longue but feel that our plastic resin chairs are good enough. Being on a corner lot with a completely see-through fence on the public side we’ve been reluctant to spend money on fancy outdoor living rooms in case they tempt someone to take them walkabout. It’s been known to happen. Anyway, we are definitely getting prepared for a return to family gatherings. Very soon now. The two older grandbeasties are next on the list for their Covid shots in a couple of weeks. That just leaves the Littlest Grandbeastie, who at 10 hasn’t been okayed for the vaccines yet. And of course none of us, not even 93-year-old Nana, has had a second dose either. So slow.

In crafty news, I finished a couple more sewing projects. These ones are all for me-me-me. First up, the first test version of Muna and Broad’s Sculthorpe Pants. Again, Leila and Jess have created the perfect pants pattern for me. I’m already wearing these to death!

Sculthorpe Pants

Obviously I took this photo before the cucumbers got planted. I’m encouraging them. The tomatoes are twice that size now! But I digress. I really like the lines of these tapered elastic-waisted pants with the extra side panels and the generous V-shaped pockets. It’s an opportunity for lots of topstitching and maybe opposing directional prints or colour-blocking. The fabric was the hemp canvas that I talked about dyeing teal blue with Procion in my last post. I’m wearing them here with my 4-year-old sweater (a much-modified James by Amy Miller) in oatmeal coloured yarn that I dyed with rhubarb root to this gorgeous golden yellow.

These Sculthorpes are the third M&B pants pattern I’ve tried and they needed NO mods for fit. None. I mean, really, good fitting pants are the Holy Grail for sewists, amiright? I like the way these work for me the way I like without any fuss. I’ve also tried the Glebe (wide-legged) and the Willandra (curved seam, flat-front) pants and they are also fabulous. Next I want to sew the Birchgrove (tapered, slash-pocket) pants though I don’t think I have any suitable fabric right now. The only ones I’m not likely to go for are the Noice Jeans since (unlike most people) I don’t wear jeans at all.

Muna and Broad have done really well in the short time (just over a year) that they’ve been in business. Leila in Canada does the pattern drafting and Jess in New Zealand does the web, social media etc. They create well-fitting, easy to sew garment patterns for that neglected category of sewists, the larger woman. When I bought my first pattern (Glebes) from them I was in the smallest size. Since then they’ve expanded down a couple more sizes so that it’s possible that their tops might also fit me now though I haven’t tried them, except for the Banksia Bralette which I love. This is the total opposite of most pattern lines! In bottoms my waist and hip measurements usually put me in anything from a 16 to a 20 depending on the company. M&B patterns go up to a 64″ bust and 71.5″ hip and promise that if you are larger than that, they will draft up for you. I mean, what service, eh? Who else offers that? Nobody. Obviously there was a glaring gap in the market and they filled it very nicely with easy stylish patterns and they continue to come up with new ideas. The most recent one is classic pajamas. But what works so well for me, at least, are the pants that already have all the fit mods built in: scooped crotch, tummy room, butt room (though I don’t need that so much any more), and a comfy wide elastic waist. What’s not to love?

There’s been quite a lot of controversy in the online sewing community about pattern sizing, especially in the upper ranges. There are those who will go so far as to boycott a pattern company that only caters to the usual smaller/straight/regular/whatever-euphemism-you-prefer body shape. As the owner of a non-standard body that straddles size ranges, I’m kind of reluctant to wade too far into the discussion. I don’t even know if I can call myself “fat” even though I definitely am carrying a lot of fat in my middle section. A “small fat” maybe? Who knew there were categories of “fat”? I do know that the subject is completely loaded with heavy political and emotional meaning. And for absolutely valid reasons. The public pressure put on the pattern companies in the past couple of years has definitely had some positive effects and many have expanded their ranges to include more body sizes. However, I personally feel that expecting a very small company (many indie pattern companies are only one or two people) to immediately cater to everyone of every shape and size is unrealistic. You just might have to do some of the work of fitting your own body yourself! Shockingly, even most thinner people need to make adjustments! It’s a normal part of sewing and one that I don’t think is emphasized enough. On the other hand, being able to at least start with something that is closer to your own body measurements can make a good fit so much easier to accomplish. Maybe my trouble is that I’m such a Betweenie that I see all sides of this subject and empathize with everyone?

Back to the sewing machine. My next finished garment is the cropped version of the Pona Jacket.

Canyon Jacket

I’m calling this one the Canyon Jacket because the colour of the heavy linen canvas dyed in madder and cutch reminds me of the rocks of the American Southwest. (Which I totally adore and miss visiting terribly!) The fabric is another choice for this pattern from Helen’s Closet that is heavier than recommended but, like the plaid denim long jacket, turned out just fine. This one has quite a lot more drape than the denim though. I used Janny, the heavy-duty Janome machine to sew it because I remembered how much trouble I had making Thom some shorts out of another piece of this fabric (dyed a much lighter pale sand) with my late lamented Pfaff. I broke so many needles! This time I used the Janome purple-tip 90/14 cobra-head needles which, even though this application isn’t specified in the written specs, were recommended by my dealer and they worked really well. Even better than a jeans needle. I wore one out but I didn’t break any this time. And Janny didn’t have any trouble sewing through the layers, though she did make a few rude noises! The seams are finished with Hong Kong binding that I cut from a vintage floral cotton scrap from deepest stash. I think I made a dress or something about 40 years ago for my darling daughter? Can’t quite remember now but she might know. I made the bias from a 24″ square and only had a very few yards left. A good stash, or collection if you prefer, is a valuable resource.

Pona Insides

You can see I used my new name tag which matched the fabric nicely! You can see the canvas weave structure clearly in this photo too. It’s a lot softer than it looks but still heavy enough to be warm to wear. Also a pretty good dye job if I do say so myself! (And yes, I actually wove the placemat that just shows in the top of the picture. It’s in a Summer & Winter weave though, not canvas weave. Heh.) I’m wearing the jacket with my soft green sleeveless Farrow and brown self-drafted T-shirt and leggings. Also naturally dyed handknit socks and my good old Birkies. Apparently showing garments in a seated pose is helpful for sewists who are disabled (or sewing for the disabled) to judge better how the fit works in that position.

Shown Seated

This is a great easy to fit and easy to sew jacket that would be perfect for a more beginner level sewist. No buttonholes or set-in sleeves to worry about and as always with this company the instructions are very good. I didn’t crop the sleeves to a 3/4 length but left them long so I can turn them up. I thought that would be more versatile in styling and for extra warmth if I need it. One thing I didn’t like though are the pockets on this cropped version. They are slightly awkwardly placed and I ended up moving them more towards the centre front. But they still aren’t comfortable to put your hands into even though my ubiquitous hankie and iPhone fit fine. If/when I make another (from a lighter-weight fabric next time) I’ll experiment with pocket shapes and placements to see whether I can solve this. FYI the pockets actually hold the extra-wide front facings in place since they’re sewn through them as a last step. I like that. Floppy facings are my nemesis!

And last but not least I finished one more garment this month, the Lichen Duster from Sew Liberated.

Lichen Duster
Lichen Duster Back

Pardon the fact that I’m not sashaying about in this swishy garment for your delectation! It’s raining and dreary and I didn’t feel like modelling. Debbie Double is my stand-in but note that she has somewhat wider shoulders than I do. (Must fix that one day!) Anyway, this fabric is the rayon/linen that I dyed in Procion on the same day that I dyed the teal hemp for the Sculthorpes. (I was on a roll.) You might be able to see the “broken” patterning that turned out when the dyes split into their component colours. It’s more accurate (at least on my screen) than my original photo last post. The fabric is one of my favourites and I’m still working on the last several yards of a 50 yard bolt I had given to me nearly 14 years ago. It’s drapey but substantial, very fun to dye, takes a very nice pressing but of course wrinkles a lot, and is super easy to sew.

This pattern was less trouble to fit than I thought it would be. I printed a combination of a 12/14/16 but ended up just going with the 12 on the upper chest and shoulders and the 14 from the underarm down. There was enough ease to still overlap a few inches on the front. I didn’t want too much fabric flapping about! I did do some fairly major modifying of the shoulder/armhole area and recut the sleeve for my droopy shoulders and skinny arms. Hmmm…that doesn’t sound very nice, does it? Swanlike shoulders and svelte arms? <Snicker!> I just traced from another pattern that I’ve already fit the way I like so that wasn’t as big a deal as it sounds. Worked very well indeed and I can still fit a reasonable layer or two underneath.

I think the pattern is quite well-drafted and reminded me of a Tilton with all the pieces that you have to assemble. Though these are at least symmetrical and fit together quite closely on the fabric when cutting out. I was somewhat annoyed with the pattern instructions however. In a bid to support more beginner sewists, there was far too much verbiage with the seam finishing and admonishments and extra cautions and…blah, blah. As a very experienced sewist I actually found it ridiculously hard to follow just what to do next. As I usually do, I had printed the instructions in booklet format and the text turned out very teeny and the illustrations not especially clear or helpful. I ended up sitting down with my magnifier lamp and underlining just the pertinent information. Also making notes in the margins as I went in case I ever want to do this again. There may be only room for one Lichen in my life however. It’s a very lovely pattern but for me it’s quite formal? Okay, not really formal but somewhat more dressy than my normal mucking-about lifestyle dictates anyway. We’ll see how much wear it actually gets.

I did have much fun doing reverse flat-fell seams everywhere I possibly could. The armscyes are finished with faux French seams which are a bit lumpy but the seam was too curved for flat-fell. I hand-stitched the back neck facing down with a catch-stitch and it looks pretty good but now I’m wondering if I need to go all the way down the very long front facings too. The jury is still out. I was going to wear it awhile before deciding if it needs it. But you know how I feel about floppy facings, right? Nemesis. Me and Lichen and a needle and thread may be spending some quality time together.

So I guess that’s enough blathering for now. It’s been fairly sunny but not too warm for days and days so it seems odd to have a full day of rain today. It was lovely to see it anyhow, saving me from having to water the garden. Unfortunately it’s a bit chilly with a high of only 15C just as my beans are all unfolding themselves from the soil. Poor babies. They’re one of the few things I actually plant directly without growing them as seedlings first. Peas are the other one. No flowers yet but I’m hopeful soon. I wait all year for fresh snap and snow peas and for fresh green (or yellow or burgundy or purple-splotched) beans. The ones in the stores are awful.

Oh and if you live where it’s going to be visible, there’s a Super Blood Flower Moon Eclipse tomorrow night! Or actually early Wednesday morning. It’s probably going to be too cloudy to see here. I’m so disappointed because we’re in the path of the full blood eclipse on the west coast. I was nearly ready to get up at Oh-Dark-Thirty to see it but meh. Rain clouds. Sad face. We caught the Super Blood Wolf Moon back in 2019 and it was amazing. Magical. Oh well, it’ll happen anyway even if I don’t get to see it! The Real Universe is like that. It goes on with or without me.

Making While the Sun Shines

A whole month whipped past me when I wasn’t looking! How does that happen? The weather was mostly quite lovely but not exceptionally warm especially at night. I’ve been slaving away either in the garden or in the studio and reading books when I get too tired to work any more. I haven’t been especially active online and am falling way behind on social media. Oh well! This is usually the busiest time of year for me anyhow because the garden needs lots of work after the winter to get it ready for the growing season. Thom is having trouble with his elbow (possibly tennis elbow due to injury, not playing tennis!) so his level of assistance is reduced from the usual. At least my back and wrists are holding out pretty well and I’m being very careful not to overtax anything. Exercise is great but we have to be aware of doing damage to our aging bodies. It takes a lot longer to heal after 70! It used to be me with all the ouchies but recently I’ve been fine and Thom has not. It’s a tough job but somebody has got to keep things going around here.

My dye garden is all planted now.

Damselfly’s Dye Garden

From the foreground and following along the narrow curving bed there’s dyer’s coreopsis, marigolds, perennial coreopsis, madder, dyer’s chamomile, more madder, Japanese indigo and a couple of weld plants I left in from last year. Here’s a better look at the baby indigo.

Japanese Indigo & Some Weld

So hopefully there will be some dyeing going on later this summer when these guys grow up. Although last week I already enjoyed a day of dyeing some fabric that I wanted to sew, but with Procion MX dyes this time instead of botanical ones.

Freshly Dyed Fabrics

The colours are a little off: the blue hemp canvas is a deeper teal and the murky brown rayon/linen is more saturated too. The dyes “broke” on the latter fabric for some reason. I know that I did stir it as much as I could manage with so much heavy fabric. At least I was wise enough to divide the 6 yards into 2 three-yard lengths and used two buckets but I think the plum dye has a tendency of splitting up into its component pure dye colours so the fabric came out a plummy brown patterned with bluish-grey. It’s reasonably consistent though and I quite like the effect. The hemp canvas was also 3 yards and it was heavier weight too but it dyed exceptionally evenly, but perhaps lighter than I expected. Dyeing is always an adventure and you can never really predict how it will go. All of these pieces are already cut out for garments and I’ve started to sew the teal canvas into Muna and Broad’s Willandra Pants. The rayon/linen will become a Sew Liberated Lichen Duster for me and yet another Elbe Textiles Sanders Button-Up shirt for Thom. These fabrics have been lurking about in my stash for at least 15 years and I even have enough thread, interfacing and buttons (recycled from an old shirt) for everything. So nice to use stuff up. I’m very grateful for my copious stash because I’m still trying to avoid shopping as much as possible. Even though we finally got our first Covid jabs a couple of weeks ago the local situation with the more virulent variants is quite dire. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

So I guess I never posted the last Sanders Button-Up I made, did I?

Sanders Button-Up Shirt #2

It was hard to get a perfect photo because Thom put it on right away and wore it every day for the better part of a week! Guess that means it’s a keeper, huh? The fabric is a cross-weave linen in navy and natural tan. This time I increased some of the seam allowances so I could make flat-fell seams instead of relying on serging to finish them. It worked out very well so I’ll probably be modifying the pattern accordingly. I’ve already downsized the cuffs and took off half of the 2″ that I originally lengthened the sleeves. He loves the pockets on this shirt a lot because they are nice and deep and his glasses don’t fall out. The back has a little shaping and the cute little hanging loop.

Sanders Back View

I also cut out a cropped Helen’s Closet Pona Jacket in another dyed fabric, linen canvas dyed in madder and cutch several years ago. It’s thick but drapier than the plaid denim I made my first Pona out of. Instead of the cropped sleeves I went with the longer version. I figure I can always roll them up if I want them shorter but you can’t add length that doesn’t exist. So I have a bunch of garments all cut out now and waiting for their turn at the machines.

Dyed Linen Canvas

Do you like my new orange-on-brown tags from the Dutch Label Shop? They’re very similar to my old lime-green-on-black ones but I think they will blend better with warmer coloured garments like my soon-to-be Pona jacket. I still have lots of the first ones left but it’s nice to have a new option to play with.

I’ve also finished knitting another pair of socks for Thom but they’re currently drying from their post-needle bath so you’ll have to wait for the scoop. I haven’t really had any knitting mojo lately so it’s nice to actually finish a project. They are just plain so I can read while I knit which is obviously the secret to getting it done! However, I’m becoming interested again in knitting a cowl from a really pretty skein of merino and silk from Seawall Fibres (Nova Scotia) that I bought in 2018 at Knit City.

Silk & Wool Yarn

It’s not exactly the right time of year for a cowl but who cares? It’ll probably take me until it gets cold again to finish it anyhow. More on this project when (or if) it becomes an actual project.

I will leave you with this glorious bit of hanami, aka cherry blossom appreciating, from our neighbourhood. The blossoms of the plums and cherries were very intense this year, maybe because it was still pretty cold at night. Petals are falling like pink snow now though!

Sakura

For such as these I make an exception to my aversion to the colour pink!

Sproing!

Spring has sprung in a big way around here, even though we had one more frost yesterday morning one day past our average last frost date. The daffodils are blooming and the plum and cherry trees are covered in pink and white. So pretty! I’ve got my peas and potatoes in. I was happy to finally find the Prince of Orange seed potatoes that grow so well for me at the garden store. They are so good that I didn’t even plant any last year (or the year before, come to think of it) and still harvested an ice-cream bucket full of volunteers! I decided this year to dedicate an entire bed to them. Just because. Meanwhile I’ve been planting wee seeds in the basement Grow-Op.

It’s a mini-jungle!

Now I need to start transplanting these guys into bigger pots so I can put them out into the greenhouse before tucking them into their garden beds. I started to prep the bed for the mustards yesterday but the soil was so wet it stuck to my shovel. Yuck. And today our next door neighbour has workmen ripping things out to put in a new fence between our properties so I’m hiding out where I can’t watch them trample the raspberries. They’re trying to be careful but not really succeeding terribly well. At least we don’t have to pay for the fence. They’re doing some major backyard renovation and replacing all the fences all the way around. Fine by me as long as it doesn’t block any more of my precious light than the former eyesore. Good fences make good neighbours, right?

In crafting news, I haven’t really finished anything at all since last post. I repaired a few pairs of socks. My red kneesocks blew a hole in one heel and the other was dangerously thin so instead of duplicate stitches, my usual fix, I picked up stitches and knit a replacement heel. When I was done I grafted the free stitches onto the sock and then did a bit of freeform stitching underneath to secure the loose ends of the hole.

Preparing to graft the heel stitches to the sock.
Underneath the heel patch
Repaired!

The other sock didn’t yet have a hole but it was dangerously thin. I decided to make the pair match I’d do the same knit-on patch as the first sock. It feels a little thicker under my heel than the one with the actual hole but it’s not really a problem. Now I can wear them again.

I’m up to the heel turn on yet another pair of socks, these ones for Thom. The knitting is going very slowly but still faster than that last pair! They are very plain but the yarn is so nice I’m almost regretting letting him have this one. Oh well. There’s lots more sock yarn in the stash.

And speaking of Thom, the second version of the Sanders Button-Up Shirt (pattern from Elbe Textiles) in a nice linen cross-dye (darkest navy warp woven with a natural tan weft). I’m nearly finished. Just sleeves and buttons/buttonholes left to go. Meanwhile, Debbie Double is wearing it and putting lady bumps in the front! Yes, it’s truly navy blue and tan but the optical mixing makes it look charcoal grey.

Shirt in progress, lightened up a bit to show detail

This time I left myself wider seam allowances so I could do much neater flat-fell seams instead of serging them and topstitching. The look on the outside is the same but the inside is a whole lot prettier. I’ll be sure to show a detail photo when the shirt is completed.

What else? I bought Muna and Broad‘s latest pants pattern, the Birchgrove Pants. These have an elastic waist, tapered legs and slash pockets and are suitable for a wide range of different medium weight fabrics. I have a piece of linen (I think!) fabric that would be perfect for them but it’s in need of a trip to the dyepot first. I was kind of waiting until it was warm enough to do it outdoors comfortably. Which I guess could be very soon, no? I’m trying to become more used to wearing pants made from woven fabrics instead of knits. Unfortunately I still find knits more comfortable! But I like that M&B pants fit me so well with very little tweaking necessary. Their patterns call for 1-1/2″ wide elastic for the easy factor but I need to get some. My local shops don’t have non-roll in this width. And I’m afraid that if I go shopping in a real store, I might lose my determination and buy more fabric!! I’ve been doing really well for over a year of working from the stash. Still not diminished nearly far enough to be reasonable. Too many boxes still lurking about in the attic. It’s a challenge.

Mid-Month Roundup

Hey, lookee! I actually got around to a post before the end of the month! I’m impressed with me. Heh.

So I’ve been working a lot in the garden on nice days. I can only manage a couple of hours at a time so I’m attempting to pace myself out accordingly. I haven’t actually started to plant seeds indoors yet. We’ve still occasionally been having some frost in the mornings so it’s not urgent. However, the veggie beds are turned, perennials manured and clean-up begun. The dye garden is ready to plant when it warms up enough. I haven’t gotten to the front garden yet, but Thom has been raking and pruning out there. You can always tell where my priorities lie when I spend most of my energy on the vegetable and dye gardens first! And leaving the flowers and shrubs to the last. Thom and I have a division of labour where he does the mowing and most of the pruning and raking and I do the fiddly planting, weeding and harvesting. What a team!

Meanwhile, I sewed a couple more things. First I made a wearable muslin for Thom.

Sky Blue Shirt

The pattern is the Sanders Button-Up from Elbe Textiles. It’s a lovely detailed design with pockets hidden in a front yoke and a shaped and pieced back.

Button-Up Back

The sides were quite shaped and Thom isn’t so I straightened out that seam but left the shaping in the back. It fits the way he likes, not too tightly around the waist and hip. The cuffs are a little loose though so I’ve reduced them for next time. The fabric is the hemp muslin that I dyed last summer with fresh Japanese indigo leaves from my garden. It’s quite blotchy and pale but it’s holding up to laundry okay so I’m considering it a successful dye experiment. It reminded me of the sky with clouds so Sky Shirt is now its official name.

The only thing I didn’t really like is that the main seams have a faux flat-fell finish, serged and then topstitched. I prefer an actual reverse flat-fell but the seams are only 1 cm so couldn’t do that on this one. However, I’ve already cut out a second version and left the formerly serged seams wider so that I can experiment with finishing them my way. The place where the pockets meet the front yoke might be a bit tricky. We shall see.

The second item sewn is my view B version of the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns. This design is based on a vintage French worker’s jacket. The belt wraps the gentleman’s way underneath the front flap, through a slot and then around the body to a double D-ring closure. It takes a wee bit of fiddling to get into or out of! The pockets are capacious and as well as the outside left breast pocket, there’s a larger interior pocket on the right side. Perfect for my cell phone.

Sienna Maker Jacket

The fabric is a very heavyweight brushed bull denim that’s been in my stash for quite a few years. I love it so much that I didn’t want to use it on the wrong garment!

Jacket Back View

I had a difficult time (as usual) figuring out which size pattern to go with. Closet Core has this in two ranges, one based on a B-cup bust and one based on a D-cup. The curvier range starts at a size 14 which is the middle of the 3-4 sizes I need to grade across to fit my body so I needed to reduce the shoulders, armholes and sleeves which is quite tricky. I couldn’t graft on the upper bodice in a smaller size in the regular size range because the two ranges are actually quite different drafts. Luckily I’ve got lots of well-fitting patterns to check against to get the changes right that I had to make. The easier part of the grading is from the size 14 out to a 16 just above the waist to the hem. Then I bravely went ahead and cut out the jacket, not making a muslin this time. And miraculously it fits really well.

Speaking of the differences in the two size ranges (which very kindly come together in the download so you don’t have to choose ahead of time or buy the pattern twice), unlike the B-cup the D-cup range has a bust dart and a curved back seam and side seams. The design includes some nice tailor-ish details like a proper bias under collar and a two-piece sleeve. The instruction booklet is very clear and detailed and I had no difficulties figuring out how this jacket went together. I sewed it all with cotton thread and a size 90 jeans needle using my heavy duty Janome machine with the straight-stitch throat plate and foot. The seams were quite thick but Janny made it through it all pretty well. Unfortunately I didn’t discover that I actually have a hump-jumper tool until I was almost finished!

Multi-Use Sewing Tool

It’s been in my drawer for about 25 years (it originally came as an insert in a magazine) and I’ve always just used it just as a point turner. I had to look up how to use this type of tool since I never tried it before. But hey-ho! It’s quite functional in helping to get my presser foot over the bulky seams! I could have used it on a number of sewing projects before now. Better not lose it in the drawer again.

I finished the jacket completely inside with reverse flat-fell, turned under or in the case of the armhole seams, a faux French seam.

Jacket Insides

The only downside to this jacket is that it’s very warm so only suitable for cooler weather wear. It would be fine as an extra layer in my chilly house in mid-winter too. I can wear it open but only if I put the tail of the belt in my pocket. Otherwise it’s so long it drags on the ground!

Jacket Undone

I seem to have been on quite a jacket sewing roll lately! Three done this year so far and I still have one more in mind. Hopefully I’ll get to it before it’s too warm to wear a jacket at all.