Army Fatigue Jacket Made Cozy, Cozy, Cozy.

Army Fatigue Jacket Unzipped

Army Fatigue Coat Front Zipped and OpenThis month’s challenge for The Monthly Stitch was to sew something from a sewing book.  I have SO many sewing books, where to start?  Actually, I began with Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, and am at work on a project from it as well as a review.  Next, I also have the sewing book, Twinkle Sews and began work on a project from there, in addition to a review of the book.Army Fatigue Jacket Hands in Pockets

Sew Stylish Magazine Front and Back

Sew Stylish Magazine, Fall 2013

But then, the latest issue of Sew Stylish came out (Fall, 2013) and right on the back cover was a photo of an army fatigue jacket with the pattern and instructions included in the magazine.  So, since it is officially snowing here and I happened to be VERY cold at the time of purchase, I immediately went to work making the jacket out of a cozy wool blend, that feels soft, like a sweater blanket.

Army Fatigue Jacket Front and BackI opted not to add the inner drawstring channel and cord, since I thought it looked crisper and more tailored without it.Army Fatigue Jacket Front collar down"Model Pose"....or something....Work with me

“Model Pose”….or something….Work with me

I wanted to bind all the edges in the fuchsia pink, but this type of fabric has thick woolen threads weaved into it in order to create the flecks of colour and it raveled as the long threads separated from the raw edges almost immediately. Jacket Fabric and Separating ZipperSewing on the bias tape then resulted in many failed attempts as the threads pulled from the edges of the fabric, taking the bias tape with them.

Mah Bias Binding Matches Mah Mittens

Mah Bias Binding Matches Mah Mittens

But, I did manage to attach the bias binding to the edges that mattered, ie, the facing and hem, areas that you would see easily if the jacket were unzipped.  The remaining raw edges were over-locked.

Bam!  Fuchsia binding.

Bam! Fuchsia bias binding

The jacket has a long two-way separating zipper, (i.e., it can unzip from the bottom and the top) and deeeeeeeep patch pockets.

Warm, cozy, deep patch pockets

Warm, cozy, deep patch pockets

Some notes on enlarging pattern pieces:  First, number both the sides and top and bottom of the grid on each pattern piece.  Next, photocopy each pattern piece separately, then trim around the outside of the piece.

Fatigue Jacket Pattern PiecesThis way, when you go to enlarge the pieces and need to tape the multiple pages together, you can easily match the corresponding numbers on the top and sides of the grid.  You can also opt to copy the pieces either bigger or smaller than the intended size.  I photocopied mine so that each square was 6/8″ instead of the intended 1″ square, in order to shrink the overall size of the pattern.

Snow.  Wheeee!!!!

Snow. Wheeee!!!!

Snow WheeeeAre free magazine sewing patterns recommended?  It depends on what you are attempting to make.  Simple items, where little can go wrong are likely better than something with more complicated pieces.  Also, I don’t think the same amount of editing, thought and care goes into the instructions and pattern drafting for the free magazine patterns as there would be for independent or larger pattern company patterns, and therefore errors can definitely result.  For this jacket, one of the diagrams was wrong, causing me to insert the zipper backwards.  (I had to re-do the whole thing and it’s a 32″ zip!)  I also made my cape out of a free magazine pattern and found that the instructions to enlarge it were wrong.  I would recommend that you not be a complete beginner and have some sewing experience before you use one of the free magazine patterns.  That way, you can tell beforehand if/when there is an error and correct it.

Army Fatigue Jacket Unzipped

Hello Kitty!  In his sweater knit by Gramma.

Hello Kitty! In his sweater knit by Gramma.

Stay tuned for Blogpost Part 2, which I will post next week, where I will have, hopefully, completed the two projects from Gertie’s and Twinkle’s sewing books.  Edit:  Both completed and blogged here!

Kitty Photobombed

Sweater-Kitty Photo-bombed

Superhero Checklist: Cape…check. Pantone Fall 2013 Colours…check

Cape and Collar Scarf TieThose wonderful and talented kids from Wellington have done it again and now Kat, Mel and Juliet have created The Monthly Stitch where a new sewing challenge is issued monthly.  The August 2013 Challenge was to sew a cape!  I have always, always, always wanted a cape.  I’ve never sewn one, never worn one, never owned one.  So, this was the perfect opportunity to Make It So.  There have already been some fantastic makes in this challenge, it was very inspiring to see the cape in all its forms.Cape Front View CollageI used a pattern by Christine Haynes from a Quick Stuff to Sew, Winter 2011 magazine that I had. Quick Stuff To Sew Magazine ArticleI loved the deep side slits as they allow for range of motion, i.e., you can actually move about and DO things while wearing your cape.  There were some issues with enlarging the pattern.  If you followed the 980% instructions, then the 1 inch squares became too big.  So, I wasn’t sure which was correct, enlarging to 980% or having the squares measure to 1″.  In the end, I tried on the ‘paper muslin’ and enlarged it to a size that worked for me.Collar Tie and Cape ViewAnd, more exciting news, the Sew Weekly Challenge has returned!  I had not even begun sewing yet when they were blogging and issuing sewing challenges the first time around, so I’m delighted to be able to participate now.  The August 2013 Sew Weekly Challenge was to make something out of the Pantone Fall 2013 Colours. 2013-Fall-Color-Trend-PantoneThe colour I chose for the cape is called Vivacious and the fabric is a medium/heavy wool blend.  According to the Pantone Fashion Color Report, Fall, 2013:

Vivacious is an unruly and wildly deep fuchsia, and adds an ebullient sensuality to the palette.

Sounds too fabulous, yes?  How could I possibly resist the lure of that?!Cape BackCape and Collar Tie Side View I underlined each cape piece in a deep navy/indigo bemberg lining fabric and finished off all raw edges with navy bias tape.

Navy/Indigo Bemberg Underlining and Bias Taped Edges

Navy/Indigo Bemberg Underlining and Bias Taped Edges

Cape Open CollageI was originally going to make 1″ bias tape for the necktie, as the pattern called for, out of navy fabric to match the lining, but being part of a Pantone Colour Challenge, it began to feel a bit one-dimensional.  So, I chose this lovely silky smooth cotton which incorporated the Pantone colours: Vivacious Pink, Acai Purple, Linden Green, Deep Lichen Green and Carafe, all together.  Cape Collar Tie FabricThe colour combination of pinks/purples/greens and olive-brown complement each other so beautifully.  Pantone Fall 2013 Colours UsedColour Theory:

On the colour wheel, the Vivacious shade of pink (red/violet) is opposite the Linden green-yellow shade and is ‘complementary’.  Side ViewThis pairing creates contrast and keeps things lively and animated.  The acai purple (violet) is adjacent to the pink on the colour wheel, (these are called ‘analogous’ colours), which creates harmony and mellows things out.  The two greens are also analogous to one another, lending a calming effect.  ColourWheelThere is a mix of warm and cool colours which ensure the palette doesn’t become too one-dimensional.  The olive-brown colour is actually what you would get if you ‘mixed’ all these colours together and, therefore, fits effortlessly into the colour scheme.  The indigo/navy lining has enough purple in it to coordinate with these colours, and is also analogous to the acai purple/violet colour.  It is a very deep and dark shade, and so creates a grounding effect and provides a good backdrop for the other colours. This is what I’m hoping, anyway.  It all sounds good.  ;)

One Tie Over Shoulder Collage

One Tie Over Shoulder

Both Ties Over Shoulder

Both Ties Over Shoulder

For the collar/tie piece, I wanted something more lush than bias tape, so I interfaced the fabric with a fleece, to make it thick and cozy and similar in weight and thickness to the cape fabric.  I then cut and sewed two rectangles together with angled ends and just sewed it to the cape, all the way around the top.  Cape Closures and Collar Tie 2I had no idea how to make a collar/tie like this, just had a vision of what I hoped it to look like, but it did seem to work out well!  By adding this style of tie, it creates different options for wearing it and is also warmer.  I also wanted the cape to stay closed so sewed on some metal closures down the front.  And, what do these metal closures look like?  Little capes!  :)

Cat Bombed On the PhotoSet Collage

Who Let The Cat On the Set?? CAT ON THE PHOTO SET!!!

No Treats?  I'm Gone....

No Treats? I’m Gone….

And, the very best part of having a cape instead of a form-fitting jacket??  There’s always room for one more…  Always Room For One More

Equinox Giveaway Winner! And, Your Favourite Season.

Update – April 15:  Christine Haynes, the author of the book, tweeted today to thank me for hosting this giveaway of her book!  She was excited about it and I added her tweet into the comments section.

We had a total of 70 entrants for the Equinox Celebration Sewing Book Giveaway!  The book is Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes,ChicSimpleSewing and is divided up into sewing projects designed for the four different seasons.

The entrants were from all across the globe and were asked to tell us their favourite season.  It was so exciting to find out where everybody was from and why they chose their season.  I compiled the information into a chart.  CHART!!  (The science and math geeks just perked up :)).  Some people chose all the seasons as their favourite.  D’oh!  Way to skew a chart! LOL.

Favourite Seasons Pie ChartSpring was the clear winner with autumn/fall and summer (the dry season in the tropics) practically tying for second and third place and winter (the wet/monsoon season in the tropics) coming in a distant fourth.

The following are a few of the simply beautiful and poetic quotes for each season, written by YOU!  The comments really allow everyone to see why you love your favourite season and made me appreciate seasons that may not be my favourites, by being able to see them through your eyes.  I was right there with you!  I thank you for that.  Your thoughts were truly lovely, you poets you!  A book or song should really be written; read on to see what I mean. (Can you find your comment?)

WINTER – Wet / Monsoon SeasonWinter Scene 2

The storms are so wild and huge and you feel so small in a good way.  The monsoon, it’s hard to comprehend.  There is just so much water in the world, all raining down on you at once!

I love the look and the sound of snow.

I love when you’re all warm and cozy next to a fire with a nice hot cuppa and u can hear pitta patter on the window.Winter_wallpaper 2In the tropics, the monsoon is in full swing. Nothing like falling asleep to the rain on your roof and the sounds of distant thunder!

I like the beautiful view after a snow storm, when everything is blanketed in pure white.

SUMMER – Dry Season

summer_sunflowers 2It feels like the climax to my year…. I adore the long evenings and early morning sunshine, I can walk the dog and have had my breath of fresh air by 6am… wonderful stuff!!

If I had to pick, I’d go for the last days of summer, with the plentiful fruit, the somewhat tired heat, the foreboding of darker days.

It’s warm and sunny and if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it peaks in mid-July.  We cycle and swim outdoors, we go mad because winter will begin again in November.

I love hot and humid weather, iced tea, pools and ocean time.summer_landscape 2

I get to sleep in as much as I’d like and my children are all home with me. What could be better?

I love sitting in the garden sewing. We live beside a river, so a glass of wine outside as the sun goes down is just lovely.

The rains stop for a while and we get to have sunshine.

Lucky for me I live in the desert, constant summer!

It means BBQs, hikes, camping and swims.

AUTUMN / FALL

I think, it’s the most beautiful time of year, full of colour and charmFall 2.

I love that it’s still warm but the colours are changing.  It often brings the best of the weather.  It also feels ‘new’ to me; a hangover of the new school year starting, I guess!

I love the trees shedding their leaves not to mention the beautiful warm colours that are associated with autumn- orange, chocolate, tan, coral, khaki, cream and cinnamon.

I love the change, the drama, the unpredictable weather.

I love Autumn, the crisp air and the changing colours of the leaves. The chilly mornings where fog lies low in valleys and the smell of woodfires is on the breeze.

My favourite season is early autumn, where it is still warm but not too hot, and late flowers are still blooming but the air is already getting an earthly smell. It just gives me a happy warm feeling.

Cool nights for snuggling.autumn 2

Perfect weather for watching the amazing sunsets over the ocean!

The smell of autumn leaves is delicious.

Autumn always feels like a big relief that the heat is over.

The hot winds of the desert blow through the basin. The air is clear and the heat is sharp and by this time the garden is bursting with color and fragrance.

 SPRING

I love the freshness.. the new growth… planting a garden… daffodils…Spring Kitty

I’m big on light layering and I love to see the new growth appear.

I love that it’s hot and sunny, and seeing all of the flowers blooming after a dreary winter.

Cherry blossoms in the spring. That is what I’m waiting for.

I love spring because it’s fresh, new, and hope for what’s to come!

The days are getting longer, and everything is still green from the winter rain.

The grass starts to turn green, the leaves begin to bud, flowers start to bloom. Bliss.spring - baby animals 2Spring is so full of new beginnings for so many things. There’s always new baby birds flying around and all the plants come to life and are blossoming everywhere, I just love it.Everything is bright and beautiful and it leads to summer.

Cool crisp mornings and evenings and the newness of Spring with leaves emerging on trees & flowers blossoming everywhere.

I love spring, when all that has been sleeping in winter comes back to life. Warm days and cool nights that usher in refreshed fields of color and the wonderful perfume that springs from it.spring flowers 2

Days are getting longer, but it’s not too hot yet.

I love Spring the most because the newly appearing rays of sunlight after a long winter make me happy and make me feel alive.

After a cold, wet & snowy winter, the flowers are beginning to bloom, the trees are turning green and the birds begin to sing. The temperature is not too hot & not too cold and it is so nice to be able to go out and get my garden started. I love the colors of spring as well, the yellow daffodils, the red tulips and purple pansy. I love to get inspiration for my sewing from the flowers.  You can see many colors in one flower.

The transition from cold grey wet days into slightly less cold, occasionally blue wet days here in Manchester is always welcome.

And, something to be said for the beauty of ALL seasons:

There’s something grand about the circle of life, and the different feelings the change of seasons evoke that I enjoy more than “just” a single season.

I love every season, especially when they are beginning.  The blooming flowers in spring, the warm summer nights, putting on the first cozy sweater in fall and I love a good snow fall.  By the time the seasons are changing, I’m ready for the new one.

In NZ, colours are so much greener all year round, so these wonderful changes are a little more muted.

Missjoiedevivre from A Charm of Magpies, also shared an interesting seasonal factoid for us:

“Here in New Zealand, we mark the turning of the seasons on the first of the month, not the equinox/solstice. So it has been autumn since March the first!”

I had no idea!!  Does anybody know why?  Please, do share.

Because this Giveaway induced a very contemplative, calming and thoughtful vibe, Kitty thought that he would take his initial draw officiating ceremony idea, down a notch and also relate it to the seasons.  (However, do not fret, Kitty fans, I have just won the Wellington Pattern Pyramid from Laura over at miymdiary, so for the winner of that draw, Kitty is going to put his original plan into action and let loose his boisterous side).

The Draw

spring buds 3

Inspecting Spring Flower Buds

I listed numbers from 1 to 70 on tiny bits of paper, that looked like hopeful spring flower buds.Spring flower buds  Kitty inspects the flower bud numbers, and they are then placed at the beginning of the Kitty Tunnel, which depicts the hot yellow sun, clear blue sky and calm blue water of a gorgeous summer day.  names in tube, blow dryer set up 2

A blow dryer was then set up and aimed at the flower bud numbers.  The blow dryer was turned on and Kitty delighted in watching as the flower buds create a lovely winter storm and swirled around frantically and hypnotically inside the windy tunnel.

Tunnel Eye View

Tunnel Eye View

Kitty then bravely enters the eye of the hurricane.  Oh, our gallant and fuzzy beast.  Will he persevere over natures elements?

Kitty stands strong, never taking his eyes off the prize.

He grabs fruitlessly in the air, on the ground, in the tunnel; so many paws, so much paper, such wind.

Winter Storm

Winter Storm

Kitty Tasting Names

Kitty tasting the paper numbers

Kitty Inspects Names 2Kitty leaves no sense underutilized and even tastes the spring flower buds, to ascertain which paper holds the possibility of being the winning entrant.  Kitty then exits the tunnel, patiently watching his targets fly out of the tunnel and flutter delicately to the ground.  Like gentle autumn leaves, departing their spring and summer homes on the trees, they fall softly to the ground. Kitty Emerging from Tube to Capture Winning Name of Fallen Autumn Leaves

Kitty waits for the bewitching autumn leaves to land while contemplating his next move. Whcih Name Will Kitty Select He inspects the items, never quite pinpointing just one, moving effortlessly between all the spring buds/fallen leaves, until…..his eye sees what it wants.

Kitty does it!! He hones in on, and dutifully captures a solitary flower bud/autumn leaf!  He gets his paws on the winner!!!Kitty Captures the Winning Flower Bud Name

The paper is unfurled like a beautiful tulip in Spring,

Name Unfurled Like a Spring Tulipand……

You are Taking Too Long, Let Me Help You!!!

You are Taking Too Long, Let Me Help You!!!

A Spring Tulip

Ah, Sweet Smells of Tulips

Ah, the Sweet Smell of a Lovely Spring Tulip

…the winner is…..Entrant Number has Been RevealedNumber 33!!  Which corresponds to……Elise Lin from What the Dormouse Sews, whose favourite season happens to be:  Autumn.

Elise LinCongratulations Elise!! Kitty and I are both so happy for you.  Please email me with your specs so that I can mail/post you, your brand new sewing book!

-Thank you to everybody for stopping by the blog and entering the giveaway, and for your engaging commentary on nature’s finest hours.- 

I will leave you with Nick Drake, metaphoring on the seasons with the hauntingly beautiful, The Time of No Reply.  You’ll thank me (after you’ve finished rocking back and forth in the fetal position, while weeping gently.)  You’re welcome. (click on the song title to view it, you won’t regret it).

Kitty retiring to his tunnel tube with the winning number to contemplate Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Kitty retiring to his tunnel, with the winning number, to contemplate Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness…….and Tuna.

photo and comment credits:  Giveaway entrants favourite season comments, quoted in this blogpost, have been edited, by me, for grammar and spelling as well as for brevity and are the sole property of the authors.  The original comments and their corresponding authors can be found on the Giveaway sign-up post, here, in the comments section.

Photograph of the four seasons courtesy of:  winter, summer, autumn, spring Photograph of Kitty in Spring courtesy of Halo Pets.