Thursday, November 28, 2013

Toggle Jacket -- Butterick 5994

A sweet semi-fitted jacket with a toggle closure that takes it to another level of interesting and flattering. The sleek lines often seen in body-skimming French clothes work on many body types, including my 5'8" Rubenesque frame and Marcy's 5'5" shorter figure. It's a sure winner when a pattern looks this good on both of us!

Pre-shrink the fabric with washing and/or steaming as you want to avoid any shrinking once the pieces are cut. 

The center front panels, both large and small, are cut exactly the same, with the fabric ‘right’ side up. Each side of the front uses a large panel and a small panel but in opposite ways. On the right front the small panel is on the front (top layer) and the larger panel becomes the facing. On the left front the large panel is on the front (top layer) and the small panel becomes the facing. 

This is counter-intuitive so be sure you understand this to avoid using your seam ripper...

Interface the pocket facings and fronts as shown on the pattern. Check the front pieces carefully so you stitch the pocket facings on the correct edge of the jacket front.

Using blue masking tape to label each piece is a really good idea here.

If using leather, make sure it's soft. (I used a piece of black shiny leather on the sample and must admit it reads 'plastic' to me in the photos.)

The whole jacket would be stunning constructed out of a soft leather, suede or lightweight Ultrasuede.

Use a piece of computer paper on top of the leather to assure that things work smoothly. And of course practice, practice, practice.

Use a purchased toggle or make one. When sewing leather remember to make sample pieces (I use a Teflon foot and a #90 needle). Double-faced tape holds the leather in place in lieu of pins. Two buttons back to back will give the toggle more heft.

Leather can be pressed but best to use a dry iron (it is a skin after all). Make an extra long strip about 1" wide; fold in half, press and stitch 1/8" from the folded edge. Then trim the 'raw' edges close to the stitching so they are straight. Next cut the strip into two shorter pieces, one that can be threaded through a button or stitched to a button and he other knotted into a loop.


Place the finished toggle parts onto the pattern pieces to determine final placement and make any necessary adjustments before stitching to the jacket.

Toggles can be really fun to make but if you don’t want to use a toggle closure you could make a tie from self-fabric or use a lovely ribbon.

This pattern can be used with a sturdier knit like a ponte or a stretch woven. Marcy has lots of fabulous wovens that would be great in this jacket including: Sissinghurst Cotton panels, Grey or Moss Plaid cotton, Blue Cat Stretch DenimGrey Denim Dot, Versaille, or Black Velvet Denim. (I do love denim in all its incarnations!) Knits that would work well include: Sherlock Houndstooth, Calais or Tin Tin (all of which could be combined with Stanford or Leland), Obsidan and Stone Grey

This Thanksgiving Day 
I am grateful for so many things 
one of which 
is the simple joy of sewing. 

Much appreciation and love
 to everyone reading this.
As always, happy stitching!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Butterick 5986 is super simple to sew together.

It gets a bit more complicated when you come       
to folding/stitching the hem together ‘correctly’.
But really, with something like this
what is ‘right’
is only limited by your creativity.
(And hopefully I wrote the directions
so you understand them.)

Part of the dress 'hem' is stitched together 
to form 'corners' that drape
while the other side has an elastic casing
to gather the hem.

I like to mark the hemline notches
with a piece of masking tape 
(blue so it doesn't harm the fabric).
I write a letter or number on the tape
to help remind me what matches up
with what.

Always, after writing the directions
and sending everything off to Butterick,
I get more ideas of things
that could happen with the pattern.

 This tip comes from my friend Alex
who made the dress and decided she wanted
a more stable shoulder line.
So she added one...

First stitch together the body of the dress.
Try it on, arrange the neckline
and mark your shoulder line with pins.
Draw this line on the inside of the dress with chalk.
Iron a (1/4” to 3/8” wide) strip
of fusible interfacing on the line.
Stitch this strip in place
along the shoulder line.
Then continue sewing the dress.

I made a version with sleeves
using the same
purple and black graded stripe fabric
as shown on the pattern sample.

Any of the great stripes and other mid-weight knits
will work well for this dress.

 You want to use a knit fabric 
with some softness and drape like the
I used in this version of the pattern sample.

The dress shape skims the body
in a most flattering way.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paris Mélange

Always a bittersweet time,
these final days in Paris.

Blue skies appearing after grey and rainy days
are appreciated.

A great apron
(but not for sale)
at the Sunday market.
He says he'll have some to sell
when we return next year...

Free range foies gras
seems an oxymoron
but M. Lafitte is quite proud of his product.
Bringing some foie gras with truffles back
to our friend Carol.

Words make an
 unforgettable t-shirt.

Great graphics
make an
unforgettable bathroom door.

at pillar 239
in the Palais de Tokyo,
after enjoying 'Virgule, etc.'
a retrospective look at the
marvelous shoes of Roger Vivier.

feather shoe by Roger Vivier

Designer Azzedine Alaïa
dazzled with his creative genius
at the newly renovated
Palais Galliera.

Alaïa's dress for Tina Turner

This Alaïa
Glacier wool dress
is available online
for €3,037.

And then...
at Le Bon Marché

I really think that
All Saints Day
is just too early
for the Christmas decorations
to appear...