Monday, December 5, 2011

Swingy Cardi

The second garment in my mini-wardrobe for late autumn and winter, this cardigan is going to get a lot of use.  The fabric is terrific, and I can't say enough good about it.  It's a rayon/spandex ponte from Sawyer Brook, and it's a breeze to sew.  The hand is very drapey, not stiff at all, and it's very soft on my skin.  It's very comfortable to wear.  I've worn it a couple of times and like it so much I bought some of the purple, too.  The navy is sold out, but flame (a bright orange-red) and purple are still available here

I like a vee neck, collarless cardigan to layer over a variety of tops.  McCall's 6168 appealed to me for it's curved hem.  Rather than coming to a point at the side seams, the hemline is rounded.  I love how
nicely it falls:

The pattern was easy to fit, although these photos tell me I could narrow the shoulder width a bit, if/when I make it again.  I added the usual 2 to 3 inches to the length. 

I'm glad to be enthused about this jacket now that I'm wearing it, because I wasn't so thrilled as I was sewing it.  Despite the swingy cut and curved hem, the styling felt very plain to me.  I'm really craving excitement in my clothing these days, and would rather not make boring clothing.  To add some extra oomph, I topstitched it with a twin needle, rather than a single.  I liked the raised ridge created by the needles, as it gives some definition to the garment's lines.

The button style is a long-time favorite of mine at work, and it was great to finally let it add the perfect finishing touch to a garment in my wardrobe.  I like the simple yet distinctive styling of the button.  Notice how the curved lines arcing across the center of the button echo the curved lines in the garment.  Call me a button geek, but I like buttons to be in synch with the garment.  I actually had these buttons in mind when I chose the pattern for the jacket.  Ok, yes - I am a button geek!

What was really interesting to learn is how this fabric changes color in certain lighting.  Under the Ott light and at the window at work, the buttons looked like a perfect color match.  When I sat down at home to sew them on, I was dismayed to see the buttons looked very blue against the fabric.  They really didn't look good at all.  Even my husband agreed with me, and he's not super picky about matching buttons!  I discovered it was the incandescent light I was working under.  It changed the hue of the fabric, but not the buttons.  Knowing the combination looks great in daylight and under fluorescents, I decided to go ahead with the plan.

Yes, the styling of this jacket is a bit plain, and the fabric is plain, and the color is basic, and the buttons are quiet - but I love how I can change its look with a different top and accessories.  Here I am at work wearing a teal shell and a funky chunky necklace:

And for all of you jewelry and bead fanatics, here are images of the necklace.  I purchased it from a button maker at a fabric expo last spring.  It's a bit shiny and busy for my taste, but I've grown to like it.  It's perfect for upping the ante of a simple outfit.

This swingy jacket will look great with the bright pink tee I made a couple of months ago, and a coordinating scarf currently in the works.  I love wearing it with the teal Alice + Olive top and comfy jeans - a great combination.  You can bet you'll see more of it here as I add more tops to my wardrobe!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Alice + Olivia Cowl Top

I've been doing more sewing than blogging these days, for sure.  I have three completed garments that I haven't yet written about.  Obtaining good photos of me wearing my garments is a challenge.  DH does his best, but doesn't have a critical eye for seeing things that are out of place, nor does he know how to pose me for the best shots.  Oh, how I wish I lived near my professional photographer sister!  Posing for her is a delight, and her photos are the best ever!  Since we live far apart, DH's photos are good enough.

The tunic styles offered by Vogue 1261 appealed to me the moment I first set eyes upon them.  I love an uneven hemline and unusual construction techniques that result in a trendy, edgy garment.  In those aspects, this pattern is loaded.  The loose fit looked promising for my plus size figure.  I made the cowl neck version, and am very happy with the result.

The fabric is a luscious rayon jersey from Marcy Tilton.  It has good two-way stretch, which is required in this version.  The jersey doesn't curl, which was a big help in the cutting and construction processes, and necessary for smooth raw edges.  The armscyes are cut quite close to the underarm, and there are no darts, so the dual direction stretch probably helps with the fit in that area.  There are small folds under the arms, but I really didn't want to add darts, as there are so many other details in the design.  I cut the largest size, and added about an inch to the underarm seams.  I'm quite happy with the fit, although it's just a bit too wide across the chest.  If/when I make it again, I'll probably subtract a little wudth through the chest, to help draw in the fit an inch or so.

The primary design details are seams sewn wrong sides together and twin needle stitched from the wrong side.  I noticed on Pattern Review that several reviewers chose not to construct it this way, but I stuck with it and really like the look. 

I did change how the center back seam is sewn.  The instructions have you press the seams to the outside, butt the seams together, tape paper to them to stabilize the seam, and sew it with a twin needle from the inside of the garment.  This didn't really sound too stable, and seemed a bit risky, so I sewed the seam with wrong sides together, reinforced it with Design Plus fusible stabilizing tape (a great product!) and a layer of Totally Stable (another great product!) to give it stability and give enough bulk for the twin needle stitching to look good.  Since the seam was covered by interfacing and stabilizer, I drew a pencil line to guide me as I stitched.  A lot of effort, but I think it was successful.

I toyed with just using a zig-zag stitch on the outside, but found it was flat and I rather liked the dimensionality added by the twin needle stitching.  Removing the stabilizer was a long, tedious task that I performed in front of the TV.  It took much care, as pulling hard on it distorted the stitches.  Tweezers were an essential tool for this job!  Several layers of Solvy might have been a better product choice.

Viola, the finished seam, outside and inside:

The pattern calls for narrow ribbon to be sewn over the seam allowances, allowing the stitching to show in between.  I think that would be a great look but I knew I wouldn't find ribbon to match this fabric, so I simply trimmed the seam allowances to 3/8", and left them at that.

The reverse twin needle stitching is used on the center back collar seam, collar edge binding, and sleeve head seams.  I skipped the Totally Stable on these seams, and the stitches formed nicely.  Yards of fusible bias tape later, I finished the task.

The sleeve seams are a bit ragged because of the extra fabric resulting from easing the sleeve cap, but that just ups the funk factor.

 I love the drape of this collar.  It falls low enough that I can wear a short necklace, and it adds a bit of warmth without the close fit of a turtleneck.  Since the fabric is quite stretchy, I stabilized the neck edge with fusible tape early on in the construction process.  That prevented it from getting pulled out of shape, which would have easily occurred.

The sleeve and bottoms hems are single needle stitched 5/8" from the edge and left raw.  This was a pleasureable way to finish the tunic, as the twin needle reversed seams had taken a lot of time.  If the seams were all sewn to the inside, this would be an easy pattern to fit and sew.  If constructed as directed, the difficulty is raised a notch or two.  I'm glad I stuck with the original design, as I like wearing things that are a bit unusual.   The tunic is easy to wear, the color is soothing, and I feel very comfortable in it.  It is the first piece of my winter 6-pac, and I plan to wear it often!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Raggedy Linen Vest

For a long time, I've wondered if Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8430 would fit and flatter me.  When I read on her website about the linen vest she made using this pattern, I just had to try it myself.  I happened to have a small piece of navy linen from Sawyer Brook, which was just the right yardage for this garment.

I followed Marcy's directions (scroll down the page a bit) most of the way through the process.  I added darts in the armholes, to eliminate folds there.  She recommends stitching them wrong sides together, but I didn't want them on the outside, so I didn't do that.  The back, shoulder, pocket, and lapel seams are sewn wrong sides together, with her signature "cardiac" stitch covering the seam allowances.
Left Shoulder and Center Back Seams

I used a pale gray thread, not desiring the sharp contrast of white.  The stitch is easy to do, but quite time consuming, as lifting of the presser foot to shift the angle, and reversing the stitch direction is done so many times.  It made me long for a knee lift, for sure!  Fortunately, my Pfaff has an easy to use button for reversing the stitch direction.

I added a square pocket to give more detail to the garment.  I also added a seam to the left lapel, as the top of the garment looked too plain to me.  It did change the drape of the lapel quite a bit.  It no longer drapes nicely as in the top photo of this post. 

The collar of this pattern is cut very wide, so it stands away from the neck.  I think it would stand up nicely in a felted wool, which the pattern recommends using.  My neck is very short, and this collar does not stand up high, but it just doesn't fit me really well.  I'm making a scarf to wear with it, and that might help fill in the empty space between neck and collar, especially in the back.

I usually wear the vest closed with a cool shawl pin from Sawyer Brook:
I'm disappointed in the curls at the lapel corners.  I imagine a heavy or double cloth linen would not do this as much.
All of the raw edges are stitched 1/2" from the edge.  After the first washing, I had lots of raveled threads to clip.  Every now and then, another one appears, but I expect this will end after a couple more washings.
The pattern was easy to fit to my rotund shape, and I would definitely consider using it again with a more substantial fabric.
Wearing this vest is very easy, and it's proven to be a perfect layer on fall days that begin cool, then warm up a bit.  I actually wore it today with my peony top, and ended up shedding it by 2 pm.  Who knew we would have 60 degree weather in November, especially after getting 8" of snow (and 2 days without power) just over a week ago?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tee Times Three

Good-fitting tees are at the top of my must-have list.  They're definitely the most basic elements of my wardrobe, so I like to have an assortment available for any season or occasion.  I went in search of the perfect tee pattern for me, and found it in Butterick 5215, a Connie Crawford design.  I used it back in June, and again recently.

I was attracted to the pattern because the sizing goes up to size 6X, and it's basic styling can serve as a good starting point for my own design details.  There are three "cuts" to the pattern - close fit, natural fit, and loose fit. I used the natural fit, and I cut on the 3X lines.  The front and back shoulder widths and the sleeve widths of that size fit me very well.  It was really strange for me to not trace out the largest size of the pattern, and add more width at the side seams.  What a pleasure, to use a pattern that didn't require lots of adjustment!  I don't recall if I lengthened the pattern or not, but I do recall the pattern is cut quite long.  

My first version of this top was sewn in a cotton/lycra jersey from Sawyer Brook.  I'm hesitant to wear prints, but this one has a lot of movement, and good all-over patterning, so I went for it.
An aside:  I love cotton/lycra knits.  They don't pill, and they're comfortable to wear.  This photo was taken today, after about 10 washings, and the fabric still looks very good:

I like the sophistication of this print.  It's black and white, with small touches of blue (upper left) and taupe (lower right).  I'm really glad I used it for this top.  It was fun to wear with white capris in the summer, and carried well into early autumn with black pants.
Rather than make the top closer-fitting at the hip, I chose to leave the A-line shape.  It's a very comfortable cut, and the swingy fit makes it fun. 

The pattern description defines the neckline as a scoop, but it's really a crew neck.  I lowered it several inches for warm weather wear.  The instructions call for cutting the neckband on the bias.  I didn't understand why, as I never do this with knits, but once I tried to apply the band to the neckline, I got the picture.
This fabric does not have good stretch recovery, and the neckband sagged.  If I stretched the shirt enough to make the band lay flat, the shirt ended up gathered.  I could have recut a bias band, but I chose to create a vee neck instead.  It's a flattering style for me, and I really like the result.

(Sorry for the difference in skin tones in these photos.  They were taken on different days, in different settings, with different cameras!)

One disappointment with this pattern is the lack of bust darts.  I prefer to dart my tees, to avoid those unseemly horizontal folds that appear between the bust point and the armscye.  I added two small darts in the armhole seams on my draft of the pattern. 
This is my second version, a rayon/lycra jersey from Sawyer Brook:After washing this top a few times, I vowed I'd never buy soft rayon again.  The fabric is now so pilled I don't want to wear it out of the house!  This is one of those soft, cottony feeling rayons.  The short fibers that make a rayon jersey soft also make it pill like crazy!  Rayon jersey that has a dry hand and crepe-y feel doesn't pill nearly as much. 

On this top, I lowered the neckline and used Marcy Tilton's twisted neckband:
This was my first attempt at this technique, and I found it to be fairly easy to execute. My topstitching isn't perfect (but then, neither am I!).

My fall version is made from a lightweight organic cotton jersey from Marcy:
Since I'll be wearing it in cooler weather, I cut the neckline of the pink top a couple of inches higher (but still lower than the pattern is cut). The peony jersey curls a lot at the edges, so I decided to use this as a design element. I left the edges of the neckband raw, and let them curl.  (Once again, apologies for photos taken under different circumstances!  The color above is closest to actual.)

To sew this neckband seam, I carefully overlapped the band on the neckedge, pinned it securely, and stitched it 1/2" from the edge. The raw edge of the band curls over the stitching, echoing the other curled raw edge. To keep the seam allowance of the top flat, I pressed it toward the top and stitched 1/8" away from the edge.  I like this look, and wish I had used it on the sleeve hems, as it would have given the top more interest. The sleeve hems are simply turned under and stitched, as is the hem.  But I was tired of fussing with this top, and wanted to move on!

I'm not totally happy with the sleeve on this top.  The pattern instructions say to ease the sleeve cap before setting it into the armhole.  I didn't think this needed to be done in a knit, and I really didn't want to have to set them in.  I didn't think I needed the extra fabric in the top of the sleeve, so I lowered the sleeve head by about 1/2" to eliminate the need to ease it.  Then I sewed the sleeves into the armscyes before stitching the side seams.  Now that I see my upper arm in the photo, I realize I did need that extra fabric in the sleeve cap area.  That little bit of extra fabric would prevent the wrinkling of the sleeve above my elbow.  I hate to set in sleeves, especially in a knit, so I'll have to contemplate how to deal with this issue in future versions of this tee.

I'm not crazy about how this thinner jersey drapes around my belly.  The print jersey is heavier.  The royal blue jersey is droopier, so the drape lines fall more smoothly.  If I run into this problem again, I'll look into taking the top in at the sides.

I like the fit of this top, and I expect to continue to use it as my basic tee pattern.  Since it's a simple style, I'll probably play with other design elements - and paint! - at some point.  Even though it's plain, it beats wearing store-bought tops anytime!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Brief Sewing and Blogging Hiatus

Just a note to say I'm away from home and my studio for a while, visiting my parents.  My mother is having a tough time regaining strength following surgery for cancer, and we siblings have been taking turns caring for her.  I have a couple of posts in draft form, but need to get more photos taken before publishing them.  Here's Mom in her favorite place in the house, the sunroom:

She made this table back in the 70's.  It is a cedar root she found along Cayuga lake, filled with cinders from the nearby railroad bed and totally grayed by water flowing over it for decades.  It took 3 men to load it in a pickup truck to haul it home.  She thought she'd be able to sandblast it, to remove the dead, gray outer wood, but that didn't work, so she spent most of a winter scraping and sanding to bring it to the naturally colored wood.  After leveling it, she traced a pattern for the oval plexiglass and had a pice cut.  That one shattered, so she later had a thicker one cut.  Glass would be ideal, but probably quite expensive.  This is my favorite object in the house, for sure.

Dad has stepped up to the plate admirably for an 85 year old.  He's learned to wash dishes, run the vacuum, and make beds, which is quiet comical to witness, since he's never done these tasks in his life.  (He went from living with his mother to living with my mother, so he never needed to learn.)  But Mom needs supernutrition, and while Dad does his best, he's not quite capable of handling this on his own for more than a day or two.

While here in Ithaca, I've been able to get out to the yarn and fabric shops.  I made a nice fabric purchase yesterday that will undoubtedly show up on these pages in the coming months.  I brought along several knitting and hand sewing projects, so I can work at them as time allows.  It's too cold to knit on the porch, but the rockers are still there, and the sun is shining today (for the first time in days!), so I might get out there for a bit.

The pond and the treehouse, photographed on this glorious fall day:

I hope to get back to Massachusetts by mid-week, and I'm looking forward to sewing and writing about it here.  Happy sewing to all! 

Edited on 10.28, to add photos.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nuevo Yukata Shirt

A few years ago at a sewing expo, I purchased several vintage Japanese fabric pieces from June Colburn.  These were salesman's samples of traditional blue and white printed cottons for yukata, the casual summer kimono.  The pieces are quite small - about 18" in width, and 24"' or so in length.  For this shirt, I chose two fabrics to pair with white linen from Sawyer Brook.  When I started working on this project back in August, I took some photos of the fabrics together, before I cut them up.  I'm sure they were stunning photos, but we'll never know, because the computer gnomes stole ran off with them.  (Seems they wanted to ditch their frumpy gnomewear for some stylish yukata.)  So, you'll have to use your imagination to envision the small amount of fabric I had to work with.  By the time the garment was finished, I had used almost every square inch of it.

I merged two patterns to create this shirt.  The base pattern is an out-of-print Vogue by Sandra Betzina (sorry, I can't find the number online and my copy is at my studio).  It's a classic shirt style, with a traditional front placket, shirt collar and cuffs.  I'm finding her patterns fit me fairly well, and are a good starting point from which I can arrive at a garment that fits me well.  I made a few basic alterations to tweak the fit.

The design elements in this shirt are from ReVisions Nuevo Shirt pattern.  I'm drawn to Diane Ericson's design aesthetic, and the features of this shirt pattern have long interested me.  It's arty without being wacky or looking like a craft project. 

Diane's shirt has a very loose fit, with dropped shoulders.  That style is not becoming to me, which is why I used the Vogue pattern for the basic shape.  I eliminated the front placket from the Vogue pattern, as well as the collar.  I don't care for a close-fitting neckline, so I lowered the front by about an inch.  I drafted the mandarin collar - a favorite collar style for me, as my neck is short.  I duplicated the shirt tail hemline of the Nuevo shirt.

One of the design features of the Nuevo shirt is the inset and pocket on the right front.  This is the perfect showcase for the yukata fabrics.  One - the pocket fabric - is printed on both sides, giving me three prints to combine.

Construction of this element is not complicated, but a good result depends on very careful seaming.  Interfacing is fused to the shirt, then the center of the "box" is cut out, and the inset is sewn in one edge at a time.  Getting sharp, square corners can be a bit tricky.  I edgestitched both the pocket and the inset.

This inset is the perfect opportunity for surface embellishment, which I'd like to do on a future shirt.  There is also a back yoke which can be embellished, but I eliminated it this time around because my print fabrics were in such limited supply.  Instead, I inserted a strip of yukata fabric down the center back. 

This visually breaks up a large expanse of white on the back of the shirt, and ties the back to the front, design-wise.

The Nuevo shirt sleeve is seamed down the center, as well as at the underarm.  I split the Vogue sleeve pattern in two, and drafted Diane's sleeve design at the bottom.  I really like the Nuevo "half cuff" feature.  It gives opportunity to add more of the printed fabric, to balance the design features.  I love asymmetry, so using a different fabric on each cuff adds to my visual pleasure.


I was pleased with the white and blue look, but felt a need to add blue to other areas of the shirt, to pull it all together. I topstitched the shoulders, outer sleeve seams, front openings, and collar with blue topstitching thread.  It made a huge difference in the overall continuity of the garment.

I shopped around for buttons and didn't have success until I found some at my local yarn shop.  The blue color was very hard to match, and these blue and white ones are just perfect.  (I'll try to get a close up photo next time I'm shooting photos.)  There were only 6 available, and I bought all of them.  I regret not using all 6, as the shirt gapes a bit when I wear it.  I'm not sure how to resolve this situation, since the buttonholes are cut.  I could add a placket, covering the existing holes, but I don't think I'd like a placket with the styling of this shirt. 

Plus, that would be a lot of work, and I'm pretty much done with this shirt, energy wise. Between searching for buttons and taking in the side seams a couple of times, the shirt was hanging around my studio way too long. I finally got the side seams right on Wednesday, and wore it to work Thursday. It will probably be put away until Spring, unless these Indian summer days continue. 

This was a really fun sewing project.  I'm still not sure I'm comfortable wearing shirts, as I prefer the drape of knit fabrics over the stiffness of wovens, but, who knows?  Maybe I'll get used to it!
The end.  :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do You Have a Shirt that You Really Love?

One that you feel so groovy in? 
You don't even mind if it starts to fade
That only makes it nicer still   (Donovan)

I'm not a 'shirt' kind of girl.  You know - the classic, woven fabric, button-down-the-front, collared, type of shirt.  This is probably because shirts don't fit my short-necked, rounded back, apple shaped figure well at all.  And they often need ironing to look their best.
Knit tops are just more flattering and comfortable, and I wear them 99% of the time.  This is my current favorite:

I made this in March, but wore it only a couple of times before the warm weather forced me to put it away for a few months.  Wearing it on a cool day last week reminded me of how good it makes me feel.  It's made from a double knit cotton from Marcy Tilton, and a cotton jersey from Sawyer Brook, both of which are very comfortable.  The double knit is dotted on one side, and striped on the other, offering many design options.  I purchased this in the summer of 2010, and will jump at the chance to buy other colorations, should Marcy ever find them.  She offered a warm-toned green (I believe) one this summer - not a good color for me, but a fabulous fabric!

The design concept for this top was born during the winter, when I was working on my SanMarDia jacket.  This plum fabric was on my design table near the trim I had painted for the jacket, and I noticed the burgundy Jacquard Lumiere paint was an exact color match.  I knew then I would be making a top using the paint on black knit, combining it with the double sided plum knit.  What a wonderful affirmation of letting fabric "age" in my collection!  I love to let a fabric rest in my view while I'm working on other projects.  It encourages percolation of design ideas.  Sometimes it gets put away for a later viewing, and other times a great idea such as this emerges.

I started with Marcy's Vogue 8497, view B, extending the front curve into a corner, and widening the neckline.  I painted it using the Plum Blossom silk screen from Marcy's Japanese Tea Garden set, and foiled it with dragonflies from her Angelic Insects silk screen.  I embellished the fabric pieces after I cut them out, in hopes of achieving good design placement.  In hindsight, I should have done the foiling after the garment was sewn, to avoid placing the dragonfly on the bust point.  (Must have been my inner stripper diva strutting her stuff!)

The plum stripe/dot fabric lent itself very well to this pattern, creating a "third fabric" for the neckband.  I used raw edges, but fused black superfine Design Plus Bias Fusible Tape to the raw edge, to prevent major stretching.
I can't say enough good things about this tape.  It has held well through several washings, and it has continued to stabilize the band edges around the neck and down the front and back of the garment.
This great pattern is an excellent candidate for embellishment and design options.  I love the ability to use two fabrics and achieve successful balance.  I made another version of this top, using the curved front piece and leaving the neck as it was drafted on the pattern. (I'll blog about it when I can get DH to take some pictures.) If I make this sharp corner version again, I'll place the corner higher and bring the neck in a bit, to expose less of my chest. I don't mind it for warmer weather, but I prefer a more closed neckline in cooler temperatures.
The overlay down the back is really stylish, too.
The hemline of one side is shorter than the other, creating a cool design feature both front and back:
The pattern is also fairly easy to grade up several sizes, thanks to the dolman sleeve design.  I simply figured how much more width I needed at the sides, then echoed the same underarm and overarm curves when I redrafted the pattern.  I might add a small bust dart next time, but the crosswise wrinkle at the bust doesn't bother me much on a dolman style.  Actual construction at the sewing machine is very easy.

I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortable lovely
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortable lovely

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sewing (and Shopping!) With a Plan

Those of you who sew a lot are undoubtedly familiar with the acronym that's become popular on sewing websites, SWAP - Sewing With A Plan.  After reorganizing my fabric collection (a.k.a. "stash") last week, I decided I need to start Shopping With A Plan.  How can one person accumulate over 20 pieces of purple fabric and find only a few pairings that work?  SWOAP - Sewing WithOut A Plan - that's how!  Buying fabric because it's beautiful, it's a natural fiber, it's comfortable, and, most of all, because it's :) PURPLE :).  Now, purple might not be your color, but I bet there's one that gets you every time you shop.  A color that calls your name, begs you to take it home, even though you already own fabric and garments in every other possible shade of it.

So, sorting and organizing my fabric stash proved to be a very useful exercise.  I now know what I own, what can be worn with what, and which colors and types of fabrics I need to purchase to turn my stash into clothing that I will wear (and love).  I also learned which colors and types of fabrics I should never, never buy again for my personal wardrobe.  Warm tones, no.  Muted or muddy tones, no.  Dressy fabrics, no.

Which leads me to Sewing With A Plan.  I've never been one to plan and sew a capsule wardrobe, where everything goes with everything else.  But after pruning and organizing my stash,  I'm going to work with the SWAP concept a little this season.  I pulled together several fabrics that look great together:

Now, don't worry.  Not all of the garments made with these fabrics will be interchangable.  No red with teal (Christmas, anyone?).  Here's my plan:

  • The middle fabric is a heathered brown/black stretch twill (lightweight denim-like). It will become pants, which I'll wear with all of the other fabrics shown.

  • The rippled brown is a drapey linen/silk blend that I'm using for an unstructured cardigan-jacket. 

  • The brown and natural leaf print will become a top to wear with pants and cardigan.

    • The shibori-like jersey in browns and pale blue-gray will be another top to wear with pants and cardigan. 

    • Crancherry red double knit, cotton on one side, rayon on the other. The rayon is slightly darker, so I will design a cardigan that incorporates both sides. 
    • Solid brown rayon jersey, for a top to wear with the red cardigan.

    • Teal jersey, another top, to be worn with the brown ripple cardigan.  It's the same fabric shown in my current blog header. 

    • The striped knit in the header is a vest I am knitting.  Cascade front, vertical stripiing.  It doesn't follow my rule of "no warm colors", but I love the combination and it contains enough clear tones that think I can get away with it.  I'll wear it with the teal top and jeans.
    If these colors look good on me, I'll be on the lookout for a dark brown knit for pants, and a heavier fabric for another solid brown cardigan or jacket.  I have a teal linen that would make a great funky vest to wear with the solid brown jersey top, if I have time to sew it before winter.  But first comes an autumn/spring weight coat out of a wonderful crinkled brown woven from Marcy Tilton.  It will be a big project, so I'll need to get these other garments completed soon. 
    So, will I feel good in these colors?  They should be a good fit, as my hair is cool brown, and these cool dark brown fabrics are very close in color to my hair.  My skin is quite pink, and my eyes are warm brown/gold/green.  I'm a color consultant's nightmare, not easily categorized.  When the Color Me Beautiful concept came out in the 70's, I was told I was an autumn.  After revamping my wardrobe and looking drab in muted fall colors, another consultant diagnosed me as a summer.  So I changed to cool tones - much better for my skin - but pale and muted made me look washed out.  A few years ago some pals on an internet color forum helped me come to see that I am a soft winter, or clear, strong summer.  Jewel tones look great on me.  Black looks horrible next to my face.  It's just too much contrast.  I've grown to love my "winter" wardrobe, but since I don't wear black next to my face with much success, I've wanted to find another neutral.  Navy is good, but hard to find shades that match.  So that's why I'm trying cool brown.  I've got the fabrics, so I might as well give it a whirl!
    I started working with the ripple linen/silk this weekend, making Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8088.  I'm adapting the pattern a bit, and loving the drape of this fabric.  You'll see the completed jacket here, if it's a success.  Stay tuned!

    P.S.  Why all of this fuss about colors?  Because I simply don't feel good wearing colors that are not harmonious with my coloring.  It's that simple!