Friday, November 16

How To: make a lined Berlin Jacket

I've wanted to make a Berlin Jacket since last year and as I'm entering the rather large stage of pregnancy this seemed like the perfect project right now. Its not meant to close and is loose and oversized so I don't need to worry about fitting it and it will work now and later without any sizing issues. 

The pattern is meant for boiled wool (a knitted fabric) so I shopped around and pulled the trigger on this taupe boiled wool from Blackbird Fabrics (mine is currently sold out but other colors are in stock) after really loving my first experience with boiled wool I picked up from Mood. But when the taupe wool arrived it was much more scratchy and lighter weight than the wool I had worked with before. I still liked it and knew it would work for my project but that I would definitely prefer this jacket to be lined so I wouldn't have to feel the itchiness against my skin. 

The Berlin Jacket is drafted to be unlined and finished with overlapping seams so all the raw edges are exposed. It looks really cool, but I've never been able to buy into the raw edge, unhemmed trend so I had already planned on constructing it in a more typical fashion - right sides together with the seams inside. So adding a lining would be pretty straight forward.

I happened to have the perfect poly crepe lying around - another purchase from Blackbird but from a year ago. I've made several fully lined jackets and coats so I figured I could muddle my way through it all right. I did some things that weren't great and figured out better methods as I went. I thought I would share this tutorial and what I learned with all of you! I am far from a pattern drafter so some of this may not be up to your standards, but for a free hacked add-on lining, it works really well and I'm getting loads of wear out of it.

You don't need to have lined a coat before to do this. Its pretty straight forward. I made the Lola Coat - another unlined coat -from Sew Over It's City Break e Book back in January and had never lined a coat before and still found a way to line it. It works great. So if you're wanting to line the Berlin - don't be afraid - here's how I did it!


First, you'll need to cut some pieces with larger seam allowance and some pieces different altogether. so here's what you'll do when cutting out your pieces:

                                              First we will cut your main fabric:

1. For the front and back pieces, add one inch in length at the hem. If you're wanting to add length for yourself anyway, add one extra inch than you planned on. You'll also need to add 3/8 inch to the center front of the front pieces. I didn't do this, but should have, in order to maintain the width of the front pieces once the lining is sewn in. 

2. For the front facings, you need to add 3/8 seam allowance to both long ends. You can see here, I only added it on one end, not thinking correctly. I told you I figured a lot out doing this! And mine is still great so hopefully yours will be fabulous!

3. For the pocket and pocket facing, you need to add 3/8 in seam allowance on ALL sides. The pockets are originally sewn on raw, but if you want them to have finished edges you need to add the seam allowance.

4. For the sleeves you need to add 3/8 inch seam allowance to the end. I added an inch because I wanted the sleeves just a little bit longer. And for the sleeve facing, you need to add the seam allowance to both long sides. 

Now we'll cut your lining pieces:

5. For the back lining piece, I added an inch (really two because its folded) at the center back along the fold. To do this I just moved the pattern piece one inch away from the fold and cut out my piece. This allows you to pleat the back at the center of the neck and gives more movement. Especially as this pattern is drafted for knit (stretchy) fabrics and your lining will most likely be woven (not stretchy). The extra fabric ensures proper movement.

For the front lining pieces you have to create a new piece but its easy to do.

6. First, place your facing pattern piece over the top of your front pattern piece aligning the edges. Then trace down the left edge of the facing, drawing a line on the front pattern piece. Also draw a line across the top of the shoulder line. You won't need that neck extension piece on your lining. 

7. Then add 3/8 inch to the right of the line you just drew (red) and draw a new line (blue). Fold the piece back over along that new line (blue). This is your new front lining piece piece! Cut two mirrored.

8. For the sleeve lining, shorten the sleeve two inches at the hem, then cut two mirrored.

Next, I recommend interfacing your facing pieces. I did not but wish I did as they kind of want to turn out to the outside of my jacket.

Now you are all done cutting!

 On to construction!

You'll need to disregard pretty much all of the construction instructions. Since we are lining it we'll be sewing it right sides together with a 3/8 seam allowance instead of the overlapped method they use. 

We'll start with the pockets. If you want them to have finished edges follow these instructions. If you want to do the raw edge look included in the pattern, follow the instructions there.

1. With wrong side facing you, turn up one long edge of the pocket facing 3/8 in. 

2. Right sides together, align the top raw edge of the facing with the top of the pocket. Sew them together at the top at 3/8 in.

3. Sew the sides of the facing to the pocket, maintaining the fold. Clip the corners, grade seam and turn the facing to the back of the pocket. Press the raw edges of the pocket to wrong side at 3/8 in. Top stitch the facing to the pocket.

Repeat for other pocket.

4. Using pins or wonder tape, attach your pockets to the front pieces using the markings on the pattern for location. Use a 1/8 sa to sew the pockets to the front pieces. Sew bar tacks or some reinforcing stitch to the top corners. 

All done with pockets!

Now we'll move on to constructing the outer shell of your jacket.

1. Sew the front pieces right sides together at the back neck at 3/8 in. 

2. Attach the fronts to the back piece at the shoulder/neck, aligning the center back of the neck with the center back of the jacket.
3. Right sides together, attach the sleeves at the armscye.
4. Sew the side seams/arms closed. 

At this point you can try on your outer jacket. If you want to make any adjustments, now is the time do so. You can see here I decided to slim the sleeves. They were just too wide for me. Remember, any adjustments you make at this point will need to be made to your lining pieces as well. Since I slimmed my sleeves I slimmed my lining pieces too. 
5. Sew the sleeve facing right sides together at the short ends so that if forms a tube. Press seam allowance open. Repeat for other facing. 

6. Right sides together, sew the sleeve facing to sleeve at 3/8. Press seam allowance toward to the facing and understich at 1/8 in. 

All done constructing the outer layer!

No we will construct the lining!

3. Sew the facings right sides together at the center back.  Press seam allowance open.
 4. With the back lining piece still folded at the center back, we'll be sewing a pleat 1 inch in from the fold. Starting at the top raw edge, sew 2 inches down.
5.  Open up the lining piece so the right side is facing up. Press the pleat open and baste the pleat in place along the top edge.

6. Right sides together sew the front and back lining pieces together at the shoulder seams. 

7. Right sides together attach sleeves at armscye.

8. Sew sides/arms closed right sides together at 3/8 leaving about 6 inches open in the middle of one side seam.
9. Attach the facing to the lining: start at the back lining, right sides together, matching the center back point of facing with the pleat. Continue pinning all the way down the front of the front pieces. Sew the facing on all the way around at 3/8. Your facing and lining should be the same length at the hem. Trim facing if they aren't. Press seam allowance toward the facing and understich at 1/8 in. 

Here is where I pretty much run out of photos ... I just wanted to get it done because I was so close. So hopefully I can get your through this without tons of photos..

Lets attach the lining to the outer!

If you have made a lined coat/jacket before, your knowledge here will come in handy. Or you can kind of go off instructions of one of those patterns to get through this. But its not hard I promise. 

1. Right sides together, align your facing/lining and outer jacket starting at the center back and pinning all the way down to the hem. The lining will be shorter than the outer. Sew at 3/8 in. Press seam allowance toward the facing. Turn right side out and and understich on the facing at 1/8 in. 

2. Turn back inside out. Make sure all four arms are pulled out fully. Making sure not to twist the arms, align the opening of LEFT outer and lining sleeve openings and RIGHT outer and lining sleeve openings. You'll need to pin them with right sides together, even though the wrong sides are facing you. This will look wrong and like it doesn't make sense but it works!
Sew them together at 3/8.
Now we'll be sewing the bottom closed. Since I am no drafter, I kind of fudge this. I have done mitered hems on lined jackets before but I couldn't figure out how to do it here, so here's what I did. (If you know how to do it properly or have a pattern you can follow - do that.) 

3. Leaving everything inside out, sew the lining to the outer at the hem at 3/8. You'll have to do some easing as the lining is 2 inches wider than the outer. Also remember, the lining is shorter than the outer so you'll have to fold up the outer to meet the lining. 

4. Using the opening in the side seam lining, turn the whole jacket right side out. 
This should sort of feel like magic!

Now you'll get to see what your hem looks like. Because I didn't do mitered corners, I had to do some hand stitching in the corners. Make them look as neat as you can with what ever method you used.
5. Press the hem of your jacket up one inch. This should happen pretty naturally since the lining is shorter and pulls the outer fabric up but press the hem in place, crating a nice clean hem line. 

6. Using a hand sewing needle and thread, sew the opening in the side seam closed. (Or you could be lazy like me and just machine sew it closed)

7. To keep the lining and outer attached, stitch in the ditch at the center back of the facing (or hand stitch) for a few inches) 

You are done! 

You lined an unlined pattern - so basically you are amazing!

If you have any questions let me know so I can help you through it. I am pretty active on instagram stories here too so I can walk you through something if you need.  

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, November 6

Simple Life Pattern Co Felicity Dress

Do you have a lot  of parties to attend around the holidays? We don't, haha! But that doesn't stop me from making something wintery or festive for my girl every year anyway. At the very least she gets to wear it to church, and she loves wearing dresses every day even if they are too fancy for the occasion, but I love that about her! Its always good to look fabulous, right?!

This year we are attending a family wedding in late November so I decide to make something that would work for both the wedding and the festive Christmas holidays. So nothing too Christmasy. I decided to go for a wintery feel with the fabric but a wedding feel with the pattern I chose. So although this dress is sleeveless and has an open back I think it looks like Winter and Christmas and weddings all combined.

The pattern is the Felicity Pattern from Simple Life Pattern Co and I love it! And you should know I never lie about sewing patterns. I'm too honest to tell you to spend money on a pattern or time sewing  something that I don't fully recommend. This is seriously the cutest and I can see it in so many different fabric combinations. And its good for all seasons as it has several sleeve lengths as well as maxi, knee length dress and romper options.

I used an Art Gallery Winterberry Rayon challis and the colors and print are perfect for the feel I was going for. I added all the optional ruffles because they were too cute to pass up, despite the fact I hate gathering. It was worth it for this!

The only downside to this pattern is that all the rectangle pieces are given as measurements in a cut chart. I know a lot of people like that, but I prefer the actual pieces so that I can lay everything out on my fabric. I also tend to make patterns multiple times and I don't like having to measure out rectangles every time. And the pieces get confusing because they don't have any labels. But even still, it came together perfectly, the bodice is all lined and all seams enclosed. I french seamed the skirt, too, so that all seams are enclosed for a really nice look inside and out.

The only thing I did different from the pattern instructions (besides French seams in the skirt) was add interfacing to all four back pieces all along the whole center back seam. I needed it to be substantially sturdier for the buttons and button holes and strong enough to maintain a crisp triangle opening despite being such a lightweight fabric. It worked perfectly and everything sits well and the buttons feel secure.

My daughter is loving it and keeps asking when her aunt's wedding is so that she can wear it! I let her wear it once and she almost ripped it and smeared food all over it, so we kind of have to keep this on reserve till the wedding, and then she can have free reign with it!

So, if you've got some inspiration here - or from the other ladies on this tour - on what to make your little ladies this holiday season head over to Simple Life Pattern Co for their winter sale!! All patterns (minus the brand new Betty) are on sale for 30% using code FALLINTOSLPCO.  Another of my favorites is the paisley dress (prefect for those girls who love to twirl, my daughter owns at least 6). I blogged about it last year, here. Sale ends the 12th at midnight so get shopping!

Also - there's a GIVEAWAY!
You could win a $30 gift card to to Harts Fabric and $50 shop credit to Simple Life Patterns. Giveaway runs through the 19th at midnight CST.
Enter below and check out the schedule of other bloggers showing you some great inpsiration.


a Rafflecopter giveaway November 5 – Kutti CoutureSLPCO Team November 6 – Wonderfully HandmadeAmmon Lane November 7 – Kainara StitchesIdle SunshinePearberry Lane November 8 – Sew TwirlySew Sophie LynnBonnie and Blithe November 9 – It's LieselCandice Ayala

Sunday, November 4

Denim York Pinafore Pattern Review

I took a risk and got this pattern hoping I could make it what I want, but not being sure. Well for me, its safe to say the risk has paid off. The York Pinafore by Helen's Closet is a cocoon shaped, simple pinafore with large round patch pockets or a kangaroo pocket. It was a risk for me because I didn't love the pockets or the cocoon shape, but I loved the simple layering idea that could be so cute in any season just by changing the fabric. This is my third. I've made a bleached chambray one that I blogged about here, a cotton linen one I shared on istagram here, and now this one in 12 oz denim slightly stretch denim from Indie Sew.

I've made so many because I found simple changes that have made this pattern totally prefect for me. I'm a pear shape, and if you search the internet or fashion gurus for what pears "should wear" I do basically the opposite. They say fit and flare, gathered waists, a-line, defined waist, etc. But I actually prefer straight fit things to minimize the appearance of the curve of my hips. This pattern has a large curve through the whole side seam and tapers in at the knee to give it that cocoon shape. While this fits my shape quite perfectly, it also shows off that shape, which I don't like to accentuate. The curve of the pockets on the hips also does the opposite of what I want. I like angled patch pockets to break up that curve. 
So to eliminate the cocoon shape and get a straighter fit, I simply straightened out the side seam by not grading out to the proper size for my hips. The size chart put me at a large graded to extra large for the hips. I made my first one like that and then figured how much to bring in the side seams. Once it got fitting right I compared it to the original pattern and it was just the straight large size. So that is the same thing I've done for all three I have made now. I then also drafted (I use that term loosely because I just drew out the shape of pocket I wanted and made it sort of similar in size to the one included in the pattern) and used them instead of the pocket pieces included. I just finished those curve edges of the pocket in bias tape, did a double line of topstitching around the pockets, and viola! A thick denim pinafore for fall with large angled patch pockets. Also without any other adjustments it fits my bump! Granted it won't work forever but its going strong at 24 weeks. 

I am super pleased with my huge angled patch pockets. They hold everything, are nice and deep, and the angles are exactly the look I was going for. I love having a thick denim York for fall, its so cute layered with a cardigan and tights, and I think it will work well in summer too, so yay for versatility!

Since we're in full on Autumn here, I paired this one with a True Bias Nikko top. I shortened the long sleeve (it comes with sleeveless or long sleeve options) to right above the elbow and did a maternity mod on it - that obviously you can't see. But its super simple - just add 4 inches at the lengthen/shorten line on the front piece only. Then gather the sides of the front until they are the same length as the back piece. Then sew together like normal. The Nikko is the perfect piece to go under this but I've seen people layer them with looser woven tops and its super cute, too.

Are you into the pinafore trend or is too elementary school for you? I thought I couldn't get on board but I am super happy I did. Now I wonder if I'll ever be aboard the jumpsuit trend...?

Thursday, November 1

Brassie Joggers Pattern Review

I know the jogger trend has been around for years and years, but honestly I never understood it. I made this pattern a few years ago but didn't love the fit, and didn't love the look of other jogger patterns I had seen. I'm typically a jeans and blouse, or casual dress type of person anyway so this type of casual everyday wear wasn't all that enticing, especially as I found it very unflattering on me. 

But recently its become more and more appealing -as the rest of the world is probably tiring of it, haha. But being a stay at home mom of two and pregnant with number three, I was suddenly searching for something comfortable to wear that was still acceptable to leave the house in. So I returned to joggers. Since I hadn't been pleased with this pattern in the past, I thought of trying others, like the ever popular Hudson pants, but I knew I'd need to make adjustments to those, too. So I decided to dive in and make these Brassie Joggers work for me. So here's what I did!

The Brassie Joggers have two rises, a low rise and mid rise (found in the layers portion of the pattern.) And also two lengths - a capri or full length.  The Brassies I made in the past were a low rise (on accident and without realizing it) and capri length. One of my main issues with these in the past was how crazy low they were which finally made me realize that I made the low rise accidentally. I also found the capri length pretty much full length on me. I'm 5' 8" but have very short legs, so this isn't a weird finding for me. And the calf area was huge, with basically no tapering in the the leg.

 So this time I made sure to cut the mid rise and the capri length but shorten the capri length an extra inch. Also instead of cutting a straight size I graded up a size around the hips for more room and graded down two sizes in the calf because I'm so much smaller down there. I then also tapered the cuffs so, that instead of rectangles that are too loose on me, they taper naturally like your leg does. 

I also added a slash pocket instead of the pocket that came with it, and deepened the pocket an inch and a half. And now - not shockingly - I love them! I've made two pairs and could honestly use another. I have found, however, that they stretch out quite quickly and that I could probably size down so that once they are stretched out I don't have to throw them in the wash just to shrink them. I love this fabric as its super comfortable and perfect for this pattern. The only downside in using it as pants is the stretching out factor. (Its the solid cotton/spandex french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and comes in loads of colors that they always restock. I used the burgundy and midnight navy for mine but there are loads of prints, too!)

Do you have a style you didn't love but have come back to later? 
Whether your style changed, just grew on you over time, or you just learned how to make it fit and work for you, its amazing the styles we come back to after we think they don't work for us!


PS. My cording and eyelets are from JoAnn. My shirt is a maternity ASOS dress from 4 years ago that I cut down and altered into a maternity t-shirt. And my Jacket (stretch denim) is a recent purchase from Old Navy. But if you want to make your own I recommend the Hampton Jean Jacket from Alina Design Co!

Tuesday, October 23

Grainline Studio Farrow Dress: Fitting

I am all about loose, shapeless, comfy things, but there is fine line between easy breezy and circus tent. The Farrow Dress, from Grainline Studio looks fabulous on a lot of people, but on me it was very much leaning to the tent direction. I made my first one a year ago and loved the idea of it but would only wear it with cardigans or coatigans over it to contain its volume. Eventually I got smart enough to modify it to make it fit me better, and it worked so well that I have since made another and I have plans and fabric for one more. So what did I do? Well like all my hacks (this isn't even a hack, just a resizing) it was super duper easy. Lets get into it.

Per the instructions, I used the size chart to determine my size based off my bust. I know a lot of people who find Grainline patterns way too big when sizing off the bust because of shoulder issues, but that works well for me. So I made a size 12, (according to my pre-pregancy bust measurement) for my shoulders and bust and then quickly graded in on the pattern to a size 6 at the waist and keep that size all the way to the hem. You have to be careful because you need a smooth line so you don't end up with a wonky side seam. A French curve ruler works great for this but you don't need one.

Also because of the very geometric shape of the pattern pieces which help form these glorious deep angled pockets, it can look really confusing to resize it. I recommend laying the pattern pieces for  top of the dress and the bottom of the dress on top of each other, right sides facing, then fold the bottom skirt piece down aligning the pocket line, which will make your pattern pieces look like a dress. Then draw your new pattern line and trim from there. Then you'll have your new pattern pieces. For the pockets I just used my regular size 12 pocket guide lines but you could change those as well if you want.
Then there are the alterations I do on patterns all the time - a broad back adjustment so I have more movement in my arms, and adding length. I like things to be knee length so on this dress I added 2 inches below the pockets, and one at the hem line. Unless you have a super long torso, you don't want to add in the bodice because it will drop your pockets really low. This dress has a shorter hem in front, but only slightly. Mine is little more dramatic because of my (at the time I took these photos) 22 week bump.

Other changes I made just because I wanted to: I finished the neck line in bias tape because I typically despise facings and I left out the keyhole opening in the back because I don't need it to get it on. It is a little small in the head area now so on my next one I might add it back in. I also shortened the sleeve because this pattern comes with only sleeveless or long sleeve options and I like a sleeve but a shorter one so that I can wear this dress in more seasons and easily layer it in cooler months.

And thats it!
Have you sewn a Farrow dress? Do you make it as is or make special mods too? Or do you have a different favorite woven swing dress that works perfectly on you?
Let me know and show me on instagram!