Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

preppy like that!

As mentioned last post, across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns for a blog tour of the designs. The patterns are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to size 16, and they are all featured on an extended sale until the first. I was honored to be asked to participate. The 25th I submitted my first entry. Today, I bring you: 

The Letterman Jacket!

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

So for today: I am The Letterman Jacket by Fairytale Pattern Design. I’ll be discussing them here and in my Flickr tagset.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

The pattern: if you think about it, a Letterman jacket is a simple garment (certainly simpler than the last jacket I made). What makes it iconic and beautiful are the fabrics used, the details (the distinctive ribbing and collar or center back zip hood), and the patches. Almost any raglan jacket could be easily changed to a letterman jacket. That said, it is wonderful to have a simply-drafted pattern and it was easy for me to modify it for a facing and lining. This particular pattern comes in size 4T to size 16 (please please please let a client request a wee 4T) – a generous size range.

 I made a size 8 in girth and a size 12 in length for my lean green bean boy! I also hand-knit cuffs, hem band, and neckband:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

My welt pockets are perfect! Exactly no one is surprised. That said, some fabrics are far more lovely to work welt pockets in – and melton wool is definitely in that category:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

Finished with a wonderful gold slipper satin and antique brass snaps:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

And one of my favorite bits: a custom chenille patch:
Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

All in all, a successful venture with a very simple, trusty pattern.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

You can learn more about the Bundle Up pattern package below – or visit all the blogs that are showcasing the different patterns. Y’all know I tend to draft my own stuff, but these patterns are pretty fabulous and most of them have a great size range. Enjoy!

 
Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour

flyer coat; lumberjack shirt; adorable son!

 Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour

Nels, male model. Adorable times One Hundred! You know. I made all the clothes pictured: the Finn hat, the Flyer Jacket, the skinny wool trousers (Banyan by Figgy’s), and the hooded pearl-snap shirt. AW YEAH. Hell I (arguably) even made the child. Yeah. Yeah I’m pretty awesome.

OK, so down to brass tacks: I have two new garments to show you, and two patterns to discuss. Across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns. They are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to sizze 16, and they are all featured on sale this week. I was honored to be asked to participate. August 26th I will be submitting my second entry. If you like what you see here, you might pee your pants on the 26th! No, really. It’s that good!

So for today: I am showcasing the P51 Flyer Jacket by Terra’s Treasures and the Lumberjack Shirt by Patterns for Pirates, and I’ll be discussing them here and in my Flickr tagset.

Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour

Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour

Pre-Colonoscopy

“What’s the buzz?” – or, about three weeks somehow shoehorned into just a couple days

The last few days have been growth days. Doing new things. New, often scary things. Being very busy; busier than I am normally

For instance I am hustling to finish up my projects from the Bundle Up! boys’ blog tour. Typically in my tailoring work I stroll with my head back, cockily finishing up before deadlines, like a Boss. However this time around my fabric order was freakishly late – the fabrics arrived last Thursday. And even then I might have had time but a medical project reared its head. Thursday afternoon I prepped for, and Friday I underwent – a colonoscopy.

Pre-procedure: tired, tired, at the tail end of a thirty-six hour fast, and ready for my Twilight Sleep:

Pre-Colonoscopy

(the “Shadow of the Vampire” look I put down to a puke-green “gown”, hospital lighting, and a very special adventure the day before.) That said I’m not sure if anyone’s done so well during a prep and colonoscopy as I did. (Is that something to be proud of?)

Post-procedure, I slept most the day.

Saturday, feeling quite amazing and energetic, I got to sewing as quick as I could. But of course: kids, housework. A long-lost friend resurfaced and needed some time. And of course – before I forget: we put together the Event Page on Facebook, printed the tickets, and rolled out the poster for our upcoming benefit for a local animal rescue:

(For the love of god, buy a ticket or donate to the cause. We put up our household grocery money to reserve the Theatre and secure film licensing – $750!)

And today?

Well, today. Ralph and I tried out for lead parts in a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Yes. Yes, we really did.

Ralph & I Off To Audition

(we both channeled the late and great Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as Sandy Lyle in Along Came Polly)

I didn’t mean to have such a busy week, but when things get busy I get very “one thing at a time” – and sometimes I don’t notice how many “things” I strung together.

I guess out of everything… I mean I am proud of myself for stretching, for reaching out and doing things scary. But the auditions? That is huge for me. Not that long ago the only people who’d heard me sing were my children.

I’ve had a lot of adventures the last few days. I’m ready for a little rest.

Some people in the home, however, continue on much as before. So after a very busy last five days, I leave you with some precious Cat Serenity.

Just An Old Hat

Champions

Pip, Sleeping

 

“like, zoinks, man!” – a thread-drawing (mini) tutorial

Today at the evening meeting of the Harbor Art Guild I got to present a little feature on thread-drawing. Since I documented the process I figured you-all might enjoy the education, as well!

A few days ago Nels drew a ship with a smokestack and lots of rigging, in part influenced by one of the Tin Tin books. I really liked the sketch and thought it would look great rendered in loving thread-drawn splendor, and framed. I especially liked the bold vertical lines and the expressiveness of the smoke:

Thread-Drawing

Above from bottom to top: Nels’ original piece, an inkjet photocopy on copy paper, and an inkjet photocopy on a washaway stabilizer.

And here is the completed piece:

Thread-Drawing

The stars of today’s show are: Nels’ expressive and lovely artwork, my many years of sewing f*ck-ups that help me make good decisions today, and Sulky’s Sticky Fabri-Solvy, which, if I was going to have an affair with any of my sewing supplies, she’d be the guy.

some things never seem to fucking work

Just in case you aren’t following/friending me on Facebook, WHY YES I wrote a massive post on Roadhouse‘s twenty-fifth anniversary. I am kind of upset you thought I’d do anything else.

Life is – good. I am still recovering from illness. Mostly I’m tired – but I have a lot of my strength back. At a volunteer commitment on Sunday I had my Ego bumped down a notch when I made a mistake – and it still smarts. I’m trying to be kind to myself. A lifetime practice.

I am a little sad, too. Today I found out that on June 14th my maternal family will be scattering my grandfather’s ashes – my last grandparent. There is no way I can afford airfare and accommodations to be there. I am saddened by this. I’d like to be there. I’d like my children to meet their extended family on that side. It’s not going to happen and I can live with this. I just need to make a little space in my heart.

In other news:

Swimming

Evening Walks

Snuggles

Thug Life

1 year since I quit smoking. Yes. Go me! Because seriously!

Life goes on. For us.

on the present moment

This afternoon I did not want to put aside my work (which had been delayed enough already), and pack children into the car – rowdy children, not all of them mine – and go to a few shops, and pick up groceries for a summer dinner, and come home and prepare that food. I did not want to pay for or organize a cookout meal next door at my mom’s, but I did it anyway. I did so because I knew my mother and the children and the dog would enjoy it. I knew it didn’t matter if I enjoyed it so much.

It was my job. I was that guy. I want to be that guy.

This morning I didn’t want to be honest with a suffering friend. I worried my honesty might hurt an already-hurting person. I worried I was wrong anyway. Why speak up, if I might be wrong? But I also know: I want to be that guy. I want to be that friend you say, “She always told me the truth.” I want you to know I meant what I said when I said it. It’s my job. “You’re not thinking straight,” is how I actually started the main part of the conversation. It went from there.

I have more than one friend suffering and suffering over shit that is real. As years go on sometimes it seems I can help so very little, although I often wish I could help a great deal more.

I am a Buddhist. When I am thinking straight, I know I don’t have big problems or little problems, I just have Problems. I soothe myself with gentleness. I don’t know if I was helpful today. I know I tried to be helpful. I don’t know if I harmed someone today. I know I tried not to. How can I task myself with doing anything perfectly – whether counseling a suffering friend, or offering assistance to someone homeless, or teaching children how to play charades, or organizing a hot dog roast at my mothers’?

It doesn’t feel like Doubt, it feels like sadness. It isn’t always easy to stay on the path. My foot slips and there’s that moment I wonder if my journey matters much at all.

But life is too short to take seriously. I remember that. I lift my chin. I realize I am not easily intimidated, and that I like the company of myself. When my day is rough, I am my own best friend. This is new; it happened sometime in the last few years. It is wonderful.

And that I have a boundless love. When I lose it, when I let the fire down in the damp, I put down my load and go look for it. Right away.

I keep my love alive.

hot medium-brown wool action!!!

Brown Wool Blazer

Yeah that’s right, you have entered BLAZER COUNTRY. Who knows how many damn blazers I’ve sewn. All I know is, after I made this one (since Nels had grown out of Nolan, although it was still going strong!) I decided to trace one of my most-used blazer patterns in every size (that’s seventeen pieces by eight sizes, so one hundred thirty six pieces) and then color-code and cut and punch and reinforce and hang them all. And then I decided once I finished this rather ambitious project, I would reward myself by sewing a blazer. So now I’m almost done with a new blazer different than this one.

SOMEONE SEND HELP

Brown Wool Blazer

OK so here’s a cool detail – elbow patches in a wool/silk blend. I hand-embroidered the concentric ovals, then cut the patches, fused them to the sleeve, black-zig-zagged them firmly to the coat, and then hand-embroidered the very outer oval. Adorable and I think they will look even cooler as they wear!

Brown Wool Blazer

Blustery day! … and, a few more details:

Brown Wool Blazer

Bound buttonholes. Here you can barely see the chalk marking the center-front of the blazer – the buttonhole extends 1/8″ in from that mark. You can also at top-left see the pink basting stitch I used to affix the underlining fabric to the wool.

Brown Wool Blazer

More elbow patches – and along the bottom of the picture you can see the purple triple-stitched topstitching line I used for most of this coat’s edges.

Brown Wool Blazer

The bone buttons, nine in all (I bought two extra of each size) cost more than the rest of the garment (in part due to how good I am at finding good fabrics on sale). I bought the buttons from M & J Trimming and they shipped quickly! You are also seeing the back side of the bound buttons here. I used a black silk organza for my facing’s buttonhole “windows”.

Brown Wool Blazer

My preferred pocket method – a fully-lined pocket, interfaced at the top, and then applied by fell-stitch. Here you are seeing the pocket before I turn it right-side out, then stitch the opening at lining and facing closed.

Brown Wool Blazer

Here’s that hand-stitch I just referred to – inside the pocket. When it comes to a simple coat my kids are going to wear the hell out of, and I am not looking for a print or texture, I use slipper satin from Fabric.com for coat linings. It is a nice weight for a medium or heavy coat, it wears well, and feels very nice.

Brown Wool Blazer

Echo-stitching on the collar. Basically free-handed. Echo stitching  here emulates the elbow patch detail – but it also gives a stiffer hand to whatever you are echo-stitching (in this case, the collar), and gives a great, rugged look and wear.

So there’s Nels’ newest jacket.

Now listen. I’m not going to go into why a blazer really is a killer garment. I’m not going to elaborate on how long and how well my versions hold up. Or even how awesome it is you can pull one off in so many fabrics –  lightweight linen, classic raw silk, homey corduroy, handsome waxed canvas, bad-ass melton wool – GAH!! Basically you, blog readers, are in for a blazer-fest this summer and you just need to settle in and DEAL. Will I be sewing other things? Why yes, of course.

Probably.

Oh – and here is the end result of my pattern-tracing efforts for blazers – all marked, color-coded, cut, punched, reinforced, and organized. At left is the pattern, yardage, and sizing information in a clear cover sleeve.

Pattern Tracing, Marking, Color-Coding, Cutting, & Hanging

But now I *SOLEMNLY SWEAR* not to sew with wool until the fall. I promise. No, really.

So who’s got some fabulous linens they can point me to?

you’re motoring / what’s your price for flight?

My dog Hutch and I have some kind of bromance going on. But it’s not one of these rude, crass, and fumbly kinds like you’re seeing in so many films today. No our bromance is like – Appaloosa‘s. Or Casablanca‘s. Or “ST:TOS”‘s. Like we’re talking TOP NOTCH bromance. A classic one.

Ralph and the kids are camping this weekend and I’m still sick, and stumbling around like I’m high. Today I was too ill to do much but drink water, eat food brought to me, and care for the pets. As it was, the walk for my dog just about did me in.

It’s ironic – or maybe it’s not, because I never really do “get” what irony is – that the first weekend in a very very long time I have it to myself, I am too sick to do anything really. To sick even for the modest assignments I’d given myself – housework, a sewing project, a few gatherings. Tonight a girlfriend invited me out to a dishy movie and I’m too sick to sit in a theatre. That is just: BALLS.

I’m patient, though. I no longer think of being ill as some persecution or trial. It is rather practice. Practicing patience. Today I had the opportunity of helping out a few friends who called me, and one acquaintance who wanted to borrow something. In fact it was rather odd that just by breathing in and out, and being willing to take calls, I was still able to help people – even in my weakened condition.

Lights out on the porch: windchimes and a summery balm to the air. I’d like to be out running around but it’s okay to be in and having a fever too. #sanguineAF, that’s me.

where you feel like your eyeballs are all itchy and about to crack into gritty dust

I had wonderful, productive plans for the day. Instead, by the time we arrived home after the bike trip to and from Nels’ Homeschool Swim date, I was feverish, dizzy, and dissolving into a periodic but nasty cough.

 

Into bed for me, then. Now and then I rise to do a few chores, and fix a plate – before falling back into my fan-cooled bedroom and playing Hour Six-Million of some crime drama. Meanwhile my children enjoy the sun, their friends, and a trip to their grandmother’s for a movie date. Ralph mows the lawn, runs errands, prepares dinner, and makes an evening meeting.

So yeah – besides a few caring phone calls to friends, and some housework, and being loving to my family, I was shit-all useful today. But this afternoon I did have someone tell me that reading my blog helped her a great deal in taking the plunge to homeschool. That is a really wonderful thing to hear. No matter if my writing is crap or it’s okay or whatever, I pledge to continue as long as I can.

I keep thinking about a vacation. Somewhere sunny where we can swim. I am ready to swim in open water as long as it is clear water and there aren’t horrible weeds in there trying to murder my ass. In fact, now that I am such a strong swimmer, I can see how much I would adore snorkeling. I tell Ralph today, “I love just swimming and swimming and swimming and it’s only when you take the breath that it’s kind of a drag.” Now that is something I wouldn’t have guessed I’d think, a few months ago!

My daughter, this evening. She’s doing that thing where she keeps growing into the wonderful young woman she is:

 

OK.

*falls back into bed, weakly calling for popsicles*