spring / flame, part deux

spring / flame jacket, 2014

Just chillin’.

Nels loved last year’s version of this jacket, so I made him one this year. I can’t remember what happened to last year’s; I likely donated it to the thrift shop.

Here’s 2013:

Long Sleeved

This year – stretch satin for lining/underlining, coupled with a Hong Kong seam finish (I am always looking for the perfect lining fabric that is not boring, and can stand up to the punishment of an active child’s lifestyle):

spring / flame jacket, 2014

I added a striped cotton hood, and cotton cuffs:

spring / flame jacket, 2014

spring / flame jacket, 2014

I love working in two separate colorways for this garment: the “flame” colorway was used on the overcollar, lapel facings, pockets, and elbow patches. The effect is subtle but very pretty – especially from a distance. Pockets? Fully-lined, of course, and attached by fell-stitch.

The cotton cuffs, attached the floating underlining/lining, is a little idea I had a year ago for Nels’ double-hooded red linen coat. These cuffs are very cozy, could easily be replaced if they were to get too stained, and deliver a pleasing layered effect.

I am not going to lie. Somehow this year, I ran into trouble. I made a few errors during pattern drafting and the fit of the coat is not as attractive as it was last year. I will be making up a new version entirely. It is just THAT irritating to have something not come off right.

So: this version is up for grabs.  I’m thinking the size is good for a 150 cm (a little under 5′) child. Text me if it’s yours! 360.500.3287

what you need is a jolly good murder!

Last night I made Ralph one of my favorite arid, incredibly civilized, faultlessly prosaic British television shows – in this case, “Foyle’s War”. I laughed in silent delight the entire hour and a half as basically almost nothing happened, in the way that I love “nothing happening” in these kinds of dramas. After almost an hour of talking a statue on a manor’s roof fell and actors looked pained and dyspeptic and disapproving. Ralph valiantly kept his eyes open and pretended he wasn’t in agony; eventually his efforts were rewarded when someone finally got murdered in the most parlor-room non-grisly sort of meek way. I WAS DYING because Ralph watched this dry crumpet of a show just for me because he loves me. And I love him very much and there is literally no one I’d rather watch telly with.

Ralph spent our last $20 on trappings for lasagna tonight: a hearty meal to share with my mother next door. I took a break from my usual sewing flow and helped my son learn a bit on my machines – serging yardage, winding a bobbin, threading the machine. Nels was at first irritated I was asking him to learn these tasks; but within a few minutes he was quite skillfully managing the very exacting and precise hand movements needed to sew with accuracy. He made his father a “quarter holder” (a very small fabric sleeve) and is now excited to sew much more elaborate items for his Daddy.

The kitten No-No bandies about on bow-legs, now running through the house following Ralph, or one of the children. Only a few ounces of swaggering hubris, she surprises us all by LEAPING off our king-sized bed and waddling after Ralph with her round, tight belly hindering quick progress. Her appetite has increased to ravenous and she is more adventuresome, less likely to want to cuddle. She lays on her back between our legs and lets us pet us, then “attacks” with these tiny, useless paws and teeth so small they don’t count.

Nevertheless: no biting, No-No! We are quite stern. We’re not running a charity here, you know.

look what i can do!

Sew an awesome frakkin blazer. But you already knew that.


spring / flame

I saw these fabrics a while back and immediately envisioned this jacket. I pictured the weight – and what interior fabrics I’d use to get it – the style lines, the pockets, everything. I pictured the differences in colorways and was very pleased with how that turned out – even more subtle yet beautiful than how I’d pictured it. In fact in every way I loved designing the elements of the coat and all steps of construction; I am offering a custom version at my Homesewn site for a few days in case anyone else loves it as much as I do.


In preparation for my upcoming tutorial (an exhaustive, lengthy tutorial) on sewing a lined, underlined, interfaced child’s blazer, I paid a little extra attention to making this one, for posterity. I discovered that photographing the different construction elements of the jacket was a very  illustrative measure.

Interfacing, Underlining


I also adored the little separate piles of fabrics that end up making the construction and durability of  a kick-ass jacket. I am also finding that I prefer using fabric to interfacing for larger pieces, including collar and cuffs. I recently used this technique with Ralph’s wool coat – I haven’t yet blogged it here – and the results were wonderful.

Bound Buttonholes

Bound buttonholes.

This afternoon my mother asked me for a blazer as well, and I look forward to constructing it to fit her needs. I’m pretty much up for making awesome blazer-style coats at any moment and don’t see that ever changing; my one rule is, the garment has to be exciting (for me. to sew.)