An October "T"

 What an ammmmmazing fall we are having!!!!  I have said this before, but it bares repeating....I am a huge fall fan!  It is my favorite time of the year, especially here on the west coast of Michigan.  The orchards are full of apples, the wineries are busy putting up the next vintage, the days are warm and sunny and the nights are cool and perfect for sleeping.  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  This fall has been exceptionally warm.  I am trying to decide if this is always how it is here and I have just never been around for it, or if indeed it is actually warmer than usual.  I guess I will have to experience a few more falls to really figure it out.  Anyway, it is glorious!

I was thinking my October white shirt would be something wooly and cozy, but it has been very summery and a new white T-shirt seemed much more appropriate.  So out came the linen...again!  I also grabbed some of the lace that I did not use for my Isabel Marant project.  I am not sure when I will use it all up!

The shirt is really simple but figuring out how to insert the lace between the lower linen and the upper sheer linen was just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting.  I am pleased with the outcome and know it will be in heavy rotation until the cold weather finally settles in.

I also tried a new pattern from Merchant and Mills this month.  It's called The Ellsworth Shirt.  A sewing buddy and I made it together and it was such a fun day.  It ended up being a looong day, but there was a lot of chatting along the way.  We are going to have to call each other before showing up at the same party!

I liked the way the pattern came out so much that I immediately made another one.  I love the Japanese cotton I used from Marcy Tilton's website and I think it looks great in the pattern...but...it doesn't have the weight of the polk-a-dot linen so it doesn't hang quite as well.  The sleeve length is also and inch shorter which puts the sleeve placket right at my elbow.  I'm not quite sure how that happened because I cut it the same as the first one.  It might be that the linen is just enough stretchier that it hangs longer.  In any case I like that length better.   It is always interesting how much the fabric influences the outcome. You would think these two shirts would be pretty much identical, but I know I will reach for the first one more often.

The fabric for the second round was only 45" wide so I ended up putting a center back seam to get the pattern to work.  I also used a coordinating cotton to line the cuffs, collar, placket and hem facings.  I might have been able to squeak out a few of those pieces, but I thought it looked more "intentional" if I did all of them with the second fabric.  I like the way it turned out.  

As I finished my October white shirt I pulled out all the shirts for the months I have been in Michigan.  I have a couple others in Florida that will add to the total.  It was kind of amazing to see them all together and realize how different they are from each other.  It is getting harder and harder to pick a favorite.  When I picked this challenge for myself I thought I might end up with a couple of shirts that I liked and the rest would be fun exercises, but not necessarily wardrobe staples.  I think I was mistaken!  I love them all!  I will have to decide whether my November shirt will be a Michigan shirt or a Florida shirt, since we will be heading out around Thanksgiving time.  


A Double Dog Dare!

 Yes, I have been stalling on my September white shirt post.  I made my September shirt as part of our Threads Digital Ambassadors' Challenge this year.  Threads invited us to make an outfit/garment using a designer of our choice as the inspiration.  Now that the articles have been posted on the Threads website, I can share my shirt here.

We were asked to write three different posts about 1. the designer we chose, 2. the way we interpreted the designer in our design and 3. a technique that we used in making the garment.  I will send you to those posts on the Threads site rather than redo them here.  The four inspirations are very different, but very much reflective of their authors.  It is really fun to see them as a group.

I chose Isabel Marant for my designer and this was my inspiration image.

Marant's designs are often dripping in lace and layers...very different from the things I make and wear.  I am intrigued by her use of textures and mixing of different materials to create her garments.  It was definitely a challenge to use her as my inspiration.

I chose Isabel Marant because she seems to strike a balance between very feminine, and surprisingly masculine elements in her work.  Her garments are over-the-top lacy, yet they are anchored in strength with broad, exaggerated shoulder lines and wide leather belts.  I had a really tough time figuring out how to make a garment that was inspired by the very lacy Marant garments, without using lace!   I had a huge collection of lace but just couldn't get it to feel like me.  I ended up doing a faggot stitched vest worn over a layered tunic with raw edge details.  I wrote much more about the inspiration and the final design in the Threads posts, so please take a look over there for more of the gory details!

Here is my final design.  The folks over at Threads took some lovely pictures that they sent for me to show here.  (They always make my things look so good.) 

So this is my September white shirt.  I knew that it would take a bit more time than some of the other months and that is why I wanted to figure out a way to make a twofer.  Something that would be part of the Threads challenge and also part of my monthly white shirt challenge.  

I also made a little video of me dancing around on my new deck with my Isabel Marant outfit....kind of corny, but you can see that over at Threads as well.  HERE is a link to the Threads article.

So now I move on to October.  It has been quite warm this month so far, so I may not be moving into fall quite yet...we'll see.  


Apples and Bunny Soft Sweater Knit

 Fall has arrived in Michigan!  It is my absolute favorite season.  I love the cool, crisp air even when the late summer sunshine is still warming up the afternoons.  I have been to the apple orchard at least three times already and will no doubt be making a few more trips before the last fruit is picked.  I'm not exactly sure what it is about the fall...maybe the memories of new school shoes and the box of crayons with all the points still in tact.  It just gives me a boost of energy and gets my creative juices flowing.

I used my mandolin to slice up the apples for this galette...and I still have all my fingers!

Now that we are 'snowbirding' I don't really need 'real' winter clothes, but a few fall-ish pieces can't hurt.  I came across an absolutely scrumptious sweater knit this summer.  I found it at JoAnn's of all places.  I don't usually find the fabrics at JoAnn's to be all that inspiring, so I was pleasantly surprised to find such a gem.  I am also a bit skeptical of sweater knits as well.  They are often made from mysterious blends of synthetic fibers that lose their appeal and shape after only a few trips through the washing machine.  This piece, however, was really nice.  First of all it was rayon which meant that it had a bit of weight and great drape.  There was enough spandex to give it wonderful recovery.  And it was soft, soft, soft.....dreamy, baby bunny ears soft!!!!!  I wasn't sure what I was going to make so I got a whole bunch of it.  Adding to its list of attributes is totally washable and dryable!!!!  It went through the laundry like a champ!  As soon as I felt the first hint of fall I knew it was the fabric I wanted to start my fall sewing with.

Earlier this year I made a couple pair of joggers with the Closet Core Plateau pattern.  I am almost embarrassed by how often I pull them on.  They are so comfortable and I like the fit...a lot!  I also made a cropped cardigan that has been in heavy rotation.  I decided rather than experiment with unknown patterns and possibly "ruining"  my soft, soft, cozy sweater knit, I would pull out these tried and true patterns.

As I was laying them out I realized that if I was very stingy I might be able to get a tee shirt as well.  I am nothing if not 'stingy' when it comes to pattern layouts!  I ended up doing some fancy piecing with a grey jersey knit on the insides of the cardigan pockets, but it was worth it.  (I am not going to tell you how long I played around with pattern pieces and layout options­čś│)  

Not much left of my yardage...

I was fully prepared for a fierce battle.  Most sweater knits required a heavy dose of coercion to get them to behave, but this one was not only beautiful, but behaved beautifully as well.  Even the buttonholes turned out perfectly.

I am so glad that I went with patterns that I know and love.  I'm not sure I will wear them all at the same time.  I feel a little like an old guy in a track suit.  But I know I will be cozying up in each piece often this fall.