lumberjack

lumberjack-7

You may recall, I made Mr. AFS a plaid flannel shirt a little over a year ago from Simplicity 1544. Since then I’ve gone on to make more versions of the shirt, perfecting fitting problems each time and so this iteration is pretty much near perfect for his body and build. Additionally, he wears that first flannel shirt a lot when it starts getting cold. In fact, it’s surprising just how much he wears it considering he doesn’t like plaid – it’s the flannel. He just loves the warmth. So I thought it was time that he received another. I hauled him on over to a Joann and had him pick out his own flannel this time. They have a surprising collection of flannels – called “plaiditudes” – that are quite thick and fluffy and soft. They wash up OK (just OK, not great) too and since I can’t get my hands on any of that Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel locally, this works.

lumberjack-3

Fitting changes for Simplicity 1544 since the first iteration: I’ve had to widen the collar – or make it 2 sizes larger because the original was too small in the neck. I narrowed the shoulder seam so that the point where the sleeve connects rests at the point where his shoulder point actually is and doesn’t droop over the side (which is not necessarily a bad thing, just not the look I was going for). Had to give him a little extra room in the upper back and then nipped in the waist section a touch. The sleeves were considerably shortened (very long in the sleeve on this pattern) and the cuff tightened.

lumberjack-4

Since this flannel is so wonderfully thick, I thought I should try my hand at a convertible collar version for this shirt as it seemed like it could cut down on the bulk in the neck area. I took a vintage pj top pattern (which I made for Mr. AFS a few years ago!) and stole the collar and the facing piece from it and converted my Simplicity 1544 to have a convertible collar option. From there, I made a few more drafting decisions based on eliminating bulk. I decided to create an all-in-one convertible collar and I did a fold over facing instead of one that is stitched on. The all-in-one convertible collar is pretty slick. It’s an idea that I saw Louise Cutting do (Threads article here) and I’ve long wanted to try it because I love basically everything that woman does. You basically take the collar piece, eliminate the seam at the collar’s edge and attach an under collar that has a seam down the center back of the collar. It has all the bells and whistles of a jacket collar, but all in one – the under collar section is on a slight bias (not a true 45• angle, but still) and has a seam down the center and that creates a nice turn of the cloth for the upper collar. Seriously, slick.

lumberjack-2

I stole a new pocket pattern from the Negroni free download – great pocket patterns by the way! – and from there it was all easy as pie. This is also one of my best ever plaid matching jobs. I opted to use Tasia’s way of cutting plaids this time – well sort of. I prep my pattern pieces a little differently for a plaid, but I used her pinning technique for the fabric. I’ve normally done the pieces one by one. I’ll lay a just cut piece on top of another that’s not cut to make sure I get an exact match and pretty much 100% of the time, the cut piece gets distorted just by moving it and/or the cutting is never as precise as doing them in double layer. It sounds a little crazy, but it happens. Cutting two layers at once eliminates that small distortion and can produce a more happy plaid matching experience. Just some food for thought.

lumberjack-6

lumberjack-1

Mr. AFS is loving his new shirt. Fits quite a bit better than the first version and I’m liking the convertible collar here. Itching to make my own! Previously, I’ve not been much of a convertible collar fan, but they have a place. Yay for plaid flannel shirt weather!

lumberjack-5

Advertisements

shameless

shameless-3

Selfish sewing time has been completely non-existent for me the past several weeks. Boo. After closing down and moving out of our brick and mortar shop, there still seemed to be endless amounts of straggling items of business to do. It’s been one thing after another after another, which is fine. Then, when chance came for a spot of sewing, guess who put in for some new t-shirts?

Saying that Mr. AFS has been my right hand through all of this wouldn’t cut the mustard. He helps me with every part of my online shop now. He’s still technically “in training” but he’s doing a passable impression of CEO. Since the tee’s on his back were literally about to fall off (holes and everything) telling him “no” didn’t seem like an option. I even tried to talk him into a couple of tees from Ross (a discount chain store) – we were even there looking at them!! – and he absolutely refused. Spoiled. Now he’s beginning to understand the difference between having something custom made for him vs. trying to find something that fits, is the right color and features everything he wants at the store.

shameless-5

Additionally, I thought it would be a good plug for our jersey knits and for me to chat about what goes into buying knit for our online shop. ha ha (nervous laughter). When it comes to knits, I am incredibly picky. I’ve made several knit projects that basically bombed after wearing because of the fabric choice pilling, or the fabric choice was so awful, I got half way through and tossed it. I’ve done a lot of online fabric shopping in my time and well, I’ve only ever had one problem with a woven fabric (it was a very bad color in person). Knits are a completely different story. I’ve bought a lot of knit online and I would say that a really good portion have been complete flops in person. I’ve noticed that the weight – the sheerness of the knit – is a huge deal to me. I think thin sheer knits are for the dogs. Ugh. Awful to sew with and I always end up having to wear something underneath anyway. Sigh. The other thing that is pretty tell-tale of a bad knit, is the wash and wear. Pilling is so unsightly to me. I’ve had a good jot of rayon jerseys that pill and so I’m very careful when purchasing those for my shop.

shameless-1

I made a pattern from Mr. AFS’s favorite tee and then made a test wearable t-shirt (above). The fit was exactly the same as the original tee.

shameless-6

This t-shirt was fabric from some old shop stock. 100% cotton mini rib knit. This stuff is really soft and I’m pretty sure it was organic. This pic (above) was taken just after Mr. AFS had kissed his own bicep. He must really love the way his arms look in these tees. Ahem. Moving right along….

shameless-4

shameless-2

Second tee, I got a lot more creative. Made him a henley with a pocket and back yoke with pleat. This proves great in a solid colored knit because we can actually see the texture and details without trying to squint through a print. He’s loving it. This knit is one of our 10 oz. cotton jerseys that contain 5% spandex (the Burgundy if you were interested). They. Are. Awesome! They sew up like a dream, will last a good long while and they have great color retention. Really comfortable to wear too.

I used the button placket pattern from David Coffin’s Shirtmaking book and put it together like a placket on a sleeve. All went well as per everything I’ve ever done from his book – love it! If you haven’t, take a gander at our knit selection. Get a swatch or two! I’m totally into converting you to my way of knit fabric thinking!

dark horse

dark-horse-1

These are another pair of jeans I made for Mr. AFS. The funny thing was, I was thinking that I would skip doing a blog post about them. It’s just another pair of jeans. I mean, you saw the distressed ones I made for him and then I talked him into having a pair that was non-distressed. But then Mr. AFS kept asking me, “When are we going to do photos for my jeans?” I rather flippantly said something like “whenever” and then later on I thought, well I guess we’d better. The day of the photoshoot (a very high fa-lutin word for what we do around here…..) Mr. AFS was ready to break out his best shirt for the occasion. He even put some “stuff” in his hair and he left his beard on “for the girls” he said. Additionally, he said something to the effect of, he needed to look good for “his following.” Ahem.

dark-horse-3

This brings me to another point. I have been doing a fair amount of very non-selfish sewing around here. This is very unlike me. But I have to say that lately, it’s kind of nice to change it up. I find that it’s easier to fit others than it is to fit myself. Especially my mister. He just doesn’t have the same curves and such as I do and that’s nice. It also still keeps me fresh in the thick of sewing and keeping up with technique and such. I’m about to embark on making my mom a few pairs of pants. Crazy coincidence is that she fits into my perfected and beloved Burda pattern just like me. So I can just whip out two pairs for her in nothing flat.

dark-horse-4

Since I’m rambling a bit in this post, let me ramble some more. Mr. AFS wore his distressed jeans to a friend’s house awhile ago and they got to talking about how I make him his jeans. And then the wife of said friend said that she wanted me to make a pair for her man (Mr. AFS’ friend) and Mr. AFS was like, “well you’ll have to talk to Sunni.” He’s been schooled very well, because then he went into the discourse of how they are made and how they are made to fit him just they way he likes and how he wanted certain things like two different thread colors and he wanted a back pocket with a flap, but attached to the back pocket. All this to say that having the experience of someone custom make jeans for you – or any piece of clothing really – is something you’ll pay the big bucks for. Unless of course you’re married to the custom clothier or are related by blood!

dark-horse-5

I think we could probably go on for a good jot about how sad the state of the United States clothing industry is (and I only say the U.S. because that’s what I know and that’s where I live). People have no clue as to how much a piece of clothing should really cost or to be more precise, how much it would really cost if they were paying the people who made it a living wage! To say nothing of what the clothes we purchase these days are made of. Now, this is not to say that I don’t wear my fair share of ready-to-wear fashion. I do, because quite frankly, I don’t have time to make all the things and I do subscribe to that saying of “moderation in all things.” I make a very good fair share of my own clothing and some for those I love.

dark-horse-2

So my big question is, how do we get more and more people interested in making their clothes? How to inspire the younger generation to make stuff with their own two hands? From scratch? What are your thoughts?

His & Hers Camp Shirts

Camp-Shirts-5

Mr. AFS and myself had this grand idea of going camping this summer. This is not to say that we’ve never been camping, but going and leaving the shop is/was a big deal. I thought it would be all the more grand if I made camp shirts for the occasion. And only give myself a week to do this. Keep in mind we had muslins, fitting, alterations and plaid matching to do here, to say nothing of sewing the shirt and all that that entails. But If there was ever a call for flannel, its camping. If there was ever a call for plaid, camping is just the ticket. The awesome thing in all of this is that the mister here abhores plaid. Can you believe this? Can you believe that this man is married to a woman with a slight fetish for plaid and he hates it? I told Mr. AFS that it was possible that I could get some houndstooth flannel instead and he nearly had a heart attack. Would not stand for “houndstooth.” Heavens no! Now it was plaid or go home. So we went with plaid. Sheesh!

Camp-Shirts-2

Camp-Shirts-1

Well after all that emotional turmoil, I picked out some plaid cotton flannel, a sewing pattern for me and for him and went about sewing these things up. His is Simplicity 1544 and this pattern is a winner. Not too many troubles really. I made a muslin and found that the armpit was little high for Mr. AFS and he needed a bit more room in the upper back. Shortened the sleeve by a few inches too and then we hit gold. For myself, I used McCall’s 6649. This pattern actually came with a Craftsy class that I am working my way through and loving! I thought that in the process of fitting this pattern and getting all the kinks out, I would go ahead and make it up a few times. This is the first make and I still have a few kinks to go. Interestingly enough, I don’t usually get all the kinks out until about the 3rd time. That’s really just the way it goes. I mean, I don’t know if that is the way for everyone, but I tinker until I’m perfectly happy and then I make a permanent copy and blah blah blah. Someday I’ll bore you with that process. For now, you should know about this Craftsy class though. The idea is that you take this pattern, fit it and then reverse engineer it so that it is put back in sloper form! From there you create all these different tops/blouses. So much fun! Definitely recommend. To anyone.

Camp-Shirts-4

OK, so enough of that. I had the same beefs with my pattern as my mister did with his. I increased the upper back width, though I’m going to do a little more as I don’t think I did enough and then goodness gracious, I had to take like 3 inches off the sleeve length. I feel I may have overdone this part a bit, but when my arm is at rest the sleeve hangs precisely where it’s supposed to. There are more kinks to work out here, but I’ll save those for next round’s roundup.

Camp-Shirts-3

Being on a timetable for these shirts and as any good procrastinator would, I put these off until the last minute. The night before we left on the camping trip I was still doing buttonholes and attaching buttons. So these felt a bit rushed. Barring that, I’m surprised they turned out as well as they did. The plaids are matched pretty well and I feel I did a pretty good job with navigating the bias pieces too. Overall these were pretty successful. Mr. AFS wore his and loved it! He’s never worn or owned a plaid shirt in his life, so this is serious people. Mine turned out pretty good too. I did manage to cut a hole in mine. Don’t ask me how that worked or even how I did it because I have no idea. But I patched/mended it and now my shirt has character if nothing else. Sigh….

Camp-Shirts-6

The idea was to get pictures of us actually camping in the shirts. But wouldn’t you know, it rained. And it rained. And it rained. We cut the trip short because of all this rain. I know. All the work of making these shirts and we weren’t able to get j.crew perfect pics of the event. Such is my luck! Ha!

At least there’s flannel for the next camping trip, or possibly some romantic getaway in the near possible future. I almost went matching plaid shirts. We might still have to do that. With some line dancing and cowboy boots for fall. Plaid flannel = true love!

mr. afs riveted….

Mr.-AFS-Jeans-1The mister and I have been spending some intense quality time together lately. Yeah, intense is definitely the word here. It’s a good thing, not to worry, because we’ve really needed it. Whilst spending so much time together, I began to take notice of some needs. I’m one of those lucky gals whose husband rarely asks her for anything – in so many words – but as I look at the state of his wardrobe lately, I know he could use a little help from a girl like me. Enter now, Mr. AFS in new jeans! Yay! Keep your wigs on ladies, this man is taken and so are those jeans!

Mr.-AFS-Jeans-3

Mr.-AFS-Jeans-2

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures and I have been taught all of my life the value of how to stretch a dollar. Doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality of any sort, it just more or less means that you’ve got to start diggin in to what you got. I have a rather substantial stash (and a fabric store, ha ha) and I’ve got the skills, and in these days of struggle and strife I’ve been turning to that stash and noticing an abundance of not just fabric, but supplies, patterns and more! Sometimes it really is the little things – or in this case a bigger thing – that can help bring a smile to your face. I’ve been a hoardin denim like they stopped making it. I had several cuts of denim for the mister to dig through and decide on which he liked and wanted. He made an eye for this particular wash/color denim and then I made him cough up a pair of old standby jeans that I could take a pattern from.

Mr.-AFS-Jeans-4

After copying those suckers, I made up a muslin, just to test the fit and make sure we were where he wanted to be. Easy as pie really. Mr. AFS, rather sweetly and with just a tad bit of pride said that he had absolutely no idea how I do such things. Sigh…. That man. After the muslin was fitted, with a just a few minor tweaks, I set off to make him some jeans he would actually wear. He wanted them distressed. Ugh. I mean, its not hard really, just time consuming. But I did it. I used sandpaper for the distressing and it worked like a charm. Once I had things well on their way, the mister said he wanted some color somewhere. Something he said about his coat too. So I threw in some red topstitching with the regular old denim topstitching.

Mr.-AFS-Jeans-5

He’s been wearing these puppies for about a week now. Loves em so much, he won’t take them off and let me wash them! Now that’s a good feeling! Ha ha!

And speaking of, I need to make myself a pair of jeans pretty soon here too. Ah jeans! The holy grail right? What’s not to love about a good pair of old standbys?

Winter Coat for My Man: Finish Line

Drum roll please. Here it is! The COAT! The finished coat and its on my man and he loves it. It’s a pretty handsome coat, if I do say so myself. We were able to get outside yesterday and snap a few photos and lookey here, it even snowed so the backdrop couldn’t have been more perfect. The coat itself has been finished since last Tuesday. Shawn has been able to wear it a few times and he said that its a really nice and warm coat. He says he feels good in it. Its a close fit and keeps the cold out. He loves the pocket placement, he loves being able to sink his hands right down into the front of the coat comfortably and he says the inside pockets are wonderful. He’s pretty impressed with the hood and though at first he didn’t really like the aesthetic of being able to tighten it up, ultimately he’s really glad I included it because it really keeps the heat trapped inside. Though my mister likes to look good, he likes functionality even more and he’s definitely one of those types that would purchase 7 of the same suit, that looked good on him, and wear the same thing every day of the week because he doesn’t want to be bothered with thinking about stuff like that.

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever made to date – beats the sofa slipcover by a landslide. The slipcover was only hard because it was sooooo big. This coat was different. I could talk til I’m blue in the face about tailoring techniques and how much I’ve learned about them and read about them, but actually employing them on a jacket or coat is a completely different story. I used several tailoring techniques on this coat – stabilized the center back seam, shoulder, front facing and zipper area, created a back stay, added shoulder pads, interlined the lining, added welt pockets, and stabilized the hem on both the coat and the sleeve. I used fusible interfacing instead of a sew-in and really really learned my lesson on testing interfacing on the actual cloth before sewing it together because after I had sewn several interfaced parts together, I found that the interfacing didn’t really like to adhere to the fabric very well. Unfortunately it seemed more due to the fabric itself as I tried several high quality interfacings and all kept peeling off after a bit. Still, I trudged on.

I’m actually really surprised that I finished the coat, to be honest. It’s a direct result of that crafty monogamy soapbox I got on awhile ago. That seriously works. Like, really. I was absolutely determined not to let my attention divert to another project and I’ve found that it really, truly increases sewing productivity. I think I just found my New Year’s Resolution!

As a round-up, I decided that it would be helpful if I included all the posts that I’ve written on a project in the final project’s post. So here’s a handy dandy reference to all the posts on this coat, in order of course:
New Project: Winter Coat for My Man
Winter Coat for My Man: the Muslins
Winter Coat for My Man: Progress
Winter Coat for My Man: the Home Stretch

What do y’all think? Like it? Ever made anything for your significant other?

Winter Coat for My Man: the Home Stretch

I’m sure that you can already sense that in the next photo session of this coat, Mr. S will be wearing it. We are that close. What’s more, I haven’t started a new project – well, alright, I’ll level with you. I did do the muslin for the pants for this pattern, but have yet to do anything else for them, including making the alterations to the pattern itself. Yes. I kept my word and did not start another thing. I’ve definitely been dreaming about new things, so I got a notebook to write them down in. Are you proud of me, or what? It has been really really hard, but crazy enough, my sewing room has stayed tidier and more organized though it still did get pretty messy whilst sewing the coat – but only with coat stuff. Totally normal as sewing is messy, right?

Today I thought I would explain a few things about the coat and give you inside shots of well, the inside. I die. It’s gorgeous. First things first. The toggles. were. a. nightmare. to. attach. Grrrrhhhh! Of course I did it after putting the entire coat shell together, so yeah, the stitching is not perfect, but you know what, I let it go. My perfectionist didn’t have it in her, plus I did just read a very good quote on perfectionism: “Perfectionists pave the road to hell working with grains of sand.” So, there’s that, of course. In addition, I would like to add something about my mister and his predilection to give me a run for my money. After we had exhaustively discussed the fabric, lining, blah blah blah and after I had constructed the front and back bodice pieces of the coat shell, it was at this time that he told me to just, “add some color to the outside of this thing, will ya?” Do I even need to say anything else? Sigh…..so then I added the flashes of yellow in the buttonholes, to which he added, “I like it, but I wanted purple.” I told Leena, a lady I work with about this and of course she had a piece of purple ultrasuede (she has everything you could ever want!!!!). Well, Mr. S says its dark violet, but he likes it. This is why the toggle patches are purple or violet or I mean, dark violet. Pimp, am I right?

We may now proceed to the inside of which I controlled everything and learned my lesson on asking for opinions from a certain someone…. Ahem. Are you ready for this? I found out after I had constructed the outer shell, that the wool was a bit on the thinner wool coating side so I interlined the lining. If you don’t know, interlining is combining layers of fabric so that they act as one, the exact same thing as underlining, but in the case of interlining, this is done soley to provide warmth to the garment. Underlining is done to provide the garment with more structure, body or opacity. I combined three layers here – lining, lambswool and flannel. At first it was just going to be flannel, but then the flannel I purchased was cheap and thin and so I added the lambswool in between the lining and flannel and now its like wearing magma. Yup. Mr. S said he was banking on this thing being warm and warm it will be. So there you have the lining.

From there, let’s have a chat about the lining I used. I’ve seen this type of thing in RTW and I’ve been dying to copy it – using a contrasting lining in the sleeve. For the body I used a lovely lovely and heavy rayon crepe back satin that I found whilst lurking over at Fashion Fabrics Club several months ago. It’s a perfect weight for a coat and such a great fiber content and it was seriously so amazingly easy to work with and use. LOVE this fabric! For the sleeve, I used a grey silk charmeuse from Yellow Bird Fabrics. Doesn’t it look great? It’s totally lush to wear too. I tried it on which is how I know. I really really love this idea because, as you might have guessed, this really cuts down on the cost of the lining of the coat (I mean instead of lining the whole thing in silk charmeuse, you know), yet still adds luxury and an element of style to an otherwise boring black lining. The rayon was only like $5 a yard and then of course, there’s the silk charmeuse, but you really only need the length of a sleeve – like 3/4 – 1 yard and Voila! Instant stylish lining. Think of using leftover silk pieces! Pretty spiffy, eh? In case you were interested, this is my first time bagging a lining on a coat/jacket and I used Jen’s tutorial which is pretty much brilliant. She’s such a genius! Love! I need to edit the sleeves a little bit here, but other than that, the lining is A, OK.

Mr. S insisted on inner pockets and so the only thing to be done was welts. Totally took some of that flannel from the interlining for the welts and then created the welt pocket. The japanese book also supplied the pattern for these and they came out just great though I totally made up the directions as I went along. Not too shabby, right?

What else can I tell you? The flap part around the chin came with the pattern. I’m not exactly sure what to call it, but it keeps the hood up, I guess and all in all, it actually looks kind of cool, right? Well, I think it looks cool. All in all, that pretty much wraps up the coat. I’ll share more about how I feel about the whole thing in my next post. What do you think?

My hands hurt, btw, because there was still a lot of hand sewing even though I did a huge chunk of it all by machine.
Off to find the IBprofen,
Sunni