Suede S8174 Mimi G Moto Jacket

simplicity-8174-jacketAnother moto, really? I just can’t help myself! Yes, there is a limit to how many of these I need in my closet, but I will say that they are so fun to sew and it was really fun to try this new pattern from Mimi G, Simplicity 8174. I am getting better and better at constructing them, and that is so deeply satisfying! I think they look great with jeans, which I wear most of the time.

Papercut Saiph S8174As, mentioned in my last post for the Stylemaker Fall Fabrics tour, I had planned to make a nice, easy vest for the tour. But one night, snuggling on the couch with my dot, both of us scrolling through YouTube videos, her for Minecraft and Seven Super Girls and me for makeup tutorials, I realized that there are some fun sewing videos up there. I started watching the Mimi G tutorial for her moto jacket and was mesmerized by the idea that she was going to film making an entire moto jacket in 35 minutes. I watched enough to make me think, sure, I have time to whip up a moto jacket with that beautiful green suede. Right? So I got up the next day with hope in my eyes.

I did not finish my jacket in 35 minutes, or even an hour. Surprise! It took me an intense 2 days from morning until night. But the video was very nice to follow because I tend to over-analyze and hesitate. The video just showed me the next step, then the next, then the next, even though I know all the steps to make a moto jacket by now. It helped keep me focused and kept me company.

simplicity-8174-shoulderQuick review of the videos – I’ve watched MimiG’s other, more simple pattern videos and she goes into depth about the basic steps, but this one was full steam ahead. It made me think that perhaps she wants or needs her videos all to be about 30 minutes, so a simple top video is very detailed and hand-holding and the moto jacket was rushed. I guess if you want to watch a video about how to construct a knit turtleneck crop top, you are probably a beginner and want that kind level of detail. But what if that same beginner saw that MimiG also had a video for her Moto jacket and dove into that? There could be some challenges, though for the most part she does show you all of the steps. It is just a lot to cover – zippered pockets, belt loops, waistband, full lining etc. This jacket certainly has more pieces and complicated construction than the Lisette Moto jacket I’ve made a couple times.

mimig-moto-s8174I did mess up a little because I like to assemble the lining first. I think I got this tip from Sew Crafty Chemist, and it is a good one. You can check fit with your lining and, with your lining out of the way, you can get excited about sewing your fashion fabric. Has anyone made a jacket and got it all sewn together and started jumping for joy only to realize that you still had to make an entire addtional jacket lining? So I changed my order of construction just slightly and it got me a little confused in the video tutorial. I jumped the gun on a step and had to pick a bit out. Boo. But making the lining first is one of my favorite new discoveries.

But this suede! It is so nice and crisp for a jacket but still soft and pet-able. It unpicked very nicely, actually. It also sewed and steamed well. Yes, suede adds quite a few more steps. I sewed each side of my seam allowances down. I love topstitching and I have the luxury of 2 machines set up so I can go back and forth, so that wasn’t so bad. I do exhort you to trim, trim, trim! Keep those seams as flexible as possible. Because of the texture and weight of the fabric it does take some muscle to cut out (so many pieces!) and trim (every single seam allowance!)

simplicity-mimi-g-moto-jacketBut really, why did it take so long to make? Well, it is all those great details! The front zippered pockets took quite a while, and I almost left them off, but I got lured into them since you do those pockets so early in the process I thought, why not? I’ll tell you why not – because I didn’t have exactly the right zippers, they were an inch too long, and that made me have to recalculate and redraw the lines and pretty much made my pocket insertion much less precise than I hoped. The kicker is that those pocket zippers don’t match my front zipper! I didn’t think it was too bad until I got it all finished and it was glaringly obvious the zippers don’t match. My daughter even mentioned it. All because I was trying not to have to run to the store, but ended up going anyway to buy the gold buttons. Ugh.

So I did the pockets before I got bogged down by the little details of the epaulettes and waistband, etc. But those are such great design features and even though they were so difficult to make in the suede, they elevate this jacket into extra special, don’t they? The key with the suede is that there was no chance of getting a crisp corner by sewing then turning those tabs inside out. I sewed the point, turned them, then folded the straight edges in and topstiched around. The suede was steamable, but those tiny tabs were fiddly and difficult to bend. It was a struggle. I feel like that ate up half a day alone…

backMy other favorite detail is the shoulder vents. The back lays so nicely and is such a unique detail. The jacket fit is really good! I didn’t make any adjustments, just chose 1 size smaller than my measurements, and I love the slim fit. Wait – I lie. When I sewed up the lining I noticed the sleeves were loose so I took those in almost an inch. That took out some of the ease out of the sleeve cap, too, making it a breeze to set in the sleeves. I was a little worried about setting in the sleeves because suede can be a little unforgiving and I was prepared to rip it out if it didn’t go well, but no need. This time.

simplicity-8174-jacket-patternI marvel at this jacket! I can’t believe I made it myself. I’ve been bringing it everywhere, but the reality is that it is still too warm to wear it here. If you need a warm layer, this fabric fits the bill. I have it down in my sewing room on my dress form so I can admire it until I can wear it out. I’m looking forward to that day! My suede jacket dreams have come true!

Bullet points:

  • MimiG video is nice to follow along with, but there are still tricky construction details to contend with
  • I made a size 12, one size smaller than my measurements, with slimmed sleeves, and I really like the fit
  • The details make this jacket a showstopper. While making it you can decide which of the details you want to add or subtract.

Style Maker Fabrics for Fall! Papercut Saiph and Simplicity 8174

saiph-tunic-1At least I am ready for fall, even if the weather here in Southern California is not cooperating. It is supposed to be 100 today. I guess no one told Murrieta that it is now autumn.

saiph-dress-back-viewBut it turns out that my newest true love, Japanese double gauze, is fine for warmer temperatures, too. It is light and breezy and I whipped this gorgeous geometric floral into a Papercut Saiph tunic that I can wear now and later.

papercut-saiph-4I wasn’t sure what to expect when Style Maker Fabrics offered to send me some, but I had heard such glowing reviews that I had to try. So I received my package, wrapped nicely in tissue paper, and I was decidedly unimpressed with the fabric. It felt like a textured quilting cotton. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. But after my pre-wash this fabric came out  of the dryer like the wings of an angel! It is so soft, with light loft and total opacity. It cuts, sews and presses so well and was a joy to work with. Thank you, Style Maker Fabrics – I am so glad I tried it! I feel like Sam I Am and I now want to sew double gauze in a box with a fox, on a boat with a goat…

saiph-tunic-2I have been thinking about a nice easy tunic shape and the Saiph did not disappoint. I was a bit flummoxed by the dart placement – they are really high! But I like the shoulders and the sleeves and I just moved that dart. I’ll move it down more next time. I also chopped off the sleeves a little bit -no need for full length sleeves here. I added a total of 3 inches to the bodice and skirt combined to make it a wearable dress on me.

saiph-dress-4But wait, there’s more!

A vest is such a great trendy fall piece, and perfect for my climate, right? Well, I meant to whip up a nice easy vest to top my outfit off, but instead I ended up making the most detailed moto jacket I’ve ever made, since I am a moto jacket addict. Whew! I had to squeeze it in between rounds of the PR Sewing Bee, but I just couldn’t resist when I pulled this fabric out of the box. The olive green faux suede has such a lovely hand and structure; it was begging to be a moto jacket.

saiph-with-jacketI used the Mimi G for Simplicity pattern 8174. Isn’t it a cool pattern with such fun details? I love the back vent and the little tabs on the shoulders and waistband! The gold buttons and green suede just say fall and really balance out the simple dress.

simpllcity-8174The suede is not the easiest fabric to work with, since I had to topstitch down my seam allowance on both sides of every seam. But what I realized is that it really responded to steam, so I was able to shape it around the shoulders. I am debating whether to topstitch the fronts, they still look a little fluffy, but I wonder if it will smooth out with wear? I only just finished the jacket and bagged out the lining last night. Despite the extra work of using the suede, the gorgeous texture and color create such a showstopper! I am so pleased with it!

moto-jacket-with-saiph-tunicI will provide a thorough review of the pattern and Mimi G’s video tutorial and show off all the details of this gorgeous jacket in an upcoming post. It is an interesting sew and I already have plans for another one. Do I need more jackets? No! But I love them, okay?

saiph-tunic-with-motoSo here is my vision of Fall 2016 with Style Maker Fabrics! Beautiful fabrics with texture and rich color. Mixing a simple dress with a military detailed jacket and boots. And, of course, sweating in the sun for these pictures and hoping for temperatures below 80 by October!

colors-that-make-the-season-851x280There are more stops on this parade of fun fabrics with a fall theme. Did you see Erika’s outfit yesterday? And tomorrow Kelli will show us her creation!

Thanks to Style Maker Fabrics for the complimentary fabric! They were lovely to work with and I was so pleased to try out their gorgeous fabrics.


Another Morris blazer – and how to lengthen it!

Longer Morris blazerFor my next Grainline Morris blazer, I found another totally awesome 1980’s knit fabric, this time in a vertical stripe. So rad! It is actually quite hard to find a vertical stripe knit nowadays, so I was excited when I found this thrift shopping, even though it was just gray and white. I like how the stripe changed direction on the lapels, too. Continue reading


Geometric Morris Blazer

Morris blazer outfitThis has to be as close to a perfect garment for me as is possible. I know, I know, I have said that about my last 3 makes – my Camas blouse, my Liana jeans, and now this Morris blazer, but it is true. I think those 3 items cover my casual style pretty perfectly. I am planning on a dive into shift dresses soon, too, but that is another post.

Grainline Morris blazer sleeve cuffI believe this glorious pastel geometric printed knit could, in fact, be from the 80’s. I found it at my favorite East Side thrift store and have had it in the stash about 7 months. It had finally met its match in the Morris blazer. The weight is medium and the stretch is low, perfect for the hang of this jacket. I cut the facings out of another piece of thrifted sweatshirt fabric that was a bit scratchy on the face, but the underside was super soft, so I used that side. I do recommend putting something very comfortable on the lapels/facings because my neck gets irritated easily, does yours? That would be a sad end to a really wearable jacket if it was itchy! Continue reading


How to kick the B6169 Moto Jacket up a notch

IMG_1210I have a lengthy story about the 3rd challenge of the PR Sewing Bee – A Lined Jacket in 10 days! but let me cut to the Cliff’s notes.

I was totally intimidated by the challenge and time constraint, so I thought it would be wise to make a pattern I already knew and loved, the Butterick 6169 moto jacket. But I second guessed myself when I realized so many contestants were making moto jackets. So I chose another pattern and totally constructed an amazingly difficult wool jacket with bound button holes, then hated it as soon as I put it on. I went back to my original plan of the B6169 with 3 days left and decided to just kick it up a notch.

IMG_1193Plaid is everywhere this fall, and so I was especially ready to use this beautiful soft wool blend that I had been saving, but I only had 1 and 1/4 yards. So, bring on the leather and mix it all together with some fit adjustments and new techniques.

IMG_1180I’ve been terrified of matching plaids for years. You must make sure it is perfect before you cut it out. And cutting is so final! When it came right down to it, I did actually have fun with it, like putting together a puzzle, once I got my pattern pieces marked and I thought to turn the front and back on the bias. My side front, upper sleeve, and side back were the pieces I matched and I’m pleased with how they turned out.

IMG_1247A note for all of us to remember — Wine is a great idea lubricator and helped me in my late night creative planning process. It is not, however, helpful when trying to determine if your plaid is balanced or not. I thought it was balanced, but realized in the full light of morning that it actually wasn’t quite. And this accident lead to the leather strip down the back! Since my back pieces didn’t seam into perfect chevrons, the addition of the leather piece and a little pleat ended up being my favorite part of the jacket.

Alterations this time: I went down another size (2 sizes down from my measured size) shortened the sleeves, took out sleeve head ease and cut down the neckline by 3/4 an inch.

IMG_1201And of course I added lined sleeve zipper vents, which I claim is a new to me technique because, even though I put zippers into the seams of my tweed pants, these vents are lined and I used a facing. And it was darn tricky. You know – those wouldn’t have been so tricky if I had a pattern. But not only was it the first time I tried it, but I was winging the facing pattern. You don’t know what to watch out for before you’ve gone through the process at least once. I now know to make your facing plenty wide so it is easier to turn. And lay your zipper in before you sew it in to check for length. I almost ran out of zipper.

IMG_1269The lining is a special piece that I got from a sewing meet-up at Amy’s house from Sew Well. I’m glad I used a piece of Seattle in my jacket as I’ve been a bit homesick (for the people, not the weather!) and I know that Jennifer from My Sewing Suite has the other half of this fabric and I can think of her and my Seattle Sewing Peeps when I wear it.

IMG_1216The jacket really was kicked up a notch, even over my bright floral one. This one is more designed and very me! It fits well and I know I will be wearing it a lot when it finally dips below 80 degrees here. That is something to look forward to, certainly!

 


Just a little floral, quilted, and a shiny gold zipper Moto!

B6169 AJust a little understated piece I whipped up in an afternoon…just kidding! It is loud and proud and took 3 out of the 6 weeks of the PR contest to complete. My first lined, bagged jacket! I am walking around like a peacock in this!

B6169 PocketThe floral fabric is from Jo-Ann’s, a stretch woven that is fairly thin. I bought it with pants in mind, so I only got a yard and a half. I made it work by adding white quilted sleeves, which I hope toned down the LOUD floral and added a bit of texture. That quilted fabric was a thrift store find. Zipper from a Wawak zipper grab bag that was the best kind of surprise. Now I own 24 more lovely jacket zippers of all different colors and lengths. The lengths don’t matter a bit because it is a cinch to shorten a metal zipper. That means I can make 24 more moto jackets!

Butterick 6169 shoulderI followed the excellent Sew-Along for the Butterick 6169 at www.sewlisette.com. It was very helpful and I learned quite a bit, like how to make a sleeve head and shoulder pads. I made, placed then removed my shoulder pads; they ended up being too much, but it is great to know how to do that now. A word about this pattern — the shoulders were plenty wide for me, which is not usually the case, so they may be a bit wider than average. The sleeve heads work very well to keep my sleeve shape, though!

Butterick 6169 necklineOne really important modification I made was to cut down the entire neckline by half an inch. It felt very tight and claustrophobic, in addition to the shoulders being too wide and the fit too wide. But when I just sewed the entire neckline down a half inch it fixed those issues and made the entire thing sit correctly. I admit that I did shape the sides at the waist by half an inch, too. But I did not lengthen it, and I like the length actually.

As directed, I interfaced the front pieces, but then as I was assembling everything I noticed my stretch sateen was quite limp. So I went back and interfaced the rest of the front and the back. It worked out fine, it might not have been totally necessary since the lining gives it more structure also, but I had to make a judgement call. The result is a jacket that can nearly stand up on its own.

Butterick 6169 LiningWhen I got to the lining, I slowed down quite a bit. I’ve never lined a jacket, so I was nervous. And assembling lining is a bit boring after the excitement of the fashion fabric. But just a week or two ago I saw Sew Crafty Chemist advised making the lining first to maintain momentum during the project. Isn’t that clever? I will certainly remember to do that next time.

Butterick 6169 frontAaaaand, I bagged it! Yeah! Bagging the lining was terrifying, I was so certain I was doing it wrong, but then it all turned out and I was so pleased! It is a very cool trick and I feel very accomplished to have made a fully lined jacket. It was on my sewing goal list for the year.

I plan on making at least 2 more of these. I love the shape and the style and I need one in every color, since I wear jackets all the time in our fickle weather. I am going to try to go down a size next time and make it in a less structured fabric (or without interfacing, I guess). This one will go with all the new items I have made for my PR wardrobe (go vote for your favorites!), but I especially look forward to wearing it with blue jeans because I love pink and blue together. And I’m sure I will be spotted in a crowd in this bright, spring jacket!

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Floral bomber jacket made with the BurdaStyle video

FloralBomberJacket1I gave the BurdaStyle video subscription a whirl recently. Some of the video offered are fairly basic, but I do like to see how other people do things and whether their way is better/more accurate/clever.  I love to learn!

This review is for the Athletic Jacket video. I must admit I feel some resentment that the instructions are so sparse and general that they offer paid videos to show us how to make it, after we’ve paid for the pattern. Seems to me they should just have decent instructions to begin with, right? As a pattern designer, I strive to make my instructions as detailed and helpful as possible, so every customer has the best possible chance for a successful garment. If I ever needed to record a video to help clarify anything, I would offer it free of charge. Continue reading


Burda Desert Moto Jacket for the Sewing Bee

FrontA1Once the weather turned really cold, my sewing ideas turned to jackets. I love to wear jackets! I think they look great AND KEEP ME WARM. Also, I can wear them with jeans. All good reasons to make dozens, right? This Burdastyle Desert Moto Jacket has been on my wishlist for a while. Aren’t the style lines cool? Yes, but they are darn tricky to sew! Continue reading