How do you create? Project planning nirvana

My “Coats Inspiration” design file

With a few days of leave, opportunity yawns before me. I have for sometime been plotting a Donna Karan coat sewing project, Vogue 1263. Saving magazine clippings of designs that appeal is key for my creative process. It helps me to understand what I like, colour, lines, shape. How a piece was styled. Sewing is not the only step, the planning sometimes takes me ages. What would work for me? And what are my fabric stash options? There is of course pinterest but it is also really enjoyable to turn the pages of my hard copy assembly of clippings. I also look through magazine back issues, vintage catalogues etc. Sometimes I keep clippings inside pattern envelopes also.

How do you plan your projects?

Eight in ten sewing challenge: an ongoing love for Donna Karan Vogue sewing patterns.

Sometimes it is hard to believe how quickly time passes. I first made Vogue pattern 1027, a DKNY dress, sometime between the birth of my two children using a navy and grey patterned knit that quickly went into high circulation in my wardrobe. It was perfect for home, cafe, market and weekends away. Somewhere I have a photo of me in this dress, holding my baby daughter one Christmas at the coast, alas that photo has gone into the abyss of photos that is simply “somewhere”… I vividly remember that the forgiving lines, the flattering neckline and swishy skirt was one of the few dresses I had post baby that made me feel feminine and not like a sleep-deprived version of my pre baby self. Eventually, over the years I made another in tan coloured solid knit that I did not love as much the colour did not suit (but my husband says he likes it)!

This is one of the reasons I love pattern collecting. There are beloved designs that become apart of our personal history, our memories. The best patterns are often scrawled upon, well used and show signs of love and possession. This Vogue pattern has found a place in my memories, in a way that I didn’t know it would when my shears first cut the cloth. Long after my kids are grown I am sure the feeling of wearing that first version of this dress will linger, part of a collection of memories.

The catalogue image from Spring 2011 is below however the pattern was available for a few years before that.

DKNY Vogue pattern 1027

Over the next 10 weeks I have set myself a goal of making 8 garments. Vogue 1027 will feature in a pretty, floral Liberty Dufour jersey I ordered a couple of months ago for the upcoming Spring. And lots of Donna Karan designs which I have been saving for years. I am also considering making a version in black with a rayon knit I bought at Tessuti a couple of years ago.

My cutting table is actually an old table on our verandah, given Canberra’s weather is growing more chilly I will have to plan my pattern cutting times!

The Cresting Wave: sewing with knits

It has been quite a while since I have posted. We are at the coast like so many other Aussies at this time of year (school holidays), the birds are raucous, the sound of the sea is crashing beyond the treeline. It is wonderful to enjoy a cup of tea and listen to the natural world, the air is a little crisp, but not cold. We are all recovering from the exhileration of the beach this morning, the waves plunging close to shore, the water rushing around the ankles of frolicing feet and busy hands digging “sandmen” (think snowman but out of sand and shells).

I benefit greatly from the many great pattern reviews I find online so feel it is worthwhile sharing some of my successes with different patterns on makes since Christmas. I have almost exclusively been sewing with knits on my elna supermatic. I have definitely shifted to making more leisurewear since the pandemic began, I have some tried and true favourites.

Makes in 2021 include:

KNITWIT 9100 for my husband. This is a fairly basic 70s men’s raglan tee, I used a beautiful cotton jersey from Paapii (of Finland) which I was drawn to because of its scandi designs. The fit was fine, the key thing to remember that the deeper the curve on a tee, the more you need to stretch the ribbing as you sew so it sits nicely when worn. There are a few Paapii suppliers in Australia.

SIMPLICITY 7020 is a classic boys tracksuit pattern from the 80s, I made the tracksuit top, again a fairly basic design but I was very, very pleased with the fit (I made a size 10), the neckline was not too snug which he really liked. I used blue marle “french tag” from Tessuti which is essentially a french terry that is all organic cotton and luxuriously soft, the topstitching really did look very nice as a an added detail.

I love the fabric so much I made myself a boat neck slouchy sweater from an 80s Style pattern (drop shoulder style) and a pair of trackpants for my husband from KWIK SEW 3028 (2001), which had a great drape.

KWIK SEW 1669 is tried and true, I have probably made this about ten times since my daughter was a toddler, its a good fit and comes together quickly and easily. More recently I probably made her about 3-4 pair out of Lillestoffe organic cotton from Germany which has a range of mega darling designs which we both love. The fabric is not exactly cheap but they are on high rotation in her wardrobe, comfortable and she adores them so I think the designs and quality are worthwhile and superior to what we would buy in the shops, regardless, (C’mon they are mummy-made to measure people)!

This was a pair made using Riley Blake Jersey

I have a few other projects still to be finished in the sewing room including 80s McCalls 9529 which reminds me so much of another era, but I think in a more natural colour palette are coming back on the fashion wheel due to the relaxed fit, (just maybe not with stone washed jeans)!

Nothing gives me so much pleasure as seeing my loved ones so comfortable and happy in the clothes that I make for them in the very best fabrics. Except maybe a glorious morning at the beach followed by a hot cup of tea with the birds.