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wool plaid

  • Finished: Menswear Fabric Wrap Vest

    Carven plaid dress from Resort 2014 as worn by Diane Kruger. Inspiration: Menswear fabrics are big this fall, though personally I've never been able to work up much enthusiasm for them. Too somber, too lacking in texture for my taste. But when I saw this Carven dress (above) in Vogue I fell in love with how the soft folds and pleats made menswear plaid look fresh and feminine. Keeping the Carven dress image pinned to the mood board next to my sewing machine, I stitched up this wrap top made from Mood's wool-blend suiting:

    Vogue 8926 made with gray plaid wool-blend suiting from Mood Fabrics.

    Pattern: For me, working in a fabric store as I do, generally the fabric comes first when I start thinking of my next project. This time I had the pattern in mind first: Vogue 8926. It's a wrap top with sleeveless and 3/4-length sleeve options. I made the sleeveless version but in the longer length. Fabric: A wool-blend, gray plaid suiting I found at Mood Fabrics NYC. I chose this one because it's lightweight with a soft drape—whatever fabric I chose had to make gentle folds for the big collar area. And I like that the plaid turns on the bias for the collar. Here are some gray plaid wool suitings we have online at MoodFabrics.com. As I sewed this vest, which went together super-fast, I was reminded of how utterly delightful wool suitings are to sew. This one pressed nicely, didn't fray, barely wrinkled, took stitches well, and just overall behaved like a dream fabric. Couture designer and sewing teacher/author Kenneth D. King calls wool a "sophisticated beginner sewing fabric," and I totally get what he means. A brand-new sewer could have phenomenal results with wool suiting. Construction details: • I omitted the center back seam and just made sure I had extra fabric for the layout. The seam is straight so omitting it makes no difference to the fit. • I added length to the ties, because I like a longer tie. • To give a crispness and definition to the outer edges of the collar, I topstitched close to the edges. • I needed to take in about 1.5 inches at the shoulder seam, as there was tremendous gaping here. Check this area before you stitch the armscye area. • The directions say to just turn under the armscye area and stitch, but I wanted a more finished look so I used 1/4" gray silk bias tape that I made, stitching it on and then topstitching 1/4" from the edge to hold it in place. Bottom line: I am so pleased with this top! I recently wore it over a cream turtleneck with black ankle pants and black stilettos. I can see making it again in a solid wool crepe or a silk crepe. Next up: It's Halloween costume time! Mood employees really get into Halloween: It's our busiest time of the year for one, plus we have a staff Halloween costume contest and everyone dresses up. I picked out the fabric for mine and need to get on that next....
  • My Sewing Strategy Told Me to Make an Easy Wool Poncho

    Mood images misc 2013 Sewing inspiration: Missoni wool poncho, available at MyTheresa.com
    How's this for a sewing catch 22? I'm surrounded every day by the most beautiful fabric in the world but I'm too busy to sew. Gah! Because I would go crazy if I had to give up sewing entirely, I've modified my sewing strategy to keep things really simple: When I get the urge to sew something I gravitate toward sites like Net-a-Porter and My Theresa, in search of something easy to make where the fabric is the star. Then I look through my pattern collection for a pattern I can easily adapt. With a job at Mood where I'm always busy and a family and home to take care of, I need to keep my sewing projects on the simpler side, and this method works well.

    So you can see why a poncho like this one I saw at MyTheresa.com jumped out at me for a sewing project. I already had an old poncho pattern at home, and seriously, how hard is it to make something like this? Two shoulder seams, stitch the edges under and that's it.

    cape 1 Pardon the low-contrast iPhone photo, but you can get a good idea for how fabulous this wool plaid is. It's a lightweight wool and doesn't feel too hot or too heavy to wear over a sweater or top.

    For my poncho I chose a beautiful wool plaid that I found in Mood's wool department at the NYC store (also available online as well at MoodFabrics.com). I pair it with a cream cashmere turtleneck and tan wool pants, creating a look very similar to the Missoni above, and I get a ton of compliments on my outfit when I wear it to work and out. This poncho has become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, and it had to be one of the easiest to make as well.

    cape 2 To stabilize the neckline, I bound it in some contrasting leather I had in my stash.

    So here's my recommended strategy for home sewers with no time to sew: 1) Look to established designers first for inspiration, because they know best how to make beautiful clothes with simple, clean lines. 2) Dig through your pattern collection to find an adaptable pattern. Even if you own just a few patterns you're likely to have one that's readily adaptable to your needs. 3) Let the fabric be the main focus of your garment, rather than relying on a lot of seams and darts and gathers and other structural details.

    Tell me here about your sewing strategy!