Oct 14

How fun is this? Butterick 5891

Butterick 5891 Katherine Tilton Pattern

I made myself a little jacket! This is a Katherine Tilton pattern, Butterick 5891.

It started with the fabric – it’s a home dec fabric from IKEA in 100% cotton. It has a woodcut style koi print. I wanted to make a project inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e style, which was a popular genre of woodblock prints and paintings from the 17th through 19th centuries. You can now find it interpreted in modern works. My son is a Japanese major so I’m constantly learning interesting tidbits about Japan and the Japanese culture.

I thought the Katherine Tilton jacket would be fabulous for this print, but I didn’t want the whole thing to be THE PRINT. I found a few coordinating fabrics from my stash and narrowed it down to a grey cotton (I bought it long ago, it was a drapery fabric!) and a red linen for some contrast.

The jacket was very easy to put together and sew. I made a size 12, wanting it to be a bit over-sized. The only alteration I made was to lengthen the sleeves. The pattern shows just longer than 3/4 length but not quite full length….hmmm, I wanted full length that I could roll up. I think I added about 2.5″.

I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium interfacing on the front facings (oh my, such nice stuff) that ended up being just perfect. The collar of the jacket is meant to be kind of floppy and just hangs as it wants to, it’s part of the eclectic style of the jacket. With my linen, it likes to fold open. With a stiffer fabric it would probably stick up. Either way, I like it! Both sides of the collar fabric will show, so keep that in mind of you make this one. Also, both sides of the “points” at the lower sides by the hem show as you walk, too.

Koi inside

Inside the back: bias trim added to collar seam, selvedge edge finish of back seam, hand stitching.

I didn’t want a regular seam finish to show at the collar seam, so I made some bias tape from the koi fabric to cover it up. I cut the back pattern piece of the grey fabric along the selvedge edge for an interesting seam look with a mock flat felled seam.

Once it was all together, it looked good…but still needed something to make it POP. I added hand stitching using cotton embroidery floss. The designs mirror the water ripples in the print. I used both an off-white and a red.

Koi circle close

koi front

It looks crooked here, but only because of my poor hanging skills. The jacket hangs very straight in real life!

Koi side



Oct 14

Simplicity 1318 Kimono Jacket

Kimono jackets are everywhere right now! I snatched this pattern up as soon as it came out a couple months ago. Right away I knew what fabric I wanted to use – a poly/lycra crepe from my stash. The fabric has a bit of stretch but that’s not required for this pattern that calls for silky lightweight wovens. I had my eye on view C (longer style), but when I laid out my fabric I could see that was just a dream. I had just enough fabric to make the main body of view D but needed a contrast fabric for the contrast bands. I also didn’t care for the sleeves of view D  –  slightly curved with no contrast trim – so I trimmed off the curve and cut a piece of trim to fit the sleeves. The trim fabric I used was a plain poly lining that matched the beige in the floral print.

kimono side


The pattern was very easy to make, but it took me weeks to make – why? The trim is stitched to the jacket, folded over and hand sewn down on the inside. I’m not against hand sewing – I actually enjoy it if I’m in the mood. But I guess I wasn’t really in the mood for it. The jacket sat waiting for me to finish it…

kimono front

Finally I did! I really love this jacket. It’s soft, light and “floaty”. I’d still like to make the longer version, some day.

kimono pocket

Oct 14

Adding an elastic gusset to tall boots

A few years ago I bought a pair of Enzo Angiolini tall black leather boots on clearance at Nordstrom. They are my go-to boots when I need something dressier than snow or hiking boots yet still weather-proof enough for Michigan cold weather slop. I can wear them with a thick pair of wool socks and still look stylish.

Recently I tried them on and found out I could no longer zip them up over a pair of leggings or jeans – oh oh, must have been all those wasabi ginger potato chips I discovered over the summer. I thought I’d bring them to the shoe repair to see what they could do for them. Then I re-thunk it and decided to just fix them myself with some elastic gussets.


I tried the boots on and decided where and how much I needed to cut out for the gusset. The piece I removed was 1.5″ at the top and extends down the boot 8.5″, narrowing to a point. The boot is leather with a man made lining, and was very easy to cut with my regular scissors. For marking the boot I used a pink Frixion pen. You may see some markings left over on the photos, but the actually washes off from the sealed leather quite nicely.

I bought the elastic from JoAnn’s. The widest black elastic they had was only 3″, so I pieced it to make the gusset fit in the opening. I was lucky that the boot has a horizontal seam that lines up with the top piece (and most visible) seam. I really don’t mind the elastic seams, I don’t think anyone will notice them.

I pulled the lining and leather apart enough that I could sandwich the elastic between the two layers, starting on the side closest to the zipper. sandwich

I held the sandwich together at the top with a binder clip.sewing2

Then I carefully sewed the sandwich, starting just below the horizontal seam, so I could still have the sandwich held together with the clip. I sewed all the way down, then I sewed from the top down to the horizontal seam, meeting up with my previous line of sewing.


sewingI used a leather needle, upholstery thread in the upper w/regular poly thread in the lower, 3.5mm stitch length. My machine is a Pfaff 7570 and it can sew through very thick layers. In a previous life I did a lot of heavy home dec items with it so I had full confidence in sewing through the soft leather. It did not disappoint. When sewing, I had the boot unzipped so I could put the rest of the boot top under the free arm of the machine. I know it sounds awkward to sew boots on a sewing machine, but it really wasn’t.


Inside view

After sewing each side, I went up to the top edge and re-stitched where I had pulled the layers apart. Done!



Oct 14

I’m back

I’ve been missing for the past many months. My Mom fell last spring, breaking her femur and nearly dying after lying on the floor for three days until her hospice nurse came to check in and found her. She had a hospice nurse because she was dying of breast cancer. It was a scary, weird time for our family. She passed away in early June.

If you have ever been close to someone dying of cancer you know how horrible it is. Hospice is definitely a help, but we need more. Terminal patients need to be relived of the suffering at their choice and at their time. Please think about how you would like your last weeks, days, hours to be. How would you like final hours of your loved ones to be?