Sunday, October 2, 2016

Teal Raincoat, SewPhotoHop Roundup, & More


Teal Raincoat

Well, this has taken awhile!

I started this project last July, soon after returning from NYC. I had to order the custom double-ended zipper from Botani and the order got lost, so that delayed me. This fabric, from B&J Fabrics, is gorgeous, but it's a royal PITA to sew and press. I wasn't super happy with how it was looking and, towards the end, it was driving me crazy so I put the project into timeout. Last week I checked the weather report for Munich and it's raining, a lot, so I forced myself to finish it.

I combined two patterns. I used the body of Marcy Tilton's coat, V8934, with the collar from Sandra Betzina's coat, V1494. I made this raincoat years ago. That time I lengthened it, but I didn't want such a long coat for this trip. I like that coat, but I'm not crazy about the collar, so I decided to swap it out with Sandra's collar.

Vogue 8934

Vogue 1494

Let me see if I can remember what I did differently, since it was awhile ago, and I'm notorious for not taking notes as I sew.

  • Swapped out the collar for the Betzina collar.
  • Reinforced the back of the collar with extra interfacing and rows of stitches. This time I put the "quilted" interfacing to the inside of the jacket.
  • Narrowed the shoulder (typical).
  • Shortened the sleeves (typical).
  • Replaced the pockets with angled welt pockets. I love the ergonomics of an angled welt pocket. I made the pocket bags quite deep.
  • The coat is unlined, to make it super lightweight, but I finished all raw edges. I used felled seams where possible and bias binding elsewhere.
  • I finished the front with long, 1/2" wide, bands and band facings.

I considered drafting a detachable hood for the coat, but decided it wouldn't work well with the dramatic collar. Instead, I bought this cute teal wool rain hat from Etsy, and these great Cole Haan rain shoes from Ebay. I had first ordered some inexpensive rain boots from Zappos, but they were incredibly uncomfortable, so I sent them back and found the Cole Haans on Ebay for less money. These shoes are some of the most comfortable things I've ever had on my feet.

Collar closeup

I've used this "quilted, heavy duty interfacing" technique for reinforcing a collar many times, but this is the first time I put it to the inside of the coat! It worked very well.

So, this raincoat was annoying to sew, and the end result is far from perfect, but it will be very useful!

Sew Photo Hop 2016

I first participated in the Sew Photo Hop on Instagram last year. I decided to go again this year!

Here are my summary posts:

Day 1, #sewphotohop, "Hello." I'm Shams and I sew (and blog) obsessively. Not sure I'll be weighing in every day, but I'll try. Here I'm wearing McCalls 6028, made from Scuba knit and wool doubleknit, and a recently finished coat, Butterick 6385. I'm a bit dressed up today because after work there will be frocktails, feasting, and merriment with some sewing friends. @houseofpinheiro @minervacrafts

Day 2, #sewphotohop, "Favorite skill." Well, I have some real skills: housework-avoidance, is one. Food-prep-avoidance is another. Then there's advanced-fabric-buying, extreme-pattern-hacking and matching-pattern-to-fabric. But my favorite? Hmmmm.... I like handwork a lot. But maybe my favorite is probably my obsessive-dedication-to-detail. Here I'm wearing a denim duster I made using a Butterick dress pattern-I added 244 grommets to the front bands. You can't see those in this pic but, on top of that I'm wearing a cowl where I installed 100 small grommets. Through each grommet I inserted a weird little metal thing that I found at Fabrix. I call this my Weird Ass Metal Thingie Cowl and I love to wear it!

Day 3, #sewphotohop, "Dream project." I thought and thought and I really don't have a dream project, as I tend to make the things that excite me. Or maybe I just don't dream big enough, so... How about this: I bought this wool panel from Elliot Berman when I was in NY in late July. It's designed as a no-sew project: You cut around the outer edge and remove the mesh from the armholes, pop it on, and off you go. I love the panel but I hate how these sorts of wraps look on me. I wanted to refashion it but had no idea how. Then yesterday I had a flash of inspiration. I REALLY want to try out my idea but I have only a few weeks until my trip to Europe and this won't go with my color scheme so I can't work on it next. I probably won't be able to get to it until Thanksgiving at the earliest. Waaaaah! @dragonflyfabrics @houseofpinheiro

Day 4, #sewphotohop, "Signature Look." My signature look is a topper with color and/or texture over a monochromatic column (usually black). Worn with bold, statement accessories and shoes, lipstick, and red hair. @houseofpinheiro

Day 5, #sewphotohop, "Print or solid." I am picky about both. For prints I love dots, paisley's, and abstract textural designs. For solids I prefer darker colors. ("I'll wear black until they come up with something darker.") My favorite solid fabrics have some sort of texture. But it appears that day 22 is dedicated to texture so I'll say no more. Here I'm wearing a McCalls dress made from a printed scuba knit and a black wool doubleknit so it features a print and a solid! @houseofpinheoro @vhaberdashery

Day 6, #sewphotohop, "Essential kit." A freezer full of food, made possible by my Instant Pot, and a plentiful supply of Teechino. Today's stew is black bean, brown rice, and veggies. This leaves me loads of time to sew and still be well fed. I drink Teechino instead of coffee.

Day 7, #sewphotohop, "Stash busters." Coats! Especially lined coats! And they just happen to be one of my favorite things to sew! @houseofpinheiro @upcraftclub

Day 8, #sewphotohop, "Made for someone else." I don't sew a lot for others but I recently made these silk pouches as part of a wedding gift for a special couple, Allison and Dionne.

Day 9, #sewphotohop, "Dud." Epic fail? Mais oui!!!!! @remnant_kings @houseofpinheiro

Day 10, #sewphotohop, "Mini or maxi." I'll wear both but I prefer mini! (With leggings or tights.) I'm wearing a sweater from Simply Bella's over a self made dress.

Day 11, #sewphotohop, "Favorite tool." It would be difficult for me to choose a favorite as I love all my tools, but I'm particularly smitten with handmade seam rippers. I seem to collect them! Here are a few... @holmsown @houseofpinheiro

Day 12, #sewphotohop, "Tips and techniques." I have loads of techniques that I love but today I installed zipper pockets on a pattern that doesn't call for them. I love the zippers. 😀

Day 13, #sewphotohop, "Game changer." No question: the internet and, subsequently, social media. What a huge source of community, information, and inspiration!

Day 14, #sewphotohop, "Wardrobe." I've been having so much fun pulling together a travel wardrobe for Paris in teal, black, and cobalt. @sewoveritlondon @houseofpinheiro

Day 15, #sewphotohop, "Sewing space." Even when I'm not sewing, I'm thinking about sewing and noodling things out in my head.

Day 16, #sewphotohop, "Wish list." Last year I wished to go to Paris with Marcy Tilton. I'm going next month! This year I hope to visit Italy! And maybe Japan. A girl can dream, right? @brave_fabrics @houseofpinheiro

Day 17, #sewphotohop, "Zippers or buttons." This is the only image I've reused from last year but it sums it up. Of course I like buttons, but I LOVE zippers and other hardware!

Day 18, #sewphotohop, "Knits or woven." Both, though I sew more with stretch fabric (both knits and wovens) than with non-stretch. I'm wearing 4 self-made knit pieces in this outfit. @girlcharleeuk @houseofpinheiro

Day 19, #sewphotohop, "Sewing library." I rarely buy physical books anymore, but I did pick up the catalog for the Manus X Machina exhibit when I visited the Met in NYC this summer. It was a wonderful exhibit!

Day 20, #sewphotohop, "Seasonal." Am I confused? Not exactly. Am I obsessive? Definitely! Now that I've about finished sewing my fall travel wardrobe for Paris, I've started planning a hot weather travel wardrobe for next summer! It's waaay too much fun! @seamworkmag @houseofpinheiro

Day 21, #sewphotohop, "Go-to patterns." Well. I guess that would have to be the Presto top by @savagecocopatterns! Six are pictures here but I've also made an eggplant colored version. That's seven, so far! @sewessentialuk @houseofpinheiro

Day 22, #sewphotohop, "Texture." Texture is FAR more important to me than solid or print!!!!!

Day 23, #sewphotohop, "Inspiration." So many things inspire me! For example, just look at the colors and textures in this outfit from! @schnittchen_com @houseofpinheiro

Day 24, #sewphotohop, "One piece or separates." Even when I wear a dress, like my black wool sheath dress, I turn it into separates!

Day 25, "Favorite era." This one! I imagine it would have been much harder to get away with wearing a necklace made from eyeglass lenses in any earlier era! @fabricgodmother

Day 26, #sewphotohop, "Close up " I post close-up photos of my sewing all the time, but today I picked up my new team hoodie and I quite like how they did the thumb hole! The ends are sewn into the seam.

Day 27, #sewphotohop, "Other interests." I have other interests but, these days, I'm mostly either sewing or working. When I do have some down time, I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles on my iPad.

Day 28, #sewphotohop, "Wow." One of the most amazing sewers I know is kind of a secret. Manuela, who is from Germany originally, but now lives in Hong Kong, doesn't blog or Instagram, but her skill and artistry are amazing. I know her from Stitches Guild and she also posts to her Flickr album. Here is some of her work. HTTPS:// UPDATE: @manuela_in_hong_kong just joined Instagram!!! (I sent her a link to this post to make sure it was OK, cause, you know, it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. 😀)

Day 29, #sewphotohop, "Storage tips." I don't have many storage tips, but I just love my friend @sfkatwa's knitting bag! She bought this in Bali and I plan to knock it off. @stylemakerfabrics

Day 30, #sewphotohop, "What's next?" Well, I just finished a massive project-sewing a wardrobe for my upcoming trip to Munich and Paris. What's next is my trip to Europe!

#sewphotohop, Bonus pay, "Pj party." I love to sew comfy flannel jammie bottoms, but on top I wear one of my tees. I LOVE my tees but I rarely wear one out of the house - only under duress - as I feel schlumpy in a tee. These are: 1) One of my Greygler tees, the group for older Google employees, 2) My daughter's photo was featured on the advertising for one of her school's annual dance concerts so, of course, I had to buy a tee! 3) I enjoyed visiting the Meowtropolitan cat cafe in Seattle, and 4) I got my degree at U.C. Berkeley. This shirt spells out CAL in mathematical formulas. Go Bears! I enjoyed this photo hop, @houseofpinheiro, thanks so much! @workroomsocial

Nymphadora Knotted Scarf

Last July I visited Churchmouse Yarns on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle. I purchased one skein of Hand Maiden Maiden Hair yarn in the Winterberry color way. I knitted it up into the Nymphadora scarf, finishing as I was flying to New York.

Then it sat. It sat and sat. I wasn't thrilled with how the variegated yarn looked when knitted up. I decided to paint the yarn to cover up the "golden" bits. I ordered two colors of acid dye from Dharma.

And yet it sat and sat, while I dithered. I looked into creating a steamer for setting the color. But still, it sat.

Eventually I decided that I didn't mind the color so much! I tied the knots into the scarf and left it as it.

I like the scarf, but I don't know if I like it well enough to take it to Munich.

You can read more details on my Knotted Nymphadora Ravelry post.

National Sewing Month

You may have heard that September is National Sewing Month in the United States. Carolyn, of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, spent the whole month honoring this event. She hosted giveaways and featured a variety of bloggers. I am honored that she included me in her final post, What Sewing Means to Me, part 3.

It's joyful to read how these very different sewers and bloggers share a common passion for sewing. Check it out!

California State Fabric

I was amused to learn that California has an official state fabric! Last Wednesday, the California State Assembly overwhelmingly voted to make denim the official state fabric of California. I wonder if we are the first state to have a state fabric?

Some question this decision, but let's go with it!

In honor of our new state fabric, I just ordered tencel denim in two colors, one of my favorite fabrics on the planet!

And, no, denim doesn't have to be made from cotton. :)

More Brick and Mortar Closures

It's quite sad, but since my visit to NYC in July, several fabric stores have closed. Most notably, Parons Fabrics and Chic Fabrics. You can read more on Male Pattern Boldness.

This week I learned that Rose City Textiles in Portland, Oregon is closing at the end of the year.

And, of course, Satin Moon in San Francisco is also closing this December.

I buy fabric both online and in person and it saddens me to see these independent brick and mortar stores disappear.


Well, I'm pretty much finished sewing the Paris travel wardrobe. If I had more time, I'd make a new pair of jeans, as my current jeans are looking pretty worn. I also have a project I'm really eager to work on, but I just don't think I'll have time for either one. I have a short amount of time before I leave for Munich and I have a huge deliverable due in Munich, so I will probably be working weekends between now and then.

Last Thursday, DD1 texted me. She's looking forward to a Halloween in San Francisco after spending the last four in rural Oregon. She wanted to know if I'd be willing to sew her up a quick costume and then she sent me a photo. The costume included a bustier. Yes, a BUSTIER!


To be fair, a bustier probably doesn't LOOK that hard. I declined but told her I'd be willing to help her shop, so we spent a day in the Haight district of San Francisco. It's very fun to explore the various shops in the Haight looking for costume elements. By the end of the day, we mostly had what she needed and we ordered a few more things online. I won't be in the country for Halloween, but I look forward to seeing pics of her final costume!

This week I'll be going back to Seattle, also for work. So, yes, not much sewing can happen, but I have been knitting chemo caps!

Please join me on Patti's Visible Monday and Style Crone's Hat Attack. Have a great week!


  1. I adore the lines and colors of your creations, Shams. Sad about so many fabric stores closing - they have great nostalgia, too! xo


  2. Living in Greensboro, N C, I am pretty sure Cone Mills here created denim. I'd like to know why CA selected it as its fabric! If we had a state fabric, it would surely be denim in NC.

    1. That makes so much sense, Belle! Maybe NC can own cotton denim! CA can own sandwashed denim. Maybe other states can own different versions of denim. :)

    2. Denim was created in France. Many mills have produced denim sine it's inception....I think Ca.picked denim because of the association with Levi Strauss.

    3. Yes, I think Levi Strauss and the whole history of the 49ers (the gold miners, not the athletic team) was a huge part of it.

  3. I love following your Paris wardrobe . All your pieces are exceptional !
    I also followed but didn't participate in sewhopshop ! I looked so forward every morning to opening Instagram to see what everyone posted -thx

    1. Thanks, Mary Ellen! You were better at following sewphotohop than I was! Towards the end I was having trouble keeping up!

  4. Thanks for the shoutout! I loved what you said. Glad you were able to get the raincoat finished in time to take it with you!

  5. Loved following you on Instagram for the month (and more) and look forward to seeing you in Paris---even if just in passing. I hate to see the fabric stores closing, too. Perhaps someone will start up a location with multiple fabric stores and lower rent. Chic Fabrics? I thought they just Re-opened. Thanks, too, for taking the time to write such long posts---I feel like I know you!

    1. Thanks, 365! Yes, I just discovered Chic, though I learned they were a favorite among my NYC friends. I was just thinking about shortening my posts as these mammoth posts take awhile to write. :)

  6. Your travel wardrobe is a delight. I love all the colours, textures and styles.

  7. Another great blog. I was glad to see pics of your Paris wardrobe. I've seen each one as you did it & had hoped to see all the items together. What a fabulous job you did.

  8. Superb! Love your Paris/Munich wardrobe. Your new raincoat will be a smash over there or anywhere. Hope you and Margy have a wonderful time and look forward to your reports.

  9. Your coats are so inspiring! I love the color on this, it will be so elegant and cheerful on gray days!

  10. I am saddened to see that a company as progressive as Google practices agism. That tee shirt shouldn't even exist. Why would it be OK to identify employees in such a manner? I am surprised to see you own one and I know I would fight to have them stopped. Before I hear that it's harmless and, it just shows that they identify you as "old" and you shouldn't be identified as anything but an employee.I showed this to two other women without saying a word and they both commented on the shirts message. Very disappointing, Google.

    1. Hi corkpop. Sorry if the shirt offended you, but some of the older employees created a group called the Greyglers. We have other groups, such as the Dooglers (dog owners), and the Brewglers (who brew beer). The Greyglers, as a group, created these shirts to self identify, and we love them. I am proud to be a Greygler and I love my shirt!

    2. I guess I just don't get it. When there is still such a problem with employers discriminating against age it is not the message to send. You are free to do and wear whatever you want, certainly. I just think it sends the wrong message.

    3. To each her own, corkpop! I don't wear any tee shirt to work unless it's absolutely required because I don't feel pulled together and professional in a tee shirt, but these tees are fairly sought after. My age is something I'm proud of, but maybe I'm weird.

  11. Your raincoat looks great Shams - I know you will have a wonderful time in Paris. It is so very sad to think of Satin Moon closing. I should be in the city in November, so I will have to head out to the Richmond for some dim sum and fabric shopping.

    1. Thanks, Susan! I am planning another trip to NYC next spring and I'm sad about the places that will be gone. At least the Satin Moon sisters are retiring and are very much looking forward to sewing their stash. :)

  12. Love the raincoat and the scarf looks really cute in the last photo. You sure have been busy.

  13. Your work is so inspiring. I think my fave is the sheer coat with the black dress underneath.

    1. Thanks, Bunny! I do love that duster which I made from some home dec fabric I bought at Hart's. I think it was intended for curtains. :)

  14. I love love love that teal and cobalt color combo! What a creative mind you have...I'm going to steal that idea from you.
    Deb D.

  15. I love your raincoat, Shams! And that fabric is so wonderful! Also, denim should most definitely be our state fabric as Levi invented jeans here! :)

  16. Having such fun catching up on your latest posts as I've been gone for a month (Victoria, BC and Hawaii). The turquoise zipper teeth on your moto jacket are a great detail and the new raincoat is fab. In fact, I love all of your Paris wardrobe and know you'll get lots of compliments. Enjoy the Tilton sisters, Margie, and all the sewists. I'm so looking forward to your trip posts. Karen

    1. What a fabulous vacation, Karen! You really know how to travel. :) And thanks!

  17. I love every single thing about your teal raincoat. I want I want I want! And the fact you made it yourself (timeout or not!) is amazing!!!! It would be great if you could pop by my link up and add a post this week :)

  18. Seeing all your Paris wardrobe together is inspiring. In your fabrics for next summer, I see some fabric in my stash. And thanks for sharing Manuela - I'm off to search for that Alice in Wonderland fabric!

    1. Thanks, Mountain Woman! Manuela is a real treasure!

  19. Have a wonderful trip. Your beautiful and very clever wardrobe is all set! Love that hat. Who is the Etsy seller? Bon voyage!

    1. Thanks, Claire! I bought the rain hat from here: It came from England but didn't take that long.

  20. Our editor often finds herself despairing over blank white space in our monthly Atlanta Sewing Guild newsletter, and I suggested I would reach out to a few bloggers to see if they would object to our reproducing their tricks of the trade (so to speak) for the benefit of our members. We would, of course, give full attribution. You have such great articles and I am sure our members would enjoy reading them. (mellincf at gmail dot com, and thanks!)

  21. What a wonderful teal rain hat! The differing band widths add so much texture and interest. Thanks for sharing with Hat Attack!

  22. Love your Paris/Munich wardrobe! I've just returned from a month in Florence where I "discovered" the fabric stores, and filled a suitcase. I'll be blogging about my treasures on my blog:
    I'll be going back next year--we should stay in touch!