Jacket in a Pocket

Jacket in a pocket

Jacket in a pocket

Preparing for my trip to Seattle meant considering some potential rain fall during the time of my visit. My daughter recommended a hood of some sort and that would be adequate. I have lots of jackets but few have hoods. I came across this cute jacket at my local Hancock’s fabrics while checking out at the register. I wish I could say I made it, but I didn’t. It was a commercially made jacket, offered in solids and prints, and on sale. I was intrigued by the idea of a jacket that folds up into it’s own pocket. The solution to my problem!

Inexpensive, windbreaker jacket with hood and pockets

Inexpensive, windbreaker jacket with hood and pockets

Back view, cinched waist,

Back view, cinched waist,

Waist pull cord on left side

Waist pull cord on left side

What you see here is the left side seam of the coat. Waist cinching is an option and nice to have to add some shape. It is roomy enough to wear over layers and perfect for drizzly days.

Pocket used to use for stowing

Pocket used to use for stowing

This is where the magic happens. From the right side of the jacket, start crumpling up the jacket and stuff it into the pocket, pushing it into the corners. Within seconds, voila! Sack-it Jacket, windbreaker folded into it’s own pocket. The zipper pull can roll from the front to the back, so no problem with the zipper being caught on the inside of the pocket.

If you can’t find one at your local Hancock’s Fabrics ( I didn’t find the Sack-It Jacket on the Hancock site ), and even though they don’t necessarily fold up into their own pocket, here are some other stow away coat options:
Target offers a coat from Coleman that has a little carrying case.
Kohl’s offer a collection to choose from that may suit your needs.
L.L.Bean offers great outerwear while still under the heading of ‘stowaway coat’. So if a little drizzle is in your forecast, throw one of these space savers in your luggage and you’re all set.

The next step is for me to figure out the construction, come up with a similar version, and make a pattern out of it.

Have I missed a pattern out there for the home sewist that would create something like this?

Do you have any traveling pieces providing function well as space saving?

Winter 2014 Pattern Peek

I wish my local Joann’s store was a little quicker on putting the latest pattern catalogs and pattern magazines out on display.  I get all excited only to find the store hasn’t gotten around to putting any of the patterns in the drawers.  What to do?   Visit Hancock’s instead!!   Pour over these pages and get your list ready!

The reality is that I have so many projects in the Que, that there really is no rush.  I will be plenty busy with life, work, chores in the coming days that I need to just breathe and wait a bit longer.

I won’t be reviewing patterns in this post but rather assisting in the planning for your winter sewing.
Check out the latest VOGUE WINTER 2014 Patterns from some of the major companies.  I think I live in the wrong part of the country sometimes because I look forward to the wonderful coats and layering pieces for the colder months.  We have had such a long, hot summer in Tucson that I am ready for a change!!  No need to get in the car and drive to the fabric store just yet.  Due to the wonders of technology, feel free to flip through the pages of the mini catalogs and select your favorites.

Here is a quick peek at the McCALLS WINTER 2014 patterns for the chilly winter. There are holiday fashions, some for little people, and great outer wear and separates for my favorite topic–core wardrobe capsules.

How about KWIK SEW  I have a few winners from Kwik Sew over the years that I sew over and over. Since being purchased, they now offer tissue pattern paper instead of the old butcher paper. Also, the envelopes allow the instructions to be read before purchasing. Before, the old envelopes were sealed. They are priced somewhere between the Big 4 (on sale) and independent patterns.

There are some great Fall/Winter options in Butterick so here is a link to the BUTTERICK FALL 2014 patterns. I already possess the newest of these and can’t wait to get started. I think I will run out of cool temperatures before I finish my projects.

Let’s not forget our independent patterns.   Here are a few lovelies for the colder months.  LOES HINSE has designed a new jacket/cardigan called the Barcelona Jacket and can be found on the Casual Elegance website (shich is on my blogroll). It features a deep V neck and longer length and can be made up in a variety of fabrics.

There is also SERENDIPITY STUDIO Dakota Jacket that offers a great outer layer with a slightly vintage feel. I have ordered this and am making it up in teal velveteen. Can’t wait to see if it will work out. If you haven’t seen the array of Kay Whitt’s clothes, you are in for a surprise. She has a great eye for color and fabric combinations. She has a specific style that she pulls off beautifully.

Another great resource for a more ‘artsy’ or angular styled clothes is THE SEWING WORKSHOP. Linda Lee has a unique design style and these outer wear jackets can be made up in a number of ways.  I am particularly curious about the new Chicago Jacket because it has a big shirt look and could be made out of light weight or heavier fabrics.

How about some Style Arc Jackets and Vests?  Talk about a great selection.  I have not used these patterns yet, but have read about some success stories on other sewing blogs.

If you are interested in a comprehensive list of independent pattern companies, click here.

Happy browsing and sewing!


6 Ways to Sew Affordably

Hancock's receipt showing pattern sale savings

Hancock’s receipts showing pattern sale savings

A question I get often is “Why bother sewing when fabric/patterns is/are so expensive?” or “Clothing is so cheap now so why would I bother taking the time to make something if I can just go buy it?” The pressure to answer this question convincingly is strong; I’m about to attempt to sell the positives of sewing over the ease of going to the mall. Or the simple click of the mouse gets items shipped right to the door. There is a valid argument here, but I try to share the affordable strategy first before getting into all of the other reasons I sew. (More on that in other posts).

I should have a standard answer by now, but I don’t. I consider myself to be very thrifty with my sewing hobby so keeping the cost down is just natural for me. That got me thinking about sharing some of the ways I keep the cost down. There are so many reasons I sew that I’m not always sure which answer to give first. So here are my ideas:

1.) Either borrow or purchase and inexpensive sewing machine for starters if you are unsure about the longevity of this hobby. Be aware, though, that you often get what you pay for in machines (not always) and frustration with a machine is the fastest way to kill enthusiasm. Have a mentor or some support nearby to help troubleshoot mechanical problems. Upgrade and invest in a better machine after you’re hooked.

2.) Sign up for weekly mailers or online alerts for sales. I know what you may be thinking…more email alerts?! Uuhgg! But social media is the way of the future and it is the most affordable way they can keep in touch with me. Some stores offer phone aps that can be downloaded and can be scanned at checkout for the current discount. Facebook is also a tool used by stores to keep you notified.

Of course the stores hope I will buy more than the sale items, and sometimes I do, but the plan is to be very focused on just what I need for the upcoming projects. For example, zippers, thread, etc. Rarely is there only one item on sale I need, so I stay on track by bringing a list.

3.) Utilize store coupons and competitors coupons when possible Check to see if major big box craft and fabric stores in your area will acknowledge each others’ coupons for discounts. There will be exceptions, but for like items, these stores are ready to make you happy for shopping in their stores. I have found Michael’s, Jo Ann’s and Hancock’s very good about this policy.

4.) For online shopping use the discount coupon code at check out. I use the coupon code printed below the paper coupon in my mailer. Sometimes there are in-store and online incentives, so be sure to read the fine print. The online discounts can often help offset the cost of shipping.

5.) Avoid paying full price for patterns. I use the flyers and sale alerts to purchase when patterns are at their lowest prices. The people who ask me about the outrageous cost of patterns today are not aware of the monthly specials on what is referred to as the “Big 4” patterns companies. Keep and eye out for the new styles online and then plan a trip to the fabric store to pick up your favorites on sale day. If I can get a few items sewn up from one pattern, even better.

*Independent patterns are the exception. I am a strong supporter of these hard working designers! The cost of production is higher for them so they must charge more. These pattern designers work harder for your money by giving more thought into the instructions, techniques, drafting and fit. Just a little perusing on some sewing blogs will show you that ‘independents’ are often more pleasing than the “Big Four” pattern companies, so support them if you can. The savings on the other patterns makes it easier to justify giving these patterns a try.

6.) Support mill end, thrift, remnant tables and other discount stores selling fabric, if possible.. In mill end stores, if you can look past the messiness and dig for treasures, this is a sure fire way to keep your fabric costs low. When manufacturers are done with their fabric for mass production, the leftovers are purchased by a mill end store at a discount and then resold at a low price. And it’s a win-win. The store makes a profit off of what might have ended up in a landfill and great deals can be had. Be aware that the fabric content can be a mystery and there may be a minimum fabric requirement left on a large piece, (for example, 2 yards must be remaining) so be prepared to buy more than planned or simply put the piece back. This can often work well to allow for shrinkage since there won’t be content descriptions or washing instruction for the fabric.

Some thrift stores offer plenty of donated fabric for sale or in the way of donated clothes that can be refashioned into something better suited to your taste.

Remnants are often drastically discounted to get it out of the store in order to make room for new shipments.

So there you have it. My main strategies to feel better about spending less money and creating quality clothing that fits my body in the colors, fabrics and styles that suit me.

What is your low-cost strategy to keep your clothing budget in check?

Fourth of July Sewing Day

Simplicity 1803 Project Runway Pattern

Simplicity 1803 Project Runway Pattern

It is a day off and I get to sew! Today’s project is to whip up a quick dress for the sweltering heat. Does a dress with pockets ever get old? Never. I chose Project Runway Simplicity 1803. This is a very comfortable dress for the heat we experience in the desert. Fabric is a cotton from Hancock’s. The bodice has some interest and the skirt is full due to the gathers at the waist. The pockets are sewn closer to the center front in vertical seams rather than in the side seams. I prefer this method because it doesn’t add bulk to the hips. I lengthened the bodice by 1″ because I have a long torso and bodices always run a little short on me.

It is more loose fitting than the picture shows because I changed the side seams by cutting straight down from the armhole to the waist instead of tapering it in. It was easy to gather the skirt into the bodice, positioning most of the gathers in the front and back, and fewer on the sides. I did a centered zipper application because I had a standard 22″ zipper in my stash and I can install it pretty quickly.


This area needs to fit properly across the chest because if not, it will buckle open and not lay flat. A good way to check this is to compare the finished bust measurement on the pattern tissue to your full bust measurement. If possible, have someone hold the enter back seam together before installing the zipper. This will give you a good idea about the seam allowance needed to get the best fit.

This pattern has some cute options available. However, I find the calculations for the fabric to be a it generous by the time I add up all of the fabric needed for add-ons I want. There is WAY too much fabric required which leads me to my Tip-Of-The-Day:
My Go-To Project Runway Pattern Method:
-Buy the Pattern First!
-Cut out all necessary tissue pieces and layout on your imaginary 45’/60″ widths. Measure yardage needed.
-THEN go to the store and buy fabric, trims, contrast fabric, etc.

Do you find the fabric requirements on Project Runways patterns accurate? How do you calculate accurately?