Winter 2013 6PAC Plan: Boring Basics

If you couldn’t tell from the title, I’m calling my upcoming winter 6PAC boring basics (see a description of the 6PAC sew-along andthe current thread here on Artisan’s Square). As the weather has been cooling down and I’ve been reaching for long sleeved shirts and sweaters, I realized basically all of my ‘nice’ (ie good to wear to work) shirts are more appropriate for summer rather than winter.

For winter, the basic formula is:

1 – warm topper! coat, thick jacket, heavy sweater, something for cool temperatures – ideally a dark neutral
2 – lighter topper – cardigan, shirt – a colour
3 – a top to wear under the toppers – in a light or dark neutral
4 – another top to wear under the toppers – in shade of the colour
5 – a bottom, dark neutral
6 – another bottom, dark neutral

My bottoms will be two pairs of ‘dressy jeans’ – one black with black top-stitching, and either black with a little more visual interest (black with white/grey/silver stitching and light decorative stitching on the pockets) or charcoal grey with matching stitching. Two long sleeved shirts – one cowl or turtleneck sweater in teal and one in a teal/navy/green version of the same fabric that I used for my split collar sweater blogged here. As for the outer layers/toppers, I have more of a need for casual office-wear rather than a warm coat, so I’m thinking of making both views of M6844 cardigan, one grey and one black. Or else returning to my favorite jacket pattern, Simplicity 1919 and making a lined version, interlined with fleece for warmth.Or maybe some other jacket pattern.

My current storyboard looks something like this, though is subject to change:

A Sweater and New to Me Thread

I picked up this orange/red variegated sweater knit more than a year ago, with the intent to make a cardigan that could be work with a ton of different colored tops, but never got around to actually making the cardigan. Possibly because this fabric screams Autumn to me, and by the time Autumn does roll around, I want something warmer than a light knit cardigan even though I live in California, where the seasons barely change.

As I was thinking about my corduroy jeans, this fabric popped into my head and I knew I had to make something with it this season. I fell in love with this split cowl sweater pattern as soon as I saw the pictures when the McCall autumn patterns first came out. I put it on my list and picked it up the next time patterns were on sale at JoAnn. Initially, I wasn’t sure how the pattern and fabric would pair, but I figured if I didn’t like the cowl collar, I could always just make a band and hem it as a t-shirt.

I don’t know if it was the pattern or the fabric, but I had to remove a lot of fabric from the pieces. I think I ended up taking about an inch off of each side seam. Once I had the top fitting, I basted the collar on, and absolutely loved it. The angled/split cowl with the buttons gives the top just enough of a pop to make it more than just a t-shirt without being too edgy/extreme.

With Needle and Thread - M6796 Split Cowl Sweater

While I love the look of this fabric, it is certainly not the easiest knit to work with. Even my serger didn’t like it. After some googling, I found Wooly Nylon thread (also called textured nylon, stretch nylon or bulky nylon, depending on the brand of thread). I ordered some online, and it was in my machine 4 days later.

I set up the machine with the nylon thread in both loopers as well as both needles, using bobbins filled with the wooly nylon thread for two of the spools. I forgot to take before and after pictures, but the difference was pretty amazing. The fabric fed through the serger a lot easier, and looked much happier once I was done.

Since the construction/serging had gone so well, I decided not to mess with success and try hemming the top with the serger rather than setting up the coverhem machine. Of course, when I tried to do a rolled hem, the machine tried to eat the fabric. So, instead I did a 3-thread serged edge and got a much cleaner finish.

The cowl seems to shift a lot, especially in the back (and therefore bunches and doesn’t lay flat). I’m considering tacking the cowl to the shirt body in a few places to try to prevent bunching, but haven’t done it yet. Overall, I really like this pattern. Though it is fairly distinctive, I do plan to make one or two more, as I have a feeling it will look significantly different in different colors/textures.

Chocolate Corduroy Jeans

As soon as I started thinking about sewing for Autumn/Fall (way back in July), I started thinking about chocolate brown corduroy jeans. Three months later, they’re finally done. I used my TNT (tried and true) jeans pattern, but since this fabric doesn’t have as much stretch as the denims I’d used in my past few pairs, I added an extra 1/4 inch to the outseam on the front pieces. Turns out I only needed it through the hip, as I ended up taking about the same amount back out after putting the waistband on, but I’m glad I had added it.
 Corduroy Jeans - With Needle and Thread
The only other change I made was to the waistband. I ‘borrowed’ the waistband from Jalie 2561, which I plan to test in the next few weeks. Since I don’t know how the pattern will fit, I basted the waistband pieces together, then took out equal amounts from each seam until it was the right length for my jeans. I really like the way this waistband fits – it doesn’t feel like it will stretch as much as the waistbands in some of my other jeans have.
Now, I just need the weather to cool down enough for me to wear them without looking silly. Actually, on second thought, I think I’d rather have the weather stay nice and wait to wear my jeans.