Summer Jacket #2

Couldn’t find a fabric I wanted to use as a 3rd layer for my brown tones and so I ordered a gauze print in tans and yellow.  I was disappointed. Rather than the tans I was seeing, the primary color was a mustard. Not French’s but the muted, muddied yellow of Grey Poupon. Neither color would have worked with all my brown based fabrics and clothes. So I hunted through the stash yet again and found a rayon, rib-knit fabric in cream stripes. I compared it with both fabrics in the stash and garments in the closet.  It worked well color wise but once again I was faced with a 1.5 yard length. That’s plenty for a T-shirt, even with long sleeves, but a jacket needs more.  I returned to the idea of the Bog Coat. Except this time I wanted to be able to accommodate my rounding back if only a little.  The pattern I chose is an oldie from the knitting side of my life:

I knit this many years ago as drafted and wore it as bathrobe for several years. Mine looked much like the picture in the magazine

The beauty of this pattern is that you are basically knitting 2 rectangles which are then cleverly sewn together into a kimono type garment.  The real advantage I see to using this shape now is the ability to add length at the center back. The disadvantage of this pattern is that I really don’t want a kimono sleeve.  I just don’t want a big floppy sleeve for this jacket. But that’s easy enough to fix.  I decided how wide I wanted my cuffs (8″) and then drew angled lines from the back to the cuff.  The finished top shape looks like this:

Like with my previous Bog Coat, I decided to create a pattern for future use. I know that I periodically use this style. A pattern will allow me to repeat exactly or to make changes based on experience rather than guessing.For the ‘skirt’ piece, I started with a rectangle 18″ tall and 26″ wide. Then I sloped from side seam to CB which added 1″ length (total 19″) at CB.

This is a half piece consisting of 1 front joined to half the back; back will be placed on a fold to create the full ‘skirt’ piece.


I reshaped the neckline to a rounded V. It’s my most flattering shape. I love that in a jacket/3rd Layer I can bring the point of the V down so low.

The upper bodice is 20″ wide and 31″ long. My pattern includes the cuff. Granted, most fabrics will not be wide enough. I will either place the pattern piece lengthwise/on grain or fold up the cuff and cut them separately.

Now someone is thinking this is not really a Bog Coat and you are right. The classic Bog Coat is 1 piece with a few slashes to define sleeves and center front.  The classic is very fabric conserving and among the  least wasteful of fabric. I relate this to the Bog because of it’s over all shape and again the clever folding.  I could sew the center back of the skirt to the back of the upper bodice and then sew the side seams and sleeves as is done with the Bog.  However, I stitched the  underarm/sleeve seams first, then joined the upper bodice and skirt with one long seam. Either stitching method is acceptable. Even if it is not, it is my garment and I’m going to sew it the way I want.

Before cutting I made a second evaluation of the fabric, layout and stretch.  I did not want the stripes to run horizontally across my body.  I’m curvy and stripes not only follow the curve but emphasize any curvature. But I was more concerned about my shoulders than my middle. I could just imagine the stripes making me look like a TeePee. Not the look I was going for. So I laid out my pattern on-grain but then it occurred to me that the fabric stretch was going to make this grow. How much?  The rule of thumb I got from experienced knitters is about 1″ per foot of length.  I put two3/8″ tucks in both parts of the bodice removing 3″ length and it wasn’t a bit too much. Remember this is a rib-knit with 100% stretch.

Before hemming and finishing, I slipped on my new cardigan (it’s a knit).  That’s when I discovered I could have removed even more length. I was happy that the hem was fairly level.

I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt because I nearly always need to rotate my pics. I can introduce error in that process. Also, it seems to me that cardigans tend to droop at center front.  I remember from my study of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting From The Top, that she recommended picking up a few less stitches along the center front bands to counter-act that natural tendency of knit fabrics. So I agree, that’s not a perfectly level hem but I didn’t take my scissors to it like I did with Bog1.

I turned the cuff up 1 color (about 7/8″) and top stitched.

At this point, I was once again faced with the fact I had planned and designed a plain, dull, uninteresting garment. Sigh, which is what I thought I wanted. However, I couldn’t stand another such blaaaaaaaaaah.   I cut 3.5″ fring along the hem.

Added a band to the front and fringed it 2″.

Somewhere in there, I cut two 18″ long strip and added to the front. Then added wooden beads to the bottom

I think I will wear this cardigan tied

Which is why I needed the beads.  I needed to be able to find the ties quickly. Beads that weight the ties are useful for that.

Fit is not as good as I would like. Front and back look fine, but from the side:

I’m surprised that I need only a 5/8″ RBA for blouse patterns. Any more than that introduces wrinkles and strangely makes the back peek up over the shoulder. So surprised I need 5/8″ on tops, but 1″ was not sufficient. Even in this pic the hem is not perfectly level. Could still be error caused by rotating the pic.  More importantly are the drag lines from bust to side and not clearly visible above, repeated on the back. The empire seam keeps them from repeating all the way down and forming into V’s.  Especially puzzling because I’ve never seen this on my other Bog coats including the one made 4 years ago and still in my closet.  Dressmaking is really challenging. You can do the same thing time and time to different fabrics and one day it doesn’t work.  Nonetheless, this garment is going in my closet.  I need it. It is simple enough to work with all my garments but interesting enough to satisfy my need for embellishment. Like the black (which I wanted to be grey), fabric for a tan/brown 3rd layer is still on my shopping list.  Sooner or later, I will be able to replace my cardigan with something I like even better.

Summer Jacket #1

I’ve started my summer sewing. I’m not sewing a 6PAC.  Much as I love the system, I realized I needed not a full  6-Piece capsule wardrobe, but some individual pieces to complete a coordinated wardrobe.  Also I will want 3 coordinated wardrobes, one in brown, one in black one blue .Instead of the dark colors I’ve worn all winter and most of fall and spring, my colors will migrate into lighter blues, tans and greys. I made a complete list of what I need at the end of my Closet Review and now I”m sewing.

I know I’m good for basic tops and bottoms. It’s my 3rd layer pieces that are sorely missing. I searched my stash for fabrics for 3rd layers.  I want very light weight.  I will die if I have to wear a heavy jacket.  I need gauze or voile anything light almost transparent.I also want light colors. I wear darker colors 3 seasons of the year mostly to disguise the dirt and stains winter offers up. Now, I want no I crave lighter colors. Unfortunately, my stash didn’t offer up very much. Just as I have accent 3rd layers in the closet, I seem to have accent 3rd layer fabrics. I  finally retrieve a wool gauze in black.  Frankly I was hoping for a grey but a black will work for now and I will keep looking for a suitable grey fabric.

I bought this gauze at a garage sale. It says it is 2 yards of wool gauze.  It didn’t smell like wool when I steamed it. Also it is not 2 yards. At best 1-7/8 yard.  Except it’s not even that. Both ends are cut at odd angles.  It was squirmy.  I finally sprayed heavily and on both sides with Terrial Magic. I allowed it to dry and sprayed a 2nd time.  I didn’t really want to dunk this wool in liquid starch and then need to wash the finished garment. I mean who knows what size the final garment would be after that event? Nor did I want to apply the Terrial Magic with a paint brush. Can you imaging painting nearly 2 yards of fabric with a sponge paint brush?    I was relieved when the 2nd spraying did not make my wool gauze stiff but did control the slithering and bunching.  I was able to lay it out on-grain. At which point I discovered that none of the patterns I had in mind would work. There was less than 1.5 yards to work with. Plus of course some big odd shaped pieces on either end.

What kind of coat/3rd layer can you make with less than 1.5 yards of fabric? I opted to use the Bog Coat. It is amazingly fabric conserving. For my stature I need  38″  fabric plus a little for cuffs and edge finish.  Let me point that out again 38 inches and some scraps!

Usually I measure and chalk the fabric from a diagram I made a number of years ago.

I double-check the measures and chalking before cutting.  This works really well except that as I age I’ve run into a couple of issues. (1) The back of the neck binds and rubs. (2) I really need an RBA (3) The sleeve length varies. Sleeve length is the result of how wide the fabric is plus how deep the sleeve is cut. Even knowing that, I can start with 60″ fabric and finish with a 3/4″ sleeve.  I’m hoping by having a pattern I can  avoid the pit falls.

Worn with grey jeans and knit sleeveless top.

The Bog Coat is very adaptable.  Balenciaga was famous for this drafting  which elevated this simple garment into the couture arena. I’m not doing much this time because I’m testing my pattern and I want the simple garment. I want a supporting player in my wardrobe. One that I can wear with jeans on errands or into a restaurant with nicer clothes on date night. So, I made my pattern, cut my fabric and stitched it together.  I cut 4″ strips to finish the sleeve edges (folded in half results in a 2″ cuff). I cut a long 2″ strip and finished the raw edge with french binding. I love how a french binding perfectly encloses all the raw edges so easily. I wanted that edge to be  sort of a fat, heavy roll.  I wanted it to weigh down the gauze and hopefully avoid some velcro butt.

I got what I wanted — a very plain 3rd layer that goes with every grey-to-black + accent outfit I can put together from my closet. But I’m  not entirely happy.

  • Usually I place a nice thick raglan pad in the shoulders. Which completely offsets the seamless nature of the Bog Coat and elevates it to a classier garment as it  conceals my asymmetrical shoulders. Shoulder pads were not an option because they would have been visible-a sight I think is gauche.
  • My sleeves are just slightly shorter than I would prefer.  My fabric was only 54″ wide. My cuff 2″ wide. Not quite the 59″ of my wing span.
  • I was unable to adapt for my rounded back. I simply didn’t know what to do. In the end I trimmed 2″ from the front curved across the side leaving the back the original chalked length

Which barely helped:

The back still appears to rise at CB and if this black was more revealing you would see drag lines and folds of cloth coming off the cross back. Interestingly enough, the V’s are not forming.

Also, deep in my heart, I’d still like to make this a little more special. Although my black 3rd layer is finished and ready for wear, I may yet take it back downstairs.  I’m thinking nail heads  hot glued into place.

Summer  Wardrobe Sewing List Update:

  1. Casual Pants/Jeans
    1. Black ranging to greys
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blues.
  2. Dressy blouses:
    1. Black ranging to greys
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blue
  3. Third Layers
    1. Black Wool Gauze DONE
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blue

Closet Review

This IS my last post concerned with th review of my summer clothes. Yeah!!

I started with 13 garments I would consider as 3rd layers during the summer.  This includes some blouses as well as actual wraps.  I’ve long approved of the blouse-as-a-3rd-layer look. I could but dating myself but that’s OK.  Part of finding a personal style involves accepting that others may have a few critical words. The point is having clothes that you love wearing, express your personality and are appropriate for the life you lead. For me that includes blouses as Summer 3rd Layers.

I discarded 2 that I seldom wear.  One is an artsy-fartsy thing that looks rumpled and disheveled on me instead of artsy.  I love the fabric (a silk crepe) and it was hard to sew.  Finishing it was a triumph. Several years later I recognize this is just not me.  The other was a cropped lace-knit. IMO ‘cropped’ needs careful coordination.  I never seem to find the garment to wear with it.  I discarded two for being too short. The 5th too long. I suppose I could shorten but then I’d also like to change the neck. Ah, once it gets to be a lot of work, I’m willing to let go.

What I have left is

7 third layers including 4 blouses.

I am concerned that I have only 1 neutral wrap (the cream, 2nd row, far right). I plan on neutral bottoms with matching or same-hue 3rd-layers allowing me to work with as many accent colors as I like in my tops.  Not only do I have only one 3rd Layer I would consider neutral, I don’t think it is at a flattering length.  Sadly I must admit that my 2017 Summer Sewing must produce 3rd layers.


  1. Bottoms to Sew
    1. Shorts: None needed
    2. Dress Pants: None needed
    3. Casual Pants/Jeans
      1. Black ranging to greys
      2. Brown ranging to beiges
      3. Blue ranging to light clear blues.
  2. Blouses
    1. Casual:  None needed
    2. Dressy:
      1. Black ranging to greys
      2. Brown ranging to beiges
      3. Blue ranging to light clear blue
  3. Third Layers neutral colors needed
    1. Black ranging to greys
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blue



Closet Review

With this post, I’m just one step away from completely reviewing my summer wardrobe and starting the sewing  plan for my 2017 Summer 6PAC.  I lightly starched (just a whiff of spray starch), pressed and placed my woven summer tops on hangers before setting up the tripod and taking pics. 4 each garment. Back. Side Right. Front. Side Left. 4. Each garment. 4. But it’s the best way for me to really see my garments and fairly evaluate .

As with my other summer clothing,   I tossed out anything needing repair before taking pics. I was, again, very demanding wit fit.  I’ve learned a lot in the last 8 months about what fits me and how to fix wrinkles I could never fix before. I simply don’t want to wear garments I would have accepted as “needed-until-I-get-smarter” last year.

I started with 15 woven sleeveless tops and winnowed away.  Really, I wasn’t surprised.  I did not start working with the RBA until much later in the year –just before winter.  I was almost eager to sort through knowing I could rapidly replace any discards with a top that fit better. So to me it wasn’t surprising that of the 15  garments I started with, I’m only keeping 4 for Summer 2017.


Summer Closet Review

Today’s headache ah review of my summer clothes is my category sleeveless tops made of stretch fabrics.  Why didn’t I just review all my sleeveless tops? I was hoping most of the knit fabric would fit nicely. Knits, IMO, are more forgiving in the ‘fit’ arena than are woven garments.  But it was not to be .

I started with a healthy selection of 12 sleeveless, knit tops.  Sadly, I discarded top after top because of the RBA drag lines. I finished with 4 sleeveless knit tops:

I’m only totally happy with the two above.  The black on the right is not showing well in this pics but it fits nicely and is just cute on me. But I have issues with the other 2

I just honestly don’t like the print of the one on the left. The fit is really nice and it therefore deserves its place in the closet.  I love the top on the right but the armscye is a little tight. I look at it and groan out loud when thinking of unpicking. I’ll work with it.  Besides I know how that elusive number Peggy Sagers is always talking about.  Measuring these babies I know exactly what size armscye I want and just as importantly what I don’t want to wear.