Something pretty random happened at the beginning of this year that lead to me getting reacquainted with one of my favorite past times as well as pushing me to finally acquire a skill I was sort of terrified of. One afternoon I got an Instagram message on my personal account from Putnam books asking if I’d be interested in an advanced copy of Chloe Benjamin’s new book The Immortalists and a coordinating palette of Quince & Co yarn. I used to read a TON but two things conspired to cut that down to barely reading at all over the last two years. Okay I still listened to audiobooks, but that’s not the same for me.
First, Grainline was taking up all of my time and I’d feel guilty if I was doing something unrelated to work. Knitting I could justify because I’d get a blog post out of the finished garment, but reading, that’s just time when I’m not being work productive. Second, my eyesight deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t read a book without my glasses on because it needed to be so close to my face. As someone who’s lifelong preferred reading place is in bed or laying on a couch, that severely complicated things*.
So back to this Instagram message! I thought this could be a great way to jumpstart getting back into reading so I said yes. Flash forward to me trying to read a large hardcover without glasses…it just wasn’t working. One night in frustration I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and purchased the e-version of The Immortalists and it was amazing! I could read without glasses! The iPhone screen killed my eyes though, so I finally broke down and bought a Kindle Paperwhite and I absolutely love it.
Kindle in hand, I’ve now read more books since February than I have in the past few years, not counting audio books, which is super exciting! I’ve been checking out books from the Chicago Public Library for the most part which is super great. I’ve also linked my Kindle to Goodreads so that it automatically updates my reading list. I’m one of those people who are terrible at remembering names, so I have definitely started reading a book I’ve read before more than once. The books above are what I’ve read so far, plus The Immortalists from the above pic, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Have you guys read anything awesome lately? I finally have some hold space at the library, so hit me with your recs!
The second thing that happened as a result of that Instagram message is that I FINALLY took the time to figure out a way to do colorwork that works for me. I’m a right handed knitter, a thrower if you will, which has made me feel like I’ll never be able to master the art of the colorwork since pretty much everyone I know does it two handed. I have taught myself to knit continental but unfortunately my tension never evened out. My left hand may be attached to my body, but it’s connection to my brain is questionable at best.
Motivated by my Immortalists x Quince yarn I signed up for a class with my friend Julie taught by Mary Jane Mucklestone at Vogue Knitting Live. At that class Mary Jane said something that gave me the confidence to try colorwork with only my right hand.
She said that there’s no wrong way to knit colorwork, some people do it with only the left, some people with both hands, and some with only the right. Whatever works for you is the right way!
With that in my pocket and a video from my friend Kate of her colorworking with only her right hand I gave it a go and it worked! I’ve now made two hats, am working on finishing up my MJ Mucklestone class wrist warmers, and have my next colorwork sweater already planned in my head! So many people have chimed in to “correct” my knitting in the past (I learned from a Hobby Lobby pamphlet before YouTube, Knitty, and way before Ravelry existed so my technique is maybe a bit odd) that it turns out I guess I just needed the okay to do what works for me.
I’ve been doing a bit of work on our house this winter which has been nice. I finally made curtains for our dining room and it’s made SUCH a difference! We never close them – I’m that weirdo who always has all the blinds and curtains open – but they really make the room look so much more homey and finished. I used a natural color linen which I love though honestly, if I could have found the style curtains I wanted in the same color linen that fit our windows I would have bought them. One problem with an old house is that now, 99 years on from when it was built, all the windows are non-standard sizes. We need to get these windows replaced this year and the they’ll need to be custom as well. At least I won’t be making those myself!
Our next project which I’ve been working on with my dad is turning the smaller upstairs room into my home office space. The room was basically the complete opposite of my style, and was set up as a nursery when we toured the house to buy. The only baby we have is this business (well and our pets but whatever) so the purple walls, off white trim & ceiling and carpet had to go. So far we’ve taken up the carpet to reveal the original 1919 subfloor which was pretty cool. Hopefully by the time this post is live we’ll have started to put down the underlayment for the new wood floors and I’ll be almost ready to paint. I’m sort of bummed because the walls & ceiling are painted with semi-gloss meaning I have to prime every surface before painting (normally I wouldn’t prime the ceiling) but it’ll be worth it in the end.
I’ve been obsessed with making these little photoshop collages of what I want to do to each room in the house as we start to work on them. I’ve made them for the dining room, living room, and back room already, and they really help me get my full plan across to Jon before I start buying things. Having 4 art degrees in one house means there’s some serious compromise as we’re both VERY invested in the look of the house. I think I’ve finally mastered combining Jon’s more industrial taste with my more warm, midcentury leanings but as the upstairs of the house is all mine, I’m excited I can do whatever I want. Across the landing for the stairs will be my sewing room, but that needs skylights, drywall, window replacements, and more so it’ll be a while before that happens.
What life update would be complete without a status update on my plants?! We got a warm day a few weeks back and I took most of my crew out on the back porch to start the spring plant routine rolling. For me this means clean leaves, flushing and refreshing their soil, a few were split, and a few others were repotted. I’ve noticed that every time I post about plants I get a ton of questions on the posts and messages about plant care. I’d definitely be up for posting a bit more about my plant care routine here, but I don’t want to turn this into a straight up lifestyle blog. So if you’re interested in a small post about plant care tips, leave me your burning plant questions below and I’ll try to get that going.
So that’s it! As always the bulk of the images in this post are pulled from my personal Instagram account, @jen_beeman. Hope you enjoyed this small slice of my life and I’ll see you back here for more sewing content next week, including info on the Uniform Make-Along! Have a great weekend!
From time to time I get inquiries about making a non-quilted Tamarack Jacket, aka one without quilting or batting, and yes, it is 100% possible! I thought spring would be a great time to showcase this pattern variation as it’s not only seasonally appropriate, but it’s a great way to show off a fun print!
For our sample we cropped the jacket about 3″ by using the lengthen shorten line for 2″ of the length reduction, and taking the remaining 1″ off the bottom of the coat following the curved hem edge.
All of the fabric and binding requirements are the same, minus the batting of course. Without the quilting you’ll be surprised how quickly this jacket sews up! Now for how to make yours…
Non-quilted Tamarack sewing instructions
- Cut pieces out as normal. Skip steps 1-8 in the instruction booklet.
- Insert pockets in self fabric as instructed in the pattern booklet.
- After step 25 align the self and lining of each pattern piece with the right sides facing out and baste the two layers together within the seam allowances.
- Follow the instructions for the rest of the jacket.
Patterns used in this tutorial
Almost as soon as we published the Scout pattern we started receiving requests for a scout sleeve variation pattern pack, so today, 5 years after the original Scout release, I have just that for you!
1. Cuffed Sleeve 2. Petal Sleeve 3. Short Sleeve 4. Long Sleeve
Our new Scout sleeve pattern pack includes a short sleeve, a cuffed sleeve, a long sleeve, and a super cute and springy petal sleeve! I’m not one for crazy sleeves but I think the petal is such a cute variation on a regular cap sleeve, and it’s so flattering on so many people. The Scout has consistently been one of our most popular patterns since it was released and I’m so excited to add even more versatility to this top.
Now lets talk about fabric choice for each sleeve option. Generally speaking you can use any fabric recommended in the original Scout pattern and get a good result. We do think there are some fabrics that work better than others for each version though, so I’ll point those out now.
The cuffed version of the Scout Sleeve is going to be best with a slightly more rigid fabric so that the cuff holds its shape. We used a handkerchief linen for our sample and it works great while still maintaining some drape. Other good options for this sleeve are chambray, lightweight denim, ikat, or even a lawn. If you do want to use a more drapey fabric we recommend tacking the cuff down along the outer side of the cuff as well as at the underarm seam.
The petal sleeve works best with a fabric with a bit of drape. This allows the petal to lay gracefully along the arm rather than standing out from it. We used rayon for our sample, but lawn, silk, and other fabrics with a good amount of drape would be excellent choices as well.
The short sleeved version works with any fabric recommended in the original Scout pattern, as does the long sleeve. Our short sleeve sample is made from a soft woven ikat cotton and for our long sleeved sample we used a reversible plaid double gauze.
The original Scout pattern has a cute cap sleeve and turning that into another type of sleeve is slightly more than just lengthening the underarm seams. I think this is why the requests for actual patterns didn’t slow down after we posted a tutorial on lengthening the sleeves and why we ultimately decided to go for this sleeve pack. You can easily adjust the length of the long or short sleeve by raising and lowering the hem line along the pattern’s grain line. Whether you’re using these sleeves as is or as a base for your own idea, the sky is the limit!
You can grab your copy of the Scout Sleeve Variation Pack above or by stopping by our shop. Hope you enjoy!
Just in time for spring we’ve restocked our best selling tee patterns, the Scout and Lark! These two tees are real workhorses in any wardrobe and are perfect for a fun fabric. The Scout for your wovens and the Lark for your knits! Layer them up while the weather is still cool, there’s a reason we can’t keep these patterns in stock!
We also have a ton of great pattern variations for these tees available on our site if you want to mix things up a bit. My favorite is the Lark Colorblocked Tee below. It works great for using up scraps and a bateau tee is always in style!
Today I’ll be showing you how to make covered snaps for your Yates Coat. If you’re not using covered snaps you can simply sew your snaps on using the placement markings on your patterns. If you’d like to cover your snaps, read on!
To begin, cut circles out of the fabric you’ll be using to cover your snaps. We like to use a silk crepe de chine because it’s thin, comes in a wide variety of colors, and seems to hold up well to wear. Start by cutting a circle approximately 1/4″ larger around than the snap itself. You’ll need one circle for each segment of the snap, so for this pattern that’s 8 circles.
Stitch around the outside of the circles using a running stitch approximately 1/8″ in from the outer edge of the circle. Leave a thread tail so you can gather your stitching around the snap later.
Using an awl, punch a hole through the center of the circles you intend to use for the male part of the snaps. Place these circles over the male snaps as shown above.
You’ll now gather the circles around the snaps. For the female side of the snap you’ll want the gathered edge on the bottom edge of the snap as shown above.
Secure the stitching in place on the back of the snaps and close the snaps to test your fabric isn’t too thick for them to close before sewing them to your garment.
Using the snap placement on your pattern, sew the male halves of the snaps to the outer left side of the coat, and the female snaps to the inner right side (the front facing).
Check the placement of your snaps by closing your coat. Adjust if necessary and you’re finished!
We hope you enjoyed our Yates Sew-Along as much as we did putting it together for you. If you have any questions just let us know in the comments below!
Patterns used in this tutorial
Today in the Yates Sew-Along we’ll finally be putting in the lining of our coats! The Yates uses a method called ‘bagging’ which reduces the amount of hand sewing and time needed to line your coat. It’s also pretty magical if you’ve never done it before, and honestly, even if you have! If you find you need extra help, we have two other bagged lining tutorials on our site, one from the Cascade Sew-Along here, and another more generic tutorial here. Sometimes it helps to see things more than one way. Let’s get started!
Lay out your shell with the right side facing up and align the lining on top of it with the wrong side facing up. Pin along the edges of the coat starting at one of the lower edges where the lining and facing meet up around the lapels, neckline, and back down the other side.
Stitch around the area you pinned. You can see above that we didn’t sew over the seam allowance on the front facing, rather we started and stopped at that point. That will make it easier to close the hole created by the bagged lining later on.
Grade the seam allowances of the lining, clip into the lapel Vs, and trim your corners and lapel points.
Align the lower edge of the lining with the lower edge of the hem facing matching center back and side seams and stitch across the seam line. The seam allowance of the edges should be folded over with the seam line flush to the edge of the hem facing. Unlike in the above steps, we do sew over the seam allowance here.
Here you can see a close up of both how your lining edges should align with the edge of the hem facing, as well as the hole left from this step. This is totally normal and we’ll take care of it later!
Now that the body of the lining and shell are attached we need to take care of the sleeve and sleeve lining. It’s very easy to get twisted around during this step so we highly recommend laying your coat out in the above configuration to start. A twisted sleeve will result in you not being able to turn your coat right side out.
Bring the sleeve and sleeve lining towards each other making sure not to twist the body of the sleeves. Fold up approximately 2-3″ of the sleeve lining.
Insert the sleeve lining into the sleeve; make sure that the front and back seams on the sleeve lining align with the front and back seams on the actual sleeve to ensure your sleeve isn’t twisted. Pin the lining to the sleeve and stitch around the seam line.
Open a hole in one of your sleeve lining seams approximately 8″ long halfway up the arm. This is the hole you’ll pull your coat through to turn it right side out.
Reach into the hole and slowly pull your coat through it until the entire coat is right side out. Make sure you don’t force it, if it feels stuck try giving it a wiggle and pulling less at a time.
Once your coat is all the way through you’ll have an unpressed sort of marshmallow looking coat. Before we press our seams we want to anchor the underarm points of the sleeve and lining.
Reach back into the hole in your sleeve lining and grab the underarm points of the shell and lining as shown above. We’re going to make a thread chain linking the two together. This will prevent your lining from sliding around inside your coat.
If you’ve never made a thread chain the video above from our Cascade Sew-Along should prove useful!
Your thread chain should be somewhere around 1 – 1½” long, just enough to allow movement without being so tight it restricts anything. Repeat for the other underarm.
Once your underarm points are chained, it’s time to sew up the hole in your lining. We handstitched ours closed but you can easily do this by machine as well, though it won’t be as invisible.
Now it’s time to press around your coat! You’ll want the seam allowance for anything above the breakpoint, i.e. the lapel, to roll to the outside of the coat, and the seam allowance for anything below it to roll to the inside of the coat.
At this point after pressing you can sew up the area where the hem facing and front facing meet.
Finally, topstitch around the coat body and sleeves. Along the front and lapel of the coat we stitched ¼” from the edge, and at the hem and sleeves, 1¼” from the edge. It’s possible that depending on the exactness of your lining and facing seams you might not quite be able to stitch at 1¼” without catching the lining, if this is the case, just adjust slightly based on the available width of your facings.
That’s it for lining our coats! All that’s left is our closures, so on Monday we’ll be showing you how to make covered snaps to perfectly match your coating fabric. See you then!
Patterns used in this tutorial
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