I had a hard time getting my Fall ’17 wardrobe plans together this year. It’s hard when what you love doing becomes your job, and after all these years the balance between work sewing and fun sewing is still something I struggle with. It’s been such a busy year here behind the scenes that I almost felt like I didn’t have the mental space to really plan anything out. Due to said behind the scenes work I also haven’t had time to sew much for myself this year, so I really didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to work out some sewing plans, and not planning means not sewing.
When I originally started thinking about what I wanted to make this season, I felt so overwhelmed with work that I had to really break things down and start simply with this Fall ’17 Inspiration post. From there I laid out a few knitting plans in this post, and collected patterns from my friends that I’ve been wanting to sew since each of these came out. I then made a list in my notebook arranging outfits comprised of these lists and the following is what I came up with. I’m excited to have everything laid out so I don’t have to choose what’s next when I finally get a bit of time to sew for myself. Usually I can’t figure out what to work on next because there are so many options so instead of sewing I just knit.
I’ve laid out 6 looks that I hope to accomplish this season, along with some extra credit because I’m nothing if not delusional about what one human can get done in a day!
Gus Cardigan I talked about this top in my knitting plans post already so I won’t say too much but I think this cardigan will be a real workhorse in my wardrobe. I’m hoping I can get it finished relatively quickly since it’s stockinet, but we’ll see!
Hadley Top I’ve been wanting to make a Hadley using the high neck of View A combined with the straight back of View B for layering. I’ll be making this one in this dreamy dusty silk noil from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics and and don’t worry, I’ll do a post about what you need to do to combine these two views.
M7445 This is a new pants style for me! My plan is to pair View C with the two garments above so that I have some familiar shapes in the mix, kind of easing into them I guess. I’ve been meaning to make these since this summer but I’ve finally got them cut and muslined and I’m now thinking I need to switch up my fabric choice. I was going to use a cotton twill but I’m now thinking something a bit more flowy may be in order so fabric is TBD on these at the moment.
Exeter Cardigan This one I’ve been working on for a little over a month now and am working on the sleeves. I’m using Quince and Co. Owl in Bog and you can see my progress so far on my personal IG account. This cardigan is going to be amazing for layering, which I need since in 1919 insulation wasn’t really a thing.
Archer Button Up I’ll be making View A with the straight cuffs from View B. It’s sadly been a while since I’ve had time to make any Archers for myself and since they’re one of my most worn garment the ones I have are not in great shape. I purchased this super cute plaid from Imagine Gnats and can’t wait to get this one going!
Safran Jeans Pretty excited about this one. I’ve never used a Deer & Doe pattern before but I’ve been wanting to for a while! I’ve heard such great things about this pattern I’m diving in. I’ll be using some Cone Mills denim purchased from Fancy Tiger a million years ago. So jazzed.
Berlin Jacket This cutie from Tessuti will be made up in a perfect rusty brick boiled wool from Stonemountain. It gets pretty chilly at work in the winter between when the radiators kick off and on, so I feel like this could potentially end up living there.
Lark Dress I actually don’t own one of these yet, despite having a million of them at work. The plan is to make a long sleeved, A-line, shorter version with either a scoop or boat neck. Undecided on that point yet but I’m thinking about this charcoal tiny rib jersey from Blackbird Fabrics.
Farrow Dress Because you can never have enough Farrow dresses! Actually I only have 2, a linen summer version and a wool/cotton blend winter version. I’d really like to have a more flowy winter version to wear with tights and ankle boots. I’m waiting on swatches of two fabrics from Stonemountain, though at the moment I’m leaning towards this one.
Kochi Kimono Baby’s first Kimono! I’ll be making view 3, though I may add pockets, not sure yet. This will be a deep blue silk noil affair which will be breathable, soft, and warm. I have a few tops I can imagine layering it with already.
Willow Tank I drew this with a Hadley in the photo but while putting this together I changed my mind once I decided which fabric to use. I can’t find a link to what I’m planning, but it’s Liberty Lawn and the pattern is called Alma.
I’ll be wearing my RTW jeans with this outfit since it seems quite hard finding true black denim, plus I love the fit of my favorite jeans!
Winter Coat The pattern is forthcoming on this one, but it’s the same as this navy blue coat I made for my wedding and have worn nonstop every cold day since. The fabric is a wool/cashmere blend I picked up at Mood when I was in NYC, and I’ll most likely be lining it with a grey bemberg.
Hadley Top Same as the first Hadley above, view A front with view B back…as long as my first one turns out great that is! I’ll be using the Stonemountain silk noil again but in the same white I used for the Hadley sample.
I’ll pair this look with either my Safran jeans or my RTW ones. Honestly I’m sure it the coat will be paired with everything, but for the sake of the outfit we’ll say those.
So that’s what I’m planning for this season! I have a few extra credit garments if things go super well for me (remember when I said I was delusional?) but we’ll discuss those later. I love all the discussion going on in the comments lately so fill me in. Have you made a sewing plan for fall? If so what’s on it? Also fill us in on any hot fabric tips for the season!
Speaking of hot fabric tips, lets talk about that discount I mentioned in the post title. You may have noticed all the Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics links in this post, well they’re solidly crushing the natural fabrics in fall/70’s inspired colors scene right now and I can’t seem to stop ordering from them. Seriously, it’s a problem right now. Lauren from Stonemountain and I have been going back and forth on colors and drape and she kindly offered a discount code for our readers. If you enter GRAINLINE15 at checkout you’ll receive 15% off your order. Coupon expires November 30th at 11:59 PST. Time to snatch up allllllll the silk noil and boiled wool…and maybe a pattern or two also!
Guys, I knit a thing that I don’t really like and that thing is my very first cowl. There are two feelings you can read in my face in these photos. The first is allergies and the second is how I’m feeling about this cowl. I didn’t like knitting it and I don’t love wearing it either. Or at least, I can’t figure out how to wear it so it doesn’t look like an odd floppy piece of fabric hanging awkwardly around my neck.
I think things when awry early on, when the day before I left on a work trip abroad I realized I didn’t have a travel project. I remembered liking this cowl when it came out and thought, now will be a great time to try such a small, portable project, that will also take at least a week to make! On the plane I worked on the rib which was just fine, every other row was twisted knits, not a big deal…then came the main stitch pattern.
I could not for the life of me get into any sort of rhythm with this pattern. Every row of the main part of the pattern was 2 stitches off from the previous row so every time I felt like I was starting to remember what was happening I’d made a mistake. I was also working long hours in another time zone so really a patterned cowl was probably the worst thing I could pick. While I was slugging away on this I kept thinking, well at least I’ll get a super awesome cowl at the end!
Then came the end, and what is even going on here?! It’s somehow floppy, but also rigid. It wants to hang away from my neck in all the wrong ways, and then when it does touch my neck it hits that part that activates the part of me that instinctively says GET AWAY FROM ME YOU’RE CHOKING ME!!! There are many very cute photos of this cowl on Ravelry, so I’m not sure where I went wrong.
I got gauge. I blocked to the measurements. I even used the recommended yarn. Does it look more natural when I awkwardly try to pat it down with my hand? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I guess not everything can be a solid gold winner, and this whole thing is really pretty funny so I’m not sad about it all. I know a lot of you out there are cowl people so tell me, am I just not used to this and it’s actually normal for a cowl to feel awkward? Am I wearing it wrong? Do I need a different sort of jacket? Help a scarf girl out!
A few weeks ago I posted the photo below on my personal Instagram story while getting my shoes ready for fall and unwittingly set off a flurry of clog inquiries. Flurry might not be the right word, honestly it was more of a blizzard. I posted the photo just after getting home from work and answered questions until I went to bed, then woke up to more questions in the morning. I had no idea that so many of you had burning unanswered clog inquiries! Rather than respond to every single person with a full review of every clog I own I figured it would be easier to write a post about them. I’m breaking the post up into sections about each brand, Sven, No.6, Bryr, Sandgrens, and Swedish Hasbeens including company info, the pairs I own, my review, and my picks which is essentially what I’d buy from each brand right now if someone gave me a credit card I wasn’t responsible for paying. There are a million more brands out there but these are the 5 I have experience with so they’re the ones I’ll be discussing.
Before we start I thought I should tell you a few general details about my feet so that you can better visualize how the fit and comfort of these might be applied to your own feet. As far as size, I generally wear a US women’s 6 / 36 and am on the narrow side. I have extremely high arches, my footprints are the heel and front of my foot unconnected at the middle, and because of this I also have a high instep. My feet are also very prone to blisters and if a blister is possible, it will happen. I have sciatica in my right leg caused by my L5 vertebrae which you may find important if you also have lower back issues. I am either standing or sewing most of the week (with the exception of Monday & Friday which are my computer days) on a wood floor at work, and I have worn all of these on typical city excursions which usually involves walking on pavement for over a mile. I’m also not a clog expert, I just own a lot of pairs, so keep that in mind. Now with that said, lets get into my clogs!
Please note that I have paid for all of the clogs in this post and all opinions are my own.
General Clog Fit
A well fitting clog should not slide completely off your foot when you walk, nor should you step out of it, though you do want your heel to slip slightly in clogs with a back since the base doesn’t bend. My first adventure into the world of clogs was in college, before J.Crew made a real size 6 shoe. I bought a pair of the cutest (at the time, it was 2001 so…) brown clogs which were way too large, and scuffed around campus trying in vain to keep them on my feet. Eventually I very sadly donated them thinking that clogs just weren’t made for my feet. It was 2013 before I decided to give clogs another try after that experience. I now realize that not only was the size of those clogs all wrong, but the shape of the leather is also important. The leather of the J.Crew clog was sort of a generic shoe shape; too round and bulbous to form to any foot I can imagine. You’ll notice the clogs below have more narrow leather uppers, meant to form to the shape of your foot and hug them as you walk. As far as the noise of the clogs, the better fitting the clog, the less clomping you’ll do, but for the most part the clomp depends on the type of base, what sort of rubber is applied to the base, and how you walk.
Brand: Sven Clogs
Location: Chisago City, MN
Style: Vintage Closeouts
Base: Vintage Swedish Heel
Leather: Celery Suede
About: Founded in 1974 Sven Clogs are made by hand in Chisago City, MN with leather from around the United States and Sheepskin from Texas, and the bases are from either Austria or Sweden. You can read more about the company here.
Sizing: I find these to run true to size. I’m a solid 36 in both my clogs and clog boots and find the width perfect for my slightly narrow feet, though as I mention below the leather is super soft and has molded perfectly into the shape of my feet. I have no problems with the height of the instep either. As I mentioned above I have super high arches and experience no discomfort wearing these.
My Thoughts: I love Svens and have 4 pairs currently. The clogs are really well made and very very comfortable. I wear a pair of Svens probably at least 4 days a week during the spring, summer, and fall, and during the winter I wear my shearling clog boots just about every day. I find that Sven has the softest leather of all the clog brands listed here, and I’ve never ever had any sort of break in period with my clogs or gotten a single blister. The leather of my traditional Sven clogs has molded perfectly to the shape of my feet with wear as well and sometimes when I put them on I swear I can hear my feet sighing with comfort. I purchased my first pair around 2013 and they’re still in rotation after being resoled once.
I have 3 different bases on my 4 pairs of clogs, but the Women’s 83 Austrian 3″ High Heel Non-Bendable base (on the black and brown pairs) is the one I wear the most. I stand in them all day at work, operate my sewing machine and serger, take the dog for walks, errands, etc. without any trouble or sore feet/back at the end of the day. If you’re overly concerned about the loudness of your clogs, try the Austrian base, it’s a bit quieter than the traditional Swedish base.
Hot Tip: If you’re new to clogs, try the Closeouts section of the site. There are tons of great styles at lower prices so you can see if clogs are for you without investing a pretty penny.
What I'd buy off the Sven site right now
Brand: No. 6
Location: Made in Chisago City, MN
Style: Classic Halo Strap
Leather: Black Nubuck
About: I don’t know much about No.6 aside from the fact that they’re based in NYC as their website has no about section. The clogs are made by Sven and while some bases are the same, I don’t know whether the differing bases are from the same place, nor do I know if they source their own leathers or use what Sven does. The nubuck seems similar to that of my open toe Sven pair, though I can’t say for sure.
Sizing: I found my one pair of No.6 clogs to run normally, though the instep on this pair is slightly lower than my Svens. No. 6 has a great Clog FAQ page here that answers a lot of sizing and other random cloggy q’s.
My Thoughts: I really like this pair though I don’t find them quite as comfortable for day to day wear as my Svens though I’ve never blistered from them. The shape of the base is slightly different from the rest of the clogs I own which I think is the contributing factor.
Hot Tip: No. 6 are made by Sven so if you want No.6 quality without the price tag or sometimes insane styles try those. The Sven store also has been known to have discounted No. 6 clogs if you’re in the area of Chisago, MN!
What I'd buy of the No. 6 site right now
Location: San Francisco, CA
About: Bryr was founded by Isobel Schofield and is based in San Francisco, CA. They make all their clogs in house and use leathers sourced around the US. They have super modern clogs with really great color combinations! You can watch a cute short video about their process here.
Sizing: I’ve heard from others that they think Bryr clogs run large and I’d agree with that. I find them about a half size large. In the sandal I have it’s not a big deal at all, especially since my feet are usually a little swollen in the high humidity of Chicago. The closed toe pair I just bought is great because I can wear them with handknit socks, but if I want to wear them without socks, I just tighten the laces up a bit. I think a size down (to a 35) would be too small on me.
My Thoughts: I love Bryr! The styles are so cute and strike the perfect balance between classic and current, and the colors! So good! I also really love supporting a fellow small woman-owned business. As for the quality, it’s great on the pairs I own. The first pair I purchased in April of 2015 and they still look great and the suede is so soft and comfortable. The leather is a bit stiffer than my Sven but feels great and also hasn’t needed a break in period for me. A few people asked me about the leather back on the kilty clogs shown above, whether that’s annoying or not. In my opinion if you’ve got the right sizes clogs you don’t even know its there. I don’t notice it with or without socks. My Bryr clogs feel similarly in comfort to my Sven and I’ve worn them all day at work with no problems. If you need clogs in a rush then Bryr isn’t for you as there’s a 30 day delay from ordering to delivery, more when a new collection launches, but it’s pretty fun when the clogs you forgot you ordered arrive out of the blue!
Hot Tip: Bryr sells leather samples on their site so you can see which of their amazing colors looks best with your wardrobe before you order!
What I'd buy right now off the Bryr site
Location: Påryd, Sweden
About: According to the Sandgrens website the brand was founded as a leather tannery in the 1800’s and has been making clogs for well over 100 years, which is completely blowing my mind right now. The clogs are handmade at their factory in Sweden which you can see in the video on this page.
Sizing: I think these clogs are right on for sizing. I’m typically a 36 as mentioned above and I went up a size to a 37 so that I can wear them with my handknit socks and they’re a perfect fit! They seem average width for a clog and I have no trouble with the instep, though these are a tie clog so likely it would be hard to really tell because of this.
My Thoughts: I really like the pair of Sandgrens chukkas I have and the leather/suede on this pair is really soft, pretty on par with my suede Svens. The quality on my pair is top notch and have survived 3 winters so far; the comfort level is great as well. I wear them a lot with wool socks in the winter and I think they’re so cute with my handknit pairs. This is the pair of clogs I get the most compliments on hands down. Actually Sandgrens has some of the cutest clog boots and closed back clogs I’ve seen while researching this post so I’m really hoping to get my hands on another pair before spring. The 70’s inspired colors and dark clog base are so up my alley right now!
Hot Tip: I’ve got no hot tips on this one, but their Instagram account is super cute!
What I'd buy right now off the Sandgrens site
Okay guys, this is where things get real. I do not like Swedish Hasbeens clogs. The leather on this pair of boots is beyond stiff. To the point where within 10 minutes of putting these shoes on, with or without socks, parts of my feet are bloody. I’ve talked to a good amount of people who also own Swedish Hasbeens (including the comments on this IG post) and this has been their experience with both the boots and sandals, leather super stiff and hard to break in. It’s a shame because when talking to people who tell me they can’t wear clogs, or have tried and they don’t work for their feet, or hurt all the time, many of them tell me they tried Hasbeens as their first pair. I’m SO glad that these were about my 4th or 5th pair of clogs so I could identify it was the shoe, not me, because if this had been my first pair I would never have tried another pair again. So that’s my take on these suckers. I have no picks because even if someone else was footing the bill I still wouldn’t take a pair. If you’ve got tough feet these could be for you, but they’re definitely not for me!
Okay so that’s a lot of info and photos! I really had no idea this post would become so long, but if you have any cloggy questions, comments, concerns, advice, whatever, pop it in the comments below! Lets discuss!!
I thought it’d be fun to start a little series on some of my favorite sewing tools, starting with my basic everyday sewing must haves. These are the tools I find myself using almost daily while sewing around the studio and things I’d be lost without! Clockwise from top left we have the following…
- Dritz #110 Super Fine Sharp Pins: These are my absolute favorite pins. They’re thin and super sharp so they’ll go through whatever you need without leaving a mark or damaging your fabric. They’re pretty average in length, perhaps a slight bit longer than standard dressmaker’s pins, so they don’t get in the way while you’re working the way some longer quilting style pins can. The only things I don’t use these pins on are heavy wool coating (they’re not strong enough for that) and knits (usually don’t use many pins there).
- Buttonhole Foot: Since we sew a lot of Archers around here the buttonhole foot is in heavy rotation at the machine. The buttonhole foot shown above is for our BERNINA machines but no matter your machine you should have one of these in your toolkit that came with the machine. I highly recommend getting familiar with it and making it one of your best friends. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who tell me they’re scared of buttonholes and either won’t make anything with a button/buttonhole or have garments completely finished waiting around for months for the buttonholes.
- Button Sew-on Foot: This foot goes hand in hand with the buttonhole foot and is indispensable to me! There’s nothing I like less than sewing on a ton of buttons by hand, so having this foot is a total game changer. And before you ask, no I’ve never had a button fall off when attaching it by this method. There’s a button sew-on stitch on my machine that knots the thread at three points during the sew on process so it’s actually more secure than when I’m in charge!
- Quarter Inch Foot: This foot is my number one most used machine foot! BERNINA calls it a Patchwork Foot which I really think sells it short. I learned on a sewing machine that had one of these feet (a Sears Kenmore from the 1970’s), then in school all the industrials we used had a similar foot. I love that it’s small and has an open front so it affords me a better view of my sewing. I really feel lost without it!
- Scissors: I’m not much of a rotary person, but the scissors I find most useful for almost every project I make are my Gingher bent handle shears, embroidery scissors, and my not pictured thread snips. I couldn’t sew without them! I use the small scissors for things like clipping, grading, and other small precision cuts. The shears are for cutting my projects and cutting corners, while the snips live next to my machine and serger for clipping my threads as they come off the machine.
- Buttonhole Chisel: If you’re making buttonholes this is a must have. You’ll never live in fear of slicing a buttonhole open and the cut it makes is so nice. People always ask me if I use fray check on my buttonholes and I really feel it’s not necessary when you’re using the correct tool to open your holes. There’s no pulling of threads when using a chisel like there is with other methods, so the cut is super clean and precise. Just a heads up, you’ll likely need to get this sharpened with your scissors if you use it a lot, they do dull over time.
- Bone Folder: You’ll find these at your local paper supply store as they’re used in book binding a lot, but I love them as point turners in sewing. They’re sharp enough to turn the point but won’t poke through the corner the way some sharper tools will.
- Seam Gauge: These are excellent all purpose measuring tools. Use them for measuring your seam, checking your needle distance when adjusting it from left to right, placing buttons, etc. They’re super handy!
So those are my favorite tools for my everyday sewing with a heavy dose of buttonholes! What general tools can you not live without?
I almost never teach in the Chicagoland area, actually I don’t think I ever have, so I’m super excited to share that I’ll be teaching at BERNINA USA just outside Chicago this December! I’ll be teaming up with Jaime David who is the serger education specialist for BERNINA USA to teach you how to make the Driftless Cardigan on a serger as well as specific garment making techniques on your sewing machine. Here’s a bit more about the class..
Are you ready to take your garment sewing skills to the next level? Come to our two day Capsule Club Meet and Make and let BERNINA educator, Jaime David and Grainline Studio Pattern Designer, Jen Beeman show you how. In this two day workshop you will create a Driftless Cardigan and learn a series of techniques for Hems and Closures. Cardigans are an essential piece for any wardrobe and this pattern can be made to fit your style. Additionally, you will get to know other garment sewists and have time to socialize during our dinner reception. You are sure to go home enthusiastic to take on your next big project.
Techniques taught include (BERNINA B590):
- Blind Hem
- Denim Hem
- Narrow Hem
- Knit Hem
- Use the latest BERNINA Overlocker L 460
- Learn machine basics
- 4-thread Overlock
- Hem Options- including Coverstitch
- Pocket chain stays
- Check out more about the Driftless Cardigan and fabric suggestions here: https://grainlinestudio.com/2016/03/14/styling-swatches-cardigan/
Prerequisites: This class is considered a beginner-level class; however, you will get the most out of the training if you have a basic idea of how the machine functions. You do not need to be a BERNINA owner to take this course.
Before the class you must prepare your fabrics for the Driftless Cardigan. A list of recommended fabrics will be sent to you along with the PDF of the pattern. Wash and dry your fabric before cutting your pattern size. Come to class with the pattern cut out and ready to sew. Bring along your pattern and extra fabric for practice and in case you need to make a corrections.
Schedule of Events
- Class begins at 8:30 AM each day
- Lunch is from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM each day
- Class ends at 4:00 PM each day
I hope you’re as excited about this class as I am. I’ve taken classes as the Creative Center and I’m so excited to now be leading one. If you’re interested in more info or signing up, you can do that here. Hope to see you there!!
If you’ve seen the new Indiesew Fall/Winter Collection you know that our Tamarack Jacket pattern was included in this year’s Full Collection! I’ve only had time to sew up one piece from the collection so far aside from our jacket since I’ve been out of town, the Matcha Top, but I definitely want to sneak in a few more garments. I styled the Matcha top with both the Tamarack as well as a wool/alpaca cardigan I’m wearing a lot this fall.
The Matcha Top is a boxy top with a mandarin-inspired gathered neckline and two sleeve options. I chose the sleeveless version for mine because I often find myself in radiator heated Chicago buildings in the fall which can get quite warm. I wanted something I could layer easily to go between the cool outside and warm inside. I also hadn’t seen many sleeveless versions so thought that would be fun to check out.
The Matcha is also a pretty different silhouette than I’m used to. I usually choose either a top that’s oversized everywhere, or one that’s fitted through the shoulders and bust, then falling to an a-line shape since I’m larger on the bottom than the top. The Matcha is fitted at the shoulders, then quite oversized through the bust, waist and hips. I used an ikat fabric from my stash for the top and I think it was a pretty good choice. I can’t exactly remember where or when I purchased the fabric, I think possibly Fancy Tiger but I don’t see it on their site anymore.
The Tamarack Jacket shown here is from our original release, so it’s a few years old, but it’s by far one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn up. This particular Jacket is two thin layers of Robert Kaufman chambray along with a super lightweight Quilter’s Dream batting layer. I use this as a lightweight jacket or a layering piece. I went down a size in this one so that it fits under my more bulky jackets or my Cowichan sweater. It really is just like a blanket that you can leave the house in, and I’m all about socially acceptable blanket wearing!
We’re the first in a series of blog posts about the collection, the schedule for which you can find below. I know each participant was very excited to be a part of this so definitely check out their posts when they’re up!