Sew Paradise

Fall sweaters, hot tea, pretty scarves and beautiful babies

I love fall. The season of my birth, fall brings with it the glorious color change, which is so spectacular in Michigan, with crisp days, and chilly nights. We start up our fireplaces for the winter, we snuggle under handknit afghans, and cozy up to knitting and needlework as the nights grow long. It’s the season for capes, wraps and scarves – just about my favorite kind of things to sew and to wear. On my love list is the BurdaStyle cape in faux leather from the August 2012 issue of BurdaStyle. I have enough capes to wear a different one each day for two weeks, so I hardly need another. But faux leather? Shut the front door, that’s awesome! It’s cool enough for a wool jacket, with a scarf, over jeans, but not so cool you need a heavy winter coat. Today I wore a jacket in gray cashmere over a tee shirt and jeans. I wrapped a hot pink, peach and gold pashmina around my neck. My neighbor complimented me saying I was ‘glowing’ – a good choice for me in scarves is that bright-coral-pink.  The tee is one of my upcycled tees from this tutorial: Upcycle a men’s tee to a woman’s tee, using the Christine Jonson Patterns Base Wear Two pattern.

I took my two kids (5 and 2) for a walk, with our elderly almost 14 year old dog around the block (the dog and the two year old have a similar pace, it’s been delightful match for both). We took their red wagon, stuffed with plaid wool baby blankets, and they took turns laying down and riding. We ambled. The leaves are just beginning to turn, the maples tinged with red on their tips. Tonight, frost, which will start this blaze of spectacular color in full force. This beauty of fall really lasts a month, maybe eight weeks with global warming, and we must savor it.

But I must admit, summer is luscious. Here’s what I miss: sultry days, beach weekends, wide leg linen pants, strapless tops, bare shoulders, sunkissed cheeks, the warm lake air, the sand under my feet. We went from summer directly to cool fall, in just a week, and I miss it already. I joyfully accept every season with it’s newness and freshness, but I miss summer the most of all. Lazy days by the kiddie pool, sun tea in my backyard, my garden bursting with produce.

But fall, it’s here, and I am welcoming it for being new. I’m enjoying hot tea (Aveda comfort tea, my absolute favorite) and will pull out the toddler sweater I’m working on. It’s knitting season!

I hope you’re enjoying the turn of seasons where you are and sewing for it as well.

nursing tops and dresses Sew Paradise

Vogue Cardiwrap and Megan Nielsen nursing top

Vogue Cardiwrap

I finally got to this Vogue Pattern #V8463, which I believe is now out of print. The pattern comes with this wrap top, a tulip-shaped skirt with pleating at the waist, and straight leg pants with elastic waist facing. I plan to make the other two parts of this too. The fabric is a knit, very strong recovery that is sheer with raised stripes, almost like pleating. I bought it in Toronto at Designer Discount Fabrics on Queen St. West about three years ago on a trip to the Toronto Grand Prix (it was my very favorite auto race ever. An entire day shopping for fabric and notions while hubby watched qualifying, and then we went to the race together the next day).

I digress. The fabric was so bumpy with the stitched pleats that I had to consider carefully the type of pattern to sew. I opted to sew this cardiwrap, and use a serger rolled hem for all the hem finishes.  When I first tried this on, I realized this Vogue pattern like most of them, is designed for a 5’8″ woman, not a 5’3″ woman (I think it’s actually 5’6″), because the tails of the cardiwrap dragged on the floor several inches. I ended up cutting off about 9″ from the bottoms before serging the edges.

I can’t quite tie the top like the example photo for the skirt ensemble, which is to cross one side, then the other, wrap around the back and tie at the side like a wrap top. I end up with one that’s really long and one that’s really short, but it’s doable if you do a slip knot. The twist cardigan shape is something I found at Victoria’s Secret, in a how-to-tie example of their soft and sexy wrap.

The second pattern I cut a while back is a Megan nursing and maternity top. I sewed this one in a long sleeve, in a stretch velvet. This is another one of those that uses elastic neckline and underbust seam, so you get really good at stretching and serging elastic on in one step. It’s actually the same construction as a swimsuit, so if you sew this yourself, pick up some swimwear, because that’s just as easy as this is.

Megan nursing top and SewBaby Twirly Dress