It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun & Funky, Fabulous, Functional Fleece!

Snow in San Francisco?   This year, yes!   Well, close enough anyway - close enough to justify my fleece wardrobe!   My poor old fleece pieces, all old enough to remember my days of active kayaking and camping, have uglied out to the point of really not being suitable for public viewing in any place BUT a campsite.   And even that is questionable...   

At last, I'm starting to replace those poor old tired pieces - here's #1, Jalie 2911:

This pattern rocks!   Because of the collar.   Note:  the green bits are my own embellishment, but the pattern stands on it's own very nicely, even though it does lend itself to having some fun with embellishments.   I just felt that my brown was a little too.....drab.   It's still winter, & I'm tired of drab!   So I funked it up a little with the green additions.

Another plus with this pattern is that it's Very Easy. Some folks had trouble installing the collar at the lower neckline, but I found that if you follow the instructions exactly, it goes on nicely. This picture shows the stitching on the lower ends of the collar before installing.

The two ends are overlaid on top of each other.  The zz'ing on the left shows the narrow seam peeking out beyond the seam on the top piece; the zz on the right overlaps the bottom piece.  Sew the seam (at the top of this picture) with these overlaps in place, and your clips & corners in the right places, and the collar fits perfectly when you install it on the rest of the garment.

What I learned about Working with Fleece: I used a Polartec 200 double faced velour fleece from Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley.   They have a limited selection of fleece, but they do carry the good stuff.  This is a midweight fleece, very toasty, absolutely perfect for lounging in, layering, & even going out in public.  This was my first fleece sewing project, & I ended up using it as sort of a play piece - trying every technique I could think of to sew seams & fiddle around with. I zigzagged edges & used a long straight stitch on some seams, used a stretch stitch & left the edges raw on some, serged a few seams, used the triple stitch to topstitch the collar, topstitched the green bits with a stretch stitch, & probably a couple of others that were rejected. 

 Zigzagged edges with a long straight stitch on the seam.   Too much work for a fabric that doesn't ravel!
 The brown shows the edges left raw - on most of the seams I did this, using a stretch stitch, & stretch needle (75/11)
I am totally a fan of this triple stitch!   It's great for a nice beefy topstitch, especially on knits.  I used this to topstitch the outer edges of the collar.

I found this fleece very easy to work with.  All of the stitches I played with worked, to some degree. The only place I had some trouble was when I was working on multiple layers with the stretch stitch.   I used my basic little Janome, which has no adjustable presser foot pressure    Adjustable pressure and feed dog adjustments would have been a BIG plus (I'll upgrade some day....)

Notes on the pattern & my alterations: According to other reviews, this pattern has a lot of ease compared to most Jalie patterns. Because my fleece was on the thick side, I cut a size U (a size up from my measurements) & graded out at the waist & hips. I also did a full arm adjustment of about 1". With fabric this thick, I actually could have used a little more wiggle room in areas, just to have more layering possibilities.   It's perfect with nothing but a very thin layer underneath, though.  All Jalie patterns, I am convinced, are made for Skinny Minny Arms. Not mine.

For the green hemming, I sewed a very narrow seam, right side of the green to the wrong side of the brown, folded the green over to show on the outside, & rolled it just a little further to show 1/4" of the brown at the bottom. I stitched the ditch between the brown edge & the green. The upper edge of the green is pinked, then sewn down with a stretch stitch. 

I will definitely be sewing this up again! I think it will lend itself to a number of different fabrics; it can be plain or embellished, casual, funky, or even a bit dressy.

By the way, I am toasty warm in my office right now, LIVING in this top in this chilly California winter! 


Peggy L said...

"Funk" is good! I really like this top and your embellishments.

Jillybejoyful said...

Thank you Peggy - and here's to Funk!

shams said...

Very nice, JillyBe! This is a Jalie pattern I've also purchased, but have no immediate plans to make it. But your version is very tempting!

Jillybejoyful said...

Thank you shams :) Up next (after finishing a top that's in the cue) are my Marcy pants! I'll probably dig out a knit for a muslin, & then I've ordered some ponte from Marcy (thanks to your enabling!)

I think Peggy & I will both be making Marcy Pants for the mini-wardrobe contest, right?

vtmartha said...

Great looking top! I have witnessed several SF snows and I don't even live there. I enjoy reading your blog.

Unknown said...

Love your funky style, a really appropiate choice with this pattern.

Enjoy staying toasty warm...that does sound good.

Jillybejoyful said...

Thank you for the comments! Love them...& I especially love hearing that someone enjoys reading my blog!