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Fall Sewing Plans
Episode 20111th October 2023 • Stitch Please • Lisa Woolfork
00:00:00 00:38:19

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Patterns Mentioned: Vogue 1940, Simplicity 8982, Mimi G for Simplicity 9687 KnowMe 2046, The Rushcutter Dress by In the Folds, The Naomi Shirt by Coffee and Thread

Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers on Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville, Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.

Get Your Stitch Together tips from the episode:

  • Lisa's fall sewing plans to accommodate her medical boot
  • Her plans to make a failed Simplicity knit pattern again
  • How wide leg pants could fit over her boot
  • Ideas for hacking a Vogue dress into a tunic
  • Tips for extending a shirtdress into a tunic
  • Tricks for adjusting patterns for curvy figures
  • Lisa's thoughts on dress pockets and stretchy zippers
  • How Mimi G's wide pants could work with the boot
  • Fabrics Lisa enjoys for fall sewing

 

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Transcripts

Lisa Woolfork 0:06

Black Women Stitch is happy to celebrate the 200th episode of the Stitch Please podcast with AccuQuilt. It's our birthday but thanks to AccuQuilt, we're giving gifts. All September, we count it down to 200 episodes in October. Every week we gave away one AccuQuilt Go! Me fabric starter set, and culminated with the grand prize giveaway of the Go! Big electric fabric cutter starter set. If you are new to AccuQuilt and are thinking about investing in their system, the Ready. Set. Go! bundle is your best value. Ready. Set. Go! provides everything you needed to get started; an AccuQuilt Go! cutter, the eight inch cube with eight essential dies to create 72 blocks, a die to easily cut multiple strip, squares, and diamonds. You also get a pattern book. And the best part is, at anytime you can upgrade your Go! cutter to the fantastic Go! Big, which is what I have, where the AccuQuilt magic can happen at the touch of a button. June Tailor, a well known name in the notions game, is now part of AccuQuilt. Links to AccuQuilt's wonderful products can be found in the show notes.

Speaker 0 1:20

[Sewing machine sound]

Lisa Woolfork 1:20

[Upbeat background music] Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please. The official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast, with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Lisa Woolfork 2:03

of my fall wardrobe plans for:

Speaker 0 3:03

[Sewing machine sound]

Lisa Woolfork 3:08

The fall is a fun season to sew for. Summer is my favorite season to sew for, but I believe fall is a close second. I really like the layering you can do in the fall. I love a nice vest. I love a pair of cozy pants, for the inside or the outside. And this fall is no exception. However, there is a bit of exception this year because y'all, [dramatic music], I broke my ankle. [Sigh] I wish I had a good story. I do. I wish I had a good story. But I don't [falling noise]. Crumble went my ankle. Okay, that's what happened. And now I am wearing a hideous boot that is designed to keep my foot from moving and while it heals. I'm very gratefu.l I was in a lot of pain for a while, but the boot got put on and now I'm able to move around a bit more easily. Though everything just feels awkward. It's awkward to kind of lumber around. My balance feels a little weird and I'm oddly tired. I don't know why I'm so tired. But I think it's because my bone is trying to stitch itself back together. So thank you very much tibia. I appreciate you stitching yourself back together and I want to give you all the space and encouragement to do so.

Lisa Woolfork 4:34

[Piano interlude]

Lisa Woolfork 4:41

gned for white women from the:

Lisa Woolfork 6:54

implicity pattern, Simplicity:

:

[Jazzy music]

Lisa Woolfork:

Another great combo is a separates set from Beaute' J'Adore. It's a Know Me pattern. And this is Know Me, it says it's what's at the top of the, you know how they have the ones with the letter R at the top. But let me give you all the real number. Because that's not the numbers that they index the patterns by. So she's actually Know Me 2046. So it's ME2046. And this is a combination dress, tunic, and pant set. The great thing about it that I really liked about it overall, is I like the way that she splits up the side seams for the dress. One of the reasons I like the pant that comes with the ME2046 is that it's kind of like up, on that, oh, I'm not gonna say a bell bottom type, but it does have wide legged bottoms. So, I guess you could say bell bottoms. It's not, I'm trying to say, what's the opposite of a taper? So it kind of, instead of coming in, it kind of, it goes out. So I guess I could say a bell bottom style. The reason I'm kind of drawn to this is because again, I broke my ankle. And so I'm wearing a boot and that is something I could put on and I could put the boot on underneath it and wouldn't be able to show as much. So that's what I'm thinking. I'm also thinking about things that will look stylish and nice, but also not interfere with my limited mobility. So, very much excited about Know Me pattern 2046 from Beaute' J'Adore.

Lisa Woolfork:

And, while I'm on the Know Mes, this is a dress that I made for,I made it several times but when I make it again it will be my third time making it. And what I'm excited about this time, is the first time I made it, I made in a short sleeved version but the sleeves are so dramatic! Y'all, these sleeves are so freakin dramatic. You will love this. I'm pretty sure you've seen it already but it's ME2016 by Beaute' J'Adore. And I love the sleeve. I've made the short sleeve version twice. I love the pockets, which are large and functional. And, even though it's a tiered garment, I did not find the process of gathering the material to be very, you know, irritating. You know, sometimes that can be one of the reasons. I see these really lovely three and four and five tier dresses. I don't have the patience for all the gathering. But this one worked out really well and I will definitely do it again. The sleeve, the long sleeve version is just so fire! And one of the great advantages of doing it in the fall is that you can wear it and not need a jacket. Or I would not, for example, want to wear a jacket because the sleeves are that big and that dramatic. And I added a big sleeve head on mine. She just tells you how to do a sleeve cap or a sleeve head. And I did mine out of batting to make it much more dramatic and it just looks so great. And I think the same will be true when I make the dress version of ME2016 by Beaute' J'Adore.

:

[Jazzy music]

Lisa Woolfork:

And speaking of dramatic sleeves, I'm really excited by Vogue 1940. And it reminds me, actually, of the kind of high drama sleeve that Nikki designed in Beaute' J'Adore for Know Me 2016, the one that I really like. I've not made this one before, I just got it. But it is a lined, empire waist top that has a v-neck bodice with princess seams, a bow, baby hems, I guess they call it, is that like a rolled hem you think, a baby hem, invisible zipper at center back, and a narrow strap across the upper back. That's for view A. And the same as for view B. Yeah, I'm not going to add this bow in the front because I'm not four. So, I will not be adding the bow in the front. But I think I like so many of the other things. I'm really looking forward to trying this. It's an average Vogue, and so take your time, read the directions, make a sample if your fabric is expensive. But this is so so cute. And it's actually making me think about what it might mean to add maybe an extra 12, maybe an extra 18 inches to the bottom to make it more like a dress, to kind of hack it into a dress to wear it with leggings and boots. Because if you do the long sleeve version of it, I think it could really be something fun for fall. And so that's Vogue 1940.

Lisa Woolfork:

And while we're on the subject of Vogue patterns and trying to stretch our skills, I think that Vogue patterns, I think it is true, that Vogue patterns are the most difficult to sew. They are the ones that require the most skill and knowledge of techniques. And, it's funny because my mother, even now she'll say, "ugh, Vogue patterns-such a headache!" And I think it's because they're kind of futzy, you know, there's a lot of intricate details and things like that. But the dividend, the work pays off. It's not gonna be a wasted effort. When you're doing the things they're asking you to do, and you know, if the directions are correct, which many of them are. You know, I think that I've only had a couple of major pattern errors. Most of the pattern errors I've found had been operator errors, but I found some pattern errors. But if you read the pattern, as Naomi P. Johnson says, three times before you begin, you don't have to worry about having these kind of errors. And so this shirt that I'm talking about is a shirt dress, and I can tell you, I like a good shirt dress. But it is a fine line between a good shirt dress and what could look like a prisonmarm outfit from the musical Chicago. And it's this kind of severe, that can be too structured, too severe, too restrictive, too much shirt & not enough dress. Does that make sense? And so when I looked at this one, I thought, okay, I think I can do this. I like the collar and cuffs. I'm talking about Vogue 1933. Vogue 1933. This is an advanced, or moins facile. I don't speak French very well. My language was Spanish. So that it's an average Vogue pattern. It is a button front a-line dress, loose fitting through the bust, has dropped shoulders, collared neck band, patch pocket, which I will omit, side slits, and length variations. You can use it with poplin, linen blends, cotton shirting, which I have a lot of. I'm often looking for an easy to wear garment that you can make with woven fabrics. This is one of the reasons I really like quilting cottons. I think that they're fun to sew with. There are some that are especially good, I think, for apparel. And by those I mean the Ruby Star Society fabrics, especially when they were doing the 108 wide backs. Remember those? They had those for a while. And it was funny cuz I was talking to Melody Miller about this and she was like "oh, that's too expensive. We're never doing that again" [laughs]. And so, which I can understand because it, it was so gorgeous. Y'all, it was like this lightweight sateen and it was 108 inches wide! And of course it's more expensive because the fabric is so wide. But for me, as an apparel sewist primarily, I was so happy with the quality and quite sad when it became something that was rarer to get. But when you look at this shirt dress here that Vogue has done, the way they're playing with the sleeves, I think is a lot of fun. So for example, if you look at view A, they have the cuffs being oversized. The collar looks pretty standard, but the cuffs are very oversized. And for view B, they have the under seam for the sleeve is open. So it kind of hangs like a cape-type thing. It's really interesting. I don't think I would do that for mine. I think I would button mine up like regular. But what I appreciate is, just like with Nikki from Beaute' J'Adore's pattern, the Know Me 2046, just like that pattern, this one also has this great opportunity to open up the way you move through the garment. And so, it's inspiring me about something, one of the last few patterns that I want to talk about. But I definitely want to do this because I recently purchased quite a few quilting cottons, as well as I have some Ankara that I would like to use. And I believe that this pattern would be so great for it. So I'm really excited about it. And that's Vogue 1933.

Lisa Woolfork:

We're going to take a little break and when we come back we will talk about the last few patterns that I want to sew for fall and that includes a new Mimi G from Simplicity. So stay tuned, and y'all, it's pants. Let's come back so you can listen to me talk about how on earth I'm going to get a pair of pants over this big old boot. Stay tuned.

:

[Jazzy music]

Lisa Woolfork:

The last few big five patterns that I want to talk about all come from Simplicity. I'll start with one that I haven't yet made. I haven't made any of them but the one that is on the list, but not a super, super top priority is Simplicity 9544. This is a shirt dress. And I think it's a shirt dress, but it's also a jumpsuit. So let me tell you a bit about it. On the back of the pattern, they describe it, well, they just say misses dresses and jumpsuit. So you get a knee-length, you get a, I think you get above the knee-length, and then you get like below, like a mid-calf length. Somebody, please write in. Leave me a message on SpeakPipe on the website that says Lisa, this is what a tea length dress is. I'd appreciate that because you know what I got a lot going on here. You know, I'm teaching. I got a broken ankle. I'm like, trying to have podcast. I can't be looking at all the everythings. I need some help! So thank you so much for helping me with that little part. I like this one a lot. Even though it has two patch pockets or two front pockets on the chest, which I tend not to like. I am curious, do y'all like patch pockets? Or I don't know what they call these patch pockets, but it's a pocket with a button flap on the top, it's really nice looking pocket and nice detail. You pleat it, you turn under the raw edges, and you install the pocket. You also make the the flap for your pocket separately. There's going to be two separate. You need a button at the top and then a button hole at the bottom or vice versa. And so this dress in the photograph looks like it's made from a challis, so it's draping really well. But what are you gonna do with those pockets? You gonna put your phone in there? Is that what you're gonna do, you gonna put your phone in there? Your keys? Like, I don't understand. I am absolutely, absolutely not making these pockets. I also like the drawstring at the waist. I like the way it brings in some cinching and some shaping. I also like that these sleeves have elasticized hems that also gives it some shaping. The same is true for the jumpsuit, which I think again helps to kind of give it a nice shape overall. I like feeling kind of held in a bit by my clothes. And so I like to have this clear delineation between the torso and hip. And sometimes the waist can obviously be that. And so this has been interesting to think about with this drawstring. But I do find the pockets unfortunate. But not that unfortunate cause I don't have to make them and I don't think I will. But this is so cute. It's still, I even bought this pattern thinking that the thing that I like the least on Earth, which is wearing a jumpsuit someplace and then having to go into some public toilet and be there with no clothes on because I had to take off my outfit to use the bathroom, I was willing to get past that for this pattern. So we shall see how it goes. This is not something I would wear in the winter. But I do have time to make it now and wear it and it could be something, if I do a mid sleeve, would be good for the spring. So that's something to think about.

Lisa Woolfork:

Now, Simplicity 8920 is a new pattern. I'm looking at the trademark or the the publication date, which, you can find the publication dates for your patterns on the back of the envelope flap. I enjoy listing these, like when I archive my patterns in my database, I'm sure to include the year because it's kind of neat to know, oh, this was published in 2023. This was published in 2021. This was published in, as some of my patterns are, 1997. But this is a really cute, simple, I think, dress. It's a knit dress and a shrug. It's kind of like a tube dress. You just pull it up above above your legs and hips. And it just goes right up to your chest and then it has kind of a flared bottom. So, but it is definitely form fitting. They ask for you to do stretch knits, like a lightweight ponte, jersey, ribbed knit, stretch velvet (shudder, can't use stretch velvet), and sweater knits. They also have the pick-a-knit rule, or the measuring gauge, on the side of the pattern. The great thing about the pick-a-knit rule is that you're able to take four inches of fabric and stretch them by one inch. If you do that it gives you the percentage that you'll need for your stretch to work. You know, the recovery that you know that fabrics have a variety of degrees of stretch. Sometimes they stretch not at all. Sometimes they stretch 10 or 20%,. Sometimes 70. Sometimes 100, like in the case of swimwear and dancewear, they're very high stretch. This pattern requires a fabric that stretches to 35%. I bought some really great fabric from African Zesty Couture. And I was going to use it for Frocktails, which because I broke my ankle, I could not go. So it was tragic. Weep for me. I wept for myself. And before I cut the fabric I got from Grace, I said, "well, let me practice it with something else." And fortunately, I had some fabric that I had purchased from Los Angeles. It was not the same pattern at all but it was the same fabric composition. And that's important because there's no point in making a sample garment that is not gonna behave in the same way as your real garment. So I didn't want to just get one of my old favorite cotton lycras, which has much more stretch than what the pattern calls for because the results would not be consistent. So this was true of both Grace's fabric and of the fabric that I'm going to use as a sample. And the question was this...the fabric is high stretch, they asked for 35% stretch fabric. They also require an invisible zipper to go in the middle. And we had a nice robust conversation on Instagram, about whether it was worth it to put a zipper into a stretchy garment. Now if my fabric was 35%, which is what the fabric the pattern calls for, I probably would, even though if it gets my best judgment, I would probably put a zipper in. Because that is not a lot of stretch. 35% is not a lot of stretch. I don't think it's enough, at least for me, to comfortably wear as leggings or something like that. I think I like it to have a bit more. The great news is the fabric that I have that I was going to use as a sample is actually 70% stretch. That's seven zero and the percent sign. That is so much stretch! And still, people were saying, "oh, Lisa, you should put a zipper in that." And I'm like," in a 70% stretch garment, y'all? That's like putting a zipper in a swimsuit! Why would I want such a thing?"

Lisa Woolfork:

Now, [background sad violin music] [sigh] because I was too sad mad about missing Frocktails, I decided not to make the dress or the shrug. I put everything back in the envelope and the fabric is now kind of laying on my cutting table in a ball. In a sad ball because I didn't make the outfit. But I will indeed do it. And I think I have a winter event for 2024 where I will want to dress up for and so I will probably make it for that. And so it will definitely get made but I do not believe it'll get made in 2023.

Lisa Woolfork:

What I'm absolutely hoping does get made in 2023 is actually a Simplicity pattern from Mimi G from 2022. I don't know where I was in 2022, but I didn't see this then. And I happened to be at the JOANNS' with my spouse and I was flipping through the book and they looked over my shoulder and was like "oh, that's kind of cool." I was like "yeah, like that too." And so let me tell you what Mimi's got going on here with this one. It's a misses jacket, poncho, and pants. The suggested fabrics are poplin, denim, cottons, nylons, as well as some pre-quilted fabrics, boiled fleece, boiled wool, rain wear fabric, and you could also do the letter C in knits. So A is the poncho rain jacket thing, B is the, no wait, A is the jacket, B is the poncho, and C are the pants. And so, the poncho is like a loose-fitting, unstructured shirt. And as she's currently wearing it, she's wearing it over the jacket. And it looks really cool. It's a really nice topper. It zips in the same way that the jacket itself zips. But what I like about the jacket that she has here, is that it has these really cool features on the side. It has grommets where you run a drawstring through. And the way that she has styled it is really attractive, I think. It has a big pocket in the front. And, it's big enough to put something in actually. Right? You could put a phone in there. You totally could. You could put your little keys in there. You could put, you know, some Twix or a Mounds bar in there. You know, regular things. So I was really excited for this. And I think that I might wear it, rather than outerwear, make it with a different type of fabric and have it be a regular garment rather than, like a raincoat or a jacket. Because I really like the style of it. The pants are also what are attracting me. They are very wide leg pants that taper at the ankle with elastic. But guess what, I don't have to do that. Because if I want, well, I might, I might not even actually have to do anything. If I can put the elastic in in such a way that it's wide enough that I can get my boot through there, then I can wear these with my recovery boot, my immobilization boot. So I think that they're really cute pants in general. And I'm really excited that i'll be able to make something and have these pants that will also go really cute with this jacket. And I can still wear them with the boot while I'm in recovery of healing my ankle. So that is very exciting for me.

Lisa Woolfork:

I wanna end with two independent patterns that I'm excited about. One is, again for both of these, are woven fabrics. They work well with stable woven fabrics. You could make them actually out of something that is as light as like a rayon or something that is as heavy even as a denim. And so the first one, which is what I'm actually wearing right now, is In The Folds. They have a dress called the Rushcutter. It is a pullover dress. And the way that I finished mine is I finished all the hems and the hems at the sleeve and the hems at the skirt with bias tape, because I love bias tape and working with bias tape. But you don't have to do that. I really like this style. I've done it before for the summer cause you can make it with short sleeves. But the long sleeves, though it's a bit of an unusual application, it's like a cut on sleeve with a panel in the middle of the center front bodice, closer to the clavicle. That kind of front chest-y area, you know right below your clavicle bones? It is so cute though and it's easy to wear. My favorite thing about this, the pockets are intense [background music] . The pockets go all the way down to the hem of the dress. [sigh] I love it so much. I really love it so much that sometimes, like for me, pants pockets, sometimes I get frustrated with those for just the same reason I get frustrated with pants sewing because they get a smile in the front because of my hips and booty and all of that and the patterns are so hostile. And so basically the hostility I'm saying about pants comes in the form of the pockets, right? Like I get a smile at the crotch line. My pant pockets are screaming or yelling because they won't lie flat, etc. Like all of that, it feels like such a rigamarole. I will figure it out, I know I will. But for now, I'd just rather sew dresses and the Rushcutter dress is one of my favorites. I do something different than what they do for the closure because I just wanted something different. I think they might have a button loop closure and I don't really like those. I can never really get those to work well. I do them, but I always feel like ugh, this is gonna break. And again, maybe it doesn't have that, I'm just working from memory here. But I was able to add some really wonderful bias tape and then add some snaps and so it works perfectly well.

Lisa Woolfork:

The last pattern I wanna talk about is another independent pattern. And another dress that's easy to wear and it's good with both a belt or without a belt. And that is the Naomi shirt dress by C & T patterns. This is something I've made in the past with a rayon-type fabric. And I just got some rayon-type fabric from JOANN'S and so I think I'm going to use that to make another of the Naomi shirt dresses. It's a really fun dress. It also has an interesting sleeve and it's very loose fitting around the chest. Let me tell you a little bit more about the details. The Naomi shirt dress is, well, it's actually the Naomi shirt, but I just made it a dress by making it longer. They do have it in A0, though the size range is not very large. I think it tops out at a 22 so, that I will admit, is a problem. The Naomi shirt dress is a relaxed-fitting raglan top made for lightweight to mid-weight woven fabrics. The shirt can easily be styled to serve both smart and casual duties. The unusual seam details elevate the everyday shirt to a one-of-a-kind design. The slight puff sleeves add a delicate touch. The shirt features a classic button-up closure, a collar stand with a collar and sleeve cuffs. It really is very interesting the way that the sleeve is cut on. I think it's really unusual. But it's also like really cute. So those are the things that I will be working on; that Naomie shirt and extending it down to be more of a tunic style that I might wear with leggings or probably further down to a dress. And if I do that, then I will add some type of side pockets to it because when I make things for myself that don't have pockets, I usually end up with no pockets and many regrets because I'm always patting myself constantly like I'm searching for myself. I am. I'm searching for pockets that I didn't put in there.

Lisa Woolfork:

That's what we have. And thank you all so much for listening to this episode of the Stitch Please podcast as I talk with you about my fall sewing plans. I will include links to these patterns in the show notes. No, I don't think I'll include links. I'll include the numbers so that you can look them up and find them yourself. I'm not gonna put all the links in there. Y'all! What did I just say? I broke my ankle. I know you're probably thinking, "how long is she gonna use that ankle as an excuse?" I'm gonna to use that ankle as an excuse until my tibia re-stitches itself back together. Because what's the difference between a reason and excuse? I don't know. I don't know. You can think of it as an excuse, or you can think of it as a reason. But I will list the patterns and their numbers and you can look them up yourself. Thanks again, y'all for tuning into the Stitch Please podcast this week. Stay tuned. We have lots of really great fun episodes coming up, including conversations with a fashion designer fresh off the New York Fashion Week and on her way to Paris. We're also talking with great business owners and some wonderful features from the Black Sewing Network, which is celebrating its one year anniversary. So stay tuned [sewing machine noise] to the next episode, and I'll see you soon.

Lisa Woolfork:

[Outro music] You’ve been listening to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you joining us this week and every week for stories that center Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. We invite you to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon community with giving levels beginning at $5 a month. Your contributions help us bring the Stitch Please podcast to you every week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support. And come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

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