Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Sewaholic Cypress Cape
I’m back from my trip to Hot Springs National Park. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain so I never got to use my newest creation while I was there – hence we get some moldy-backyard-fence-photos of my Cypress Cape.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

The Sewaholic Cypress Cape is essentially a gussied up rain poncho but it has some nice features that made me want to sew it – semi-circle sleeves for range of movement, those awesome back pleats, pockets, and options for fun piping in the body and hood seams.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Fabric is the same as my Prefontaine Shorts – a supplex nylon in Pewter from Rockywoods.com. It’s the perfect fabric for this pattern – lightweight, breathable but water resistant (rain just beads up and rolls off), drapey and with a slight texture.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

Best of all – it’s cheap! Only $6/yd which is a big deal ’cause this pattern uses FOUR YARDS. And they ain’t kidding about that amount. Yes, I had some fabric left over but those big, awkward, semi-circle pieces make cutting the fabric efficiently a challenge. You need those four yards.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

The flat-lined piping is some “safety yellow” from the Joann utility fabric section (it matches my shoe laces!).

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

I made an executive decision to nix the velcro on the zipper flap. The only velcro I could find locally was black and I didn’t like the look of it exposed next to the gray fabric if I wore the cape unzipped. If it’s not windy the flap stays flat anyway and if it’s both raining and super windy out, well, I shouldn’t be running around in hurricanes, should I?

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

My only complaints in this design are the hood and the pockets. The pockets are unnecessarily fussy and the hood facing wants to flop out even though it’s understitched.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

This brings me to some notes I took while assembling. This pattern is labeled as “advanced” and there were some things I wish I had considered before beginning.

Cypress Cape Sewing Notes

  1. If your fabric is very light weight, support the welt pocket opening with some stay tape when you attach the pocket bag.
    • Better yet – skip the pockets. If you’re already wearing a bag or have pockets on your clothes, the cape itself is roomy enough you can just stick your mit up under the hem and reach your phone from your pants pocket.
    • If you must have pockets, might I suggest converting them to inseam pockets. The seam will support the pocket weight without the need to cut an entirely new hole in the fabric. You can even sew the pocket flaps in that seam as well. Save you lots of time and hassle…
  2. The cape looks roomy but if you know you need to make an FBA with Sewaholic patterns (as they are designed for a pear shape with an A-cup) make the FBA with this pattern, too. Only the back and the sleeves are roomy – the panels under the sleeves and the front sections are snug to the body.
  3. Flat fell every seam possible to help flatten those seams allowances, especially if you’re adding piping.
  4. Often times you’ll be sewing through several layers of fabric so pin carefully and check your stitching as you go, especially around the curved neckline.
  5. Tack the hood facing to the hood along the two seams at the top of the head (you can stitch in the ditch or sew along the topstitching). Unless you want stitching to show, this is the only area where you can secure the facing – it does want to flop out, even though it is under-stitched and attached at the neckline.
    • You know what – scratch all that – just fully line the hood and be done with it.
  6. As you are sewing the front zippered sections to the facings and the neckline, pay attention to the direction your zipper teeth are pointing. In order to correctly create the folded flap that covers the zipper, those teeth need to point out a certain way, and it may not always be the direction you think they ought to go. Look very closely at the instruction illustrations for help. (This was a common note in the few reviews that I read – that the zipper section is confusing.)
  7. This is the kind of pattern where it is important to follow the order of assembly exactly, otherwise you might get confused when it comes to tricky bits like the welt pockets or making the zipper flaps attach to the hood. Don’t skip around or you may end up accidentally sewing on your velcro bits too late and have random square stitching show up on the visible outer layer of the garment…

Sewaholic Cypress Cape

In the end I think it’s worth all the head scratching and work. Plus, what other item of handmade clothing is going to make you feel like a flying squirrel?!?Sewaholic Cypress Cape

While it doesn’t rain much here in Texas I plan to use this garment on future hiking trips to more rainy locales. It’s a piece I can keep in my wardrobe for many years – the kind of thing I’ll be glad I have when I really need it. That makes all the sewing struggle worth it and I’ll rarely ever find an off-the-rack rain poncho as stylish as this.

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

 

More activewear sewing! Several weeks ago I began using a Couch to 5k running app to help build up my endurance for some big upcoming hikes. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m no runner. Really, I’m extra slow. And I have no intention of signing up for a half marathon or anything. For me, running is mainly a good excuse to be outdoors. I work from home so I’m stuck inside most of the time.

I tried this same app a few years ago and stalled out on week 6 of 8 so this time around I’m hoping to do better…

With all this extra activity I figured I could use more gear so I sewed up some Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts.

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

About halfway through sewing these I realized the Prefontaines are essentially the same as my Movies in the Park Shorts but with an elastic waist and felt a little silly about buying a whole new pattern when I could have simply adapted one I already had but oh, well.

 

 

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

Turns out, I’m glad I got this pattern as it’s quite good. I appreciated the little tips here and there in addition to the full FAQ section. The full instructions on making your own bias tape would be helpful for a newbie. There are two options for attaching the waistband, which is nice (I went with a simple casing).

I liked the option for making the inseam shorter (which I did – my shorts are about halfway between the 5″ and the 1.5″ length variations).

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

I didn’t add the back welt pockets to my shorts but the pattern included some of the better welt instructions that I’ve seen (yay for one piece pockets!).

While the text instructions were clear, I would have preferred the sample fabric in the photos to be a solid rather than a busy print. Sometimes I found it difficult to understand the pictures as the stitching blended into the fabric.

I also enjoyed the little mini bio on the pattern’s famous namesake.

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

The main fabric is a taslan nylon from Rockywoods.com, leftover from a yet-to-be-blogged project. I had just enough to eek out these shorts. I used a fine mesh fabric that I originally bought for swimsuit material from some spandex warehouse in Dallas. I liked the contrast of the hot pink on gray.

I used a fine mesh fabric that I originally bought for swimsuit material from some spandex warehouse in Dallas. I liked the contrast of the hot pink on gray.

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

 

 

The shorts themselves came together in just a short afternoon – and that includes the time I took to run to the fabric store to buy thread and elastic!

The pockets are stitched to the front layer of fabric so they stay in place permanently and don’t flop around – good for running.

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

(btw you might recognize this shirt as my SJ Tee from a few weeks ago – the sunlight helps see the details and seam lines better in these pics)

Now if only I could force myself to wake up earlier in the morning. It’s getting way to hot now during the day to be out running!

Hiking Archer – More Activewear Sewing

Hiking Archer

Did you know this year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service?

I love National Parks! Creating them is one of the best things this country has ever done. Whenever I get disillusioned by the mess of our current political system and I start thinking “you know, that Justin Trudeaux guy seems like an alright dude,” and “Vancouver is really just like a much colder Austin,” I remember the National Parks and think, “well, at least we got one thing right…”

…Let’s just say, the Parks give me perspective and hope for the future.

natparks1

All pics from my Instagram: clockwise from the top left: Big Bend NP, TX; Bryce Canyon NP, UT; Zion NP, UT; Rocky Mountain NP, CO

I’ve made it a personal goal to visit all the National Parks in my lifetime and I’ve got a good head start seeing as I’ve been to quite a few already.

But I say goal loosely because there’s 58 of ‘em in total and some are only accessible by plane or boat! It’s unlikely that I’ll go to every National Park but I’m unofficially counting National Monuments and Seashores, etc., as bonus points.

This year we’re visiting Hot Springs and Everglades National Parks.

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More Instagram shots: Big Bend NP, TX wearing Sewaholic Renfrew shirt; Great Sand Dunes NP, CO wearing a knit Grainline Scout tee; Dixe(!!!) National Forest, UT wearing True Bias Hudson Pants

I’ve always worn me-made clothes while travelling but I think it’s high time I made some clothes specifically for the job – in this case, hiking. I don’t camp, I don’t like “roughing it,” but I do love day hikes and exploration – hence the hiking shirt!

Hiking Archer

Like my leggings fabric from the last post, this fabric came from Rockywoods.com. It’s a water-resistant, breathable nylon with SPF 50 which is quite important for summertime adventuring.

Hiking Archer

It’s a water-resistant (take that, rain!), breathable (take that, sweat!) nylon with SPF 50 (take that, diminishing ozone layer!) which are all quite important factors for summertime adventuring. It’s crisp with a crinkly texture and makes a soft rustling noise, not quite the same as cotton but it feels a lot like the types of shirts I tried on at Outdoors-y stores like REI.

Hiking Archer

I bought the color “Rain Day” which I thought would be gray but it looks more like a pale khaki so I’m nicknaming this my “Safari Shirt.”

The fabric was nice to work with as it was nice and stable and didn’t fray hardly at all. Buttons came from Joann.

Hiking Archer

I used my TNT Grainline Archer shirt pattern (what is this, make number 6 by now?). It’s the perfect all-purpose pattern to go with this lightweight fabric. The only change was making the pockets a little smaller.

Hiking Archer

A button-down shirt works well for hiking for a few reasons: long sleeves and a high neck keep my uber-pale skin covered from the sun but I can also roll up the sleeves or wear a tank under it and unbutton the front if it gets too warm. Plus, wearing a khaki dress shirt makes me feel like a fancy early 20th-century explorer like Indiana Jones or something.

I ordered more fabric from Rockywoods – soon to become some Grainline Maritime “Hiking” shorts and the Sewaholic Cypress Cape (for extra rainy hiking or rainy Everglades boat-riding…).

Hiking Archer

Soon I’ll be all geared up for outdoor adventures! If you want, I’ve made a new Pinterest board collecting all the activewear patterns and fabric suppliers I’ve found in the last few weeks. Let me know if there’s a cool pattern I’ve missed! And tell me about your favorite Park!

Papercut SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings
This post is a two-fer! I made be a bit late but I have thoroughly jumped aboard the activewear sewing bandwagon.

This is my new yoga outfit: both the shirt and leggings are from Papercut Patterns.

Tee:

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings
I made the short sleeve, non-cropped version of the SJ Tee out of an incredibly smooth and soft rayon/lycra blend I bought from a now-defunct local store. The thin and light fabric works well for a slouchy tee (it has a slight 4-way stretch) but has surprisingly decent recovery.

I like the wide neckline because I hate crew necks digging into my neck and since you typically wear a sports bra while working out anyway, you’re not worried about fixing your shirt all the time and making sure you’re not flashing anyone.

The cuffed sleeves add some structure to the shirt and I think helps keep the shirt from sliding off your shoulders.

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

All in all, I love this simple pattern. The only thing I should have done differently was to shorten the collar piece by another inch or so. I shortened it a bit because my fabric has plenty of stretch, but knit collars are an art, not a science. The collar is a little floppy around center front but that’s ok, I think it adds to the casual, loose feel of the top, so I don’t mind.

Often times when I make a small but annoying mistake like that, I invoke my sewing motto: “Do I care? Not enough.” and move on…

Leggings:

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings
These are the mid length Ooh La Leggings sewn with some fantastic Supplex nylon lycra from Rockywoods.com. I bought a bunch of fabrics from that site on a whim just to check it out. This stuff has 4-way stretch with great recovery and is thick and dense enough to make good leggings. It’s matte, not shiny like lots of activewear fabrics, which I liked.

But seriously, I cannot recommend this stuff enough, especially for activewear sewing. It’s my new favorite thing. I only wish they had more colors!

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

I was concerned when the pattern called for lots of straight stitching and topstitching on a knit but this fabric has such good stretch that the straight stitching didn’t matter.

I used a twin needle for the hem and waist. I also lowered the waist by about an inch and a half, just as a personal preference.

Papercut Patterns SJ Tee and Ooh La Leggings

Another great pattern. I didn’t have to make any fitting changes and the fabric makes the leggings extra comfy.

Namaste, stitchers!