My Sewcialite Soiree Outfit

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Sewcialite Soiree, hosted by Sarah from Like Sew Amazing, Jen from Gingerella and the Stitch Sisters Rachel and Nikki and it was a brilliant night. 

And of course it was an excuse to make a new outfit. But I thought about the fact that I have a few party dresses which I’ve only worn once or twice, and decided to make a suit instead of another dress, since I would then wear the trousers and jacket separately and then I’d have a suit too! I do have the suit I refashioned from one of my dad’s suits, but I’ve not worn the jacket since I took the photos to be honest – I have higher hopes for this jacket though as it’s a bit less formal because of the fabric I think.

My initial plan was to make a tuxedo but I didn’t really need another black jacket or black pair of trousers in my wardrobe, so I went for corduroy instead. I have a pinterest board of inspirational bright coloured suits. The fabric was this mustard corduroy from Fabricland (and I have loads left so expect a whole corduroy wardrobe in the future). I ordered a few samples from Fabricland and some crepe ones from Sew Over It – it’s really amazing how many different colours are called mustard! 

And the lining is this adorable bird print cotton lawn from Sewisfaction – she posted it on her stories and I immediately fell in love with it. 

 
The patterns I used were the very popular Persephone Pants, which I feel like I’m the last person to make! and the Joe Jacket by Ready to Sew. I searched for quite a while for a jacket pattern I liked and this was the closest to the boyfriend fit I was looking for. Plus it has 2 lapel variations and I went for these super wide ones! And I love them. 

This was the first Ready to Sew pattern I’ve made and I have to say the instructions were excellent – this is the most tailored item I’ve made I think, maybe apart from my Honetone Coat

There are 2 welt pockets with pocket flaps over the top, and this was the only place I got a bit confused by the instructions – which is surprising because I’ve done welt pockets before. There was a great youtube video I found, which really helped as the pocket in the video is the same as the ones in this jacket. 

They were meant to be double welt pockets but since the corduroy was so thick and tricky to iron, I did single welts instead. 

I love the flash of lining fabric behind the flaps. 

I bought these lovely wooden buttons from John Lewis – they were a pack of 3, so there were 2 for the jacket and one for the trousers. 

When I’d finished the jacket, I was worried it was a bit too long, but actually I think it’s fine – because it’s a loose fit, I think it’s fine. And I looked at other suits and just below the bum seems to be a common jacket length. 

Yay lining!

I made the size 36 in the jacket and made no fitting changes. I did, however, have to redo the sleeves as I was in a hurry when I was cutting it out and didn’t put any of the notches and markings on the fabric and sewed them in really twisted. So my advice for this  pattern (and obviously all patterns) is to transfer all the markings!

I made the size 4 of the Persephone Pants as they exactly matched my waist and hip measurements and, again, the instructions were great. I didn’t make any adjustments, but the next time I make them I will take them in a little on the back seam and the waist, adjusting the waistband too so it still fits. 

I love the hidden pockets, and I used the same lining as the jacket. 

I took 7cm off the hem (4cm cut off and 1.5cm twice as the hem) as I wanted the trousers a little cropped – as I think they’re supposed to be. I then, however, had to take another 3cm off as they were still a little longer than I wanted. 



I wore the suit exactly like this to the party, with my white Archer shirt and with these light coloured trainers. I like the look of heels, but I end up wanting to take them off about 10 minutes into any party, so I decided to be comfortable instead. 

I learned a bit about dealing with corduroy in the making of this suit – namely that you have to iron it on a towel and on the back – or sandwiched between 2 towels if you have to iron something 2-sided, like the lapels. 

I definitely want to make both of these patterns again – there’s a photo of Claire Foy in a pink suit, which inspired this one, and in a houndstooth blazer with jeans and I want to fully copy that. I also love the trousers and with the little tweak to the fit, this could become my go-to pattern for work trousers.

I also had a slight epiphany while making this suit- namely that if I don’t watch Netflix which I sew, I can sew really quickly and needed to unpick a lot, lot less than normal – on average I probably unpick every third seam I sew, but with this whole suit I only unpicked the sleeves on the jacket (because I sewed them on wrong) and a couple of other tiny things! 

Have you every made a suit or just a jacket? Do you like tailoring as much as I do?

   

Refashioned Primark Coat to Victoria Blazer

Absolutely ages ago, I went through my wardrobe (you can see all the clothes I owned here) and gave some stuff away to charity shops and put other things in my ‘to be refashioned’ pile. I had an old coat from Primark which went onto this pile as I hadn’t warn it in ages and it wasn’t really very warm, but because of the style, I thought there might be enough fabric to remake it into a jacket.

Primark-Coat-refashion-1You can see how long ago I took the ‘before’ pictures from my hair! (November 2013 to be precise!)

Primark-Coat-refashion-2I figured the fullness at the back would come in handy, and I liked the stripey lining. The sleeves were lined with plain navy shiny fabric. Primark-Coat-refashion-3 I decided to use the By Hand London Victoria Blazer as the pattern, especially after I so fell in love with my black version. I did have to do some careful cutting out to be able to get all the pieces out of the right fabric – it’s funny how after unpicking the coat it looked like so much fabric, but then when you try to lay a pattern on the top, it suddenly seems like not enough!

Primark-Coat-refashion-4I used some left-over fabric from my Georgia Dress for the collar, cuffs and lapels. I like how this looks a more casual version of the jacket, though my black one isn’t super formal.

On the front, some of the seam lines from the original coat are still there, as this was the only way to get the pieces cut out. I unpicked most of the original seams, but I did realise that if I unpicked all these small seams, I would definitely have had not enough fabric! (I should really have ironed this before taking the pictures!) I’m also quite impressed with myself for managing to make the 2 fronts symmetrical – if I do say so myself!

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I’m less impressed with myself for the back – I had to piece it, having a centre seam, remembering to add 1.5cm for a seam allowance. The eagle-eyed among you may spot the fact that the 2 halves look different colours. This is because, even though I spent ages with the pattern piece for the back on the old bottom of the coat, I failed to realised I had to cut one half with the outside facing up and one half with the inside facing up, to get the pieces to fit and be mirror images. So the inside is darker than the outside, and therefore one side is darker than the other side. Oh well, never mind. I don’t care enough to not wear it!

Primark-Coat-refashion-5Primark-Coat-refashion-10You may be wondering about the length of the jacket – or maybe not! In fact, probably not. But there is something odd about the length – it is in between the long and short lengths. Ooh, I can hear the noises of wonder that I could be so imaginative! So I took 11cm off the long length, because I didn’t have enough fabric. I did still include the pockets, which I made sure to hold out the way when sewing the bottom seam as there isn’t really enough room for the pockets. I moved the pockets up a bit as the markings were about 2cm from the bottom of the jacket – this does mean they are slightly awkward to get my hands in. But at least I’ve got somewhere to put my phone!

Primark-Coat-refashion-7I used the original lining and sleeve lining for the lining of the jacket. Again this was pieced  to get the full pattern cut out – you can see some of the seams below. I pieced this before I cut out the pattern, rather than after as it seemed easier somehow.

Primark-Coat-refashion-11I used the original (probably very, very synthetic) sleeve linings – I tried to see if there was enough of the stripey lining for the sleeves too, but there really wasn’t sadly. Primark-Coat-refashion-12I really like the contrasting collar, cuffs and lapel – I did this partly out of necessity – but I actually think it makes the jacket look a bit more special.

Primark-Coat-refashion-6Primark-Coat-refashion-8I do really like the shape of the Victoria jacket – this fabric has more structure than the black stuff I used for my other version, so it does sit slightly differently.

Do you ever find a pattern you love, like for a jacket or jeans, and decide that you never need another pattern for the same garment? I feel like eventually I could make multiple versions of about 6 different patterns. But then there will always be new, shiny patterns that will tempt me away from my TNT batch!

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Continuing with my love affair with By Hand London (Elisalex 1 & 2, Georgia Dress), I present my latest make, a Victoria Blazer. I wasn’t really sure if this was totally my style, but I actually love the way it looks when I’m wearing it. And it’s a nice alternative – and a smarter alternative – to a cardigan, which is pretty much all I wear as an extra layer. I’ve only worn it a couple of times so far (after finishing it at the end of last year) as it’s been so pigging cold in London, I’ve been wearing my few thick jumpers pretty much in constant rotation!

Black-Victoria-Blazer-1I made the straight size 8, with no changes – because it’s not really fitted, it’s a really easy first jacket to make. I made the long version as I felt it would look better with a loose t shirt and skinny jeans (speaking of which, I definitely have to jump on the Ginger Jeans bandwagon, they look AMAZING on everyone!). I feel like it may look a little wide on my shoulders, but the slouchy style means it doesn’t look too bad. I always thought I had wide shoulders, but maybe not!

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I used the excellent sewalong to work out how to attach the collar as I was having trouble picturing it. Once I’d done it, it made total sense, but I was clearly having a brain-fart moment. Does anyone else have those? Just me?

You may recognise the lining fabric from such makes as my second Colette Laurel dress and my Tilly and the Buttons Mimi blouse. This was seriously a huge ‘remnant’ from Rolls and Rems on Holloway Road. This lining was the last of it, sadly, as I do love it so! Also goofy face – you’re welcome.

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You can see when I’m not holding the blazer (as in the very top photo), the lining peaks out. This was really bugging me, so after finishing the whole blazer, including hand-sewing the gap at the bottom of the back closed, I unpicked my stitching and managed to manoeuvre the jacket under my machine through the little hole, to understitch the lining to the shell seam allowance. As you can see, however, this didn’t really work. I realised this is because the shell fabric is so much thicker and stiffer than the lining fabric and won’t stay bent/ ironed on the stitching line, if that makes sense? I think the only way to fix this would be to unpick it again and trim the seam allowance as small as possible without making the whole thing unravel! Any other tips gratefully received!Black-Victoria-Blazer-4

Did I mention I LOVE the huge pockets? Because I do! I also love the little cuffs. Such a nice detail!Black-Victoria-Blazer-5

 

I couldn’t resist putting the jacket on with my matching Laurel, for the lolz!Black-Victoria-Blazer-6

I don’t really have much to say about the construction, it all came together really easily. The only issue I had was working out which rectangles were the cuffs and which were the lapels because I’m an idiot and didn’t label them! I feel like it was a little boring to make it in black, but the boring truth is I wear a lot of black and things that go with black, so for a first try, I thought it was a safe bet. I would like to make more versions, in more interesting colours, but as I found out after spending a WHOLE YEAR knitting a red cardigan, I can’t make myself suit/ like colours just because I spend ages making something in that colour. I love Ginger Makes’s jazzy blue version. Black-Victoria-Blazer-7

Looking at these pictures now, I realise I’ve made a little mistake and sewn the lapels into the hem/ where the lining joins the shell at the bottom. Doh! If I decide to unpick it to fix the rolling lining, maybe I’ll fix this at the same time? Once I finish something, I’l always be reluctant to fix any issues – it feels like time when I could be making something shiny and new! Does anyone else feel like that? Black-Victoria-Blazer-8