Tag Archives: Handmade Clothes

Some homemade Christmas Presents

At the end of last year I was doing some (last minute, of course!) sewing of 2 Christmas presents for my brother in law and my aunt. I made my brother in law a linen Ilford Jacket. When I lived with him and my sister last Summer, he mentioned that he would like a worker-type jacket for fulfilling his full Monty Don style vibes. I didn’t get around to making it before I moved out and then I thought making it as a surprise for Christmas would be a nice idea. Thank you to my sister for sneaking around and measuring his clothes so we could figure out what size to make.

I made the size large so he would definitely have room for a jumper underneath – his measurements were kind of between the medium and the large. I lengthened the sleeves a little (can’t quite remember now by how much, maybe 7cm?). The sleeves did end up a little long, but I think they look kind of good rolled up. The fabric was linen & cotton mix in the colour denim from Fabric Godmother and it was a dream to work with.

Because the Ilford is an unlined jacket pattern, I decided to bias bind all of the seams on the inside to make it look nice, and be more durable (as linen can fray quite badly). This was the first time I’ve done this technique and it was pretty time-consuming, I have to admit! I made the binding from the same fabric so that added to the time. But I’m honestly so pleased with how it turned out that I don’t regret the extra time I put into it. And I always kind of feel like if I make something for someone else, it has to be more ‘perfect’ than if it’s for me – I’ll still wear makes with little mistakes, but I don’t want someone I’ve given something to to feel like a mistake annoys them when they wear the garment, or they don’t want to wear it at all (even worse!).

I added a bunch of the square pockets and a pen pocket, and did the non-placket sleeves. The Ilford is kind of a modular pattern so you can mix and match various details to your own taste. I had actually sewn the pattern before, for myself (though I haven’t got around to sharing it here yet) and I’m glad I didn’t just dive in making this one without knowing roughly how the jacket came together. Having said that, the instructions are great and there are extra video tutorials for some of the steps if you’re more of a video-learner than a text-learner (I find I need a combination, depending on how complicated the technique is).

The second gift I made, for my amazing Aunt, was Helen’s Closet’s Sam Apron and thankfully she loved it! I asked what she would like for Christmas and she said an apron – I had no idea that she likes aprons and uses them all the time, and therefore needs a few on rotation for when they’re in the wash (she may or may not be getting a new apron for every Birthday and Christmas from now on!). The pattern is excellent and free, btw!

Sorry for the lack of photos, I was making it so last minute that I wrapped it as soon as it was off my machine and then thought ‘doh, I didn’t take any pictures’. The fabric is, of course, the Strawberry Thief by William Morris. It was too late to order fabric online and make sure it arrived by the time I decided to make the apron so I went to John Lewis in Oxford and was pleasantly surprised to find this gem! I don’t usually use John Lewis for fabric as I think it’s overpriced for the quality but needs must.

Can you spot the pocket below, btw?

Blurry photo to demonstrate the completely invisible, pattern matched pocket – I was pretty proud of myself, I have to admit. Pattern matching has never been my forte and I had only just enough fabric to make this work but I’m so glad it did!

The Sam pattern also has loops to hang your tea towels through – genius! I also love an apron because there are no fastenings!

It’s been a few years since I made any Christmas presents, I think, and I actually enjoyed it this year – I actually did start the jacked in plenty of time and I had a whole weekend to cut out and sew the apron so it wasn’t quite as last minute as it could have been. I think for me only trying to do a couple is going to be the way I do it from now on – trying to make things for everyone is where madness lies! Unless you start in, like, March I guess….

Did you make any Christmas presents this year or do you not like the pressure?

Hawaiian Style Kalle Shirt

I know I’ve probably said this countless times before, but this is for sure one of my favourite makes!

The fabric is from Sister Mintaka – she was talking on her stories about whether or not to stock this fabric and I said words to the effect of ‘OMG you have to so I can make a Hawaiian style shirt!’. And luckily she did decide to order it so I snapped up a couple of metres of it.

The pattern is the Kalle shirt from Closet Case Patterns. I made a cropped version last year and I absolutely love it but for some reason I hadn’t got around to making any others until this Summer (I do have 2 or 3 more cut out and ready to sew too).

I made the size 6, as I did last time and I used the cropped version as a starting point, but lengthened the front to be basically the same length as the back and I gave both the front and back a straight hem rather than the curved one on the original.

I still love the huge pleat in the back of this pattern!

I spent way longer than I would like to admit making sure that the pattern matched across the front and I messed it up a bit! I don’t know how, but my calculations were slightly off so the button band is twice as wide as it should be to make it match as I didn’t have enough fabric left to recut one of the fronts, which I think I would have had to do to get it to match properly. This is definitely the most complicated pattern matching I’ve every tried – stripes are usually my limit! But it was an interesting challenge.

The best part of pattern matching I did (IMHO 😂) is the invisible pocket – can you spot it in the photo above?

Ta da!

Because of the button band fuckery the collar doesn’t sit quite right, but I don’t think it’s really noticeable to anyone else as long as I don’t do it up right to the top.

I love the buttons too – they were from my local sewing shop and I think they work quite well. I thought about doing the hidden placket version, but I thought pattern matching across the front would have been impossible if I had tried!

I’m quite sad now that the weather has turned cold because I probably won’t get much wear out of this until next Summer. I did manage to wear it a few times over the Summer (I made it in August 😳) and I got quite a few compliments – and my favourite, someone asking where I got it from and me being able to say ‘I made it’ while feeling pretty smug that it means I have a one-of-a-kind garment!

I’ll leave you with some outtakes – even with a remote and taking the photos myself I still end up with some gems!

This is my resting face – I don’t know if I look really pissed off or really sad – probably a combination of both!

And…..just……wtf!