Tag Archives: Handmade Wardrobe

The warmest pyjamas I’ve ever owned

After making my first two pairs of Carolyn Pyjamas last year, when we entered the really cold weather in December/January I realised the thin cotton pair and the pair with short sleeves weren’t really up to the job of keeping me warm on very cold nights – and I really feel the cold (I basically have a permanent hot water bottle for, like, 6 months of the year).

So I did some searching online for some flannel or brushed cotton to make some snuggley super warm pyjamas and I came across this lovely tartan flannel from Fabrics Galore (I also made a pair out of some thinner brushed cotton, also from Fabrics Galore – coming next week). I didn’t realise flannel fabric would be so hard to come by, which is a shame because now I want ALL THE FLANNEL SHIRTS for Winter (even though I already have a bajillion shirts!)

I made the size 8, as I’d done before and did all french seams on the inside, which maybe isn’t the best for such a thick fabric, but it worked. I also ordered the amount the pattern said and it was almost the perfect amount – I hate it when you have, like half a metre left over. I think this was the fabric that was really narrow so I needed 3 1/2 metres.

As with the other pairs the only fitting change I made was to shorten the sleeves and legs because the pattern is drafted for someone who is 5’6″ and I’m 5’3″. I think I went by how much I took off this pair as I didn’t write down anything in my notes.

The buttons I ordered from Ray Stitch and I just had to hope they would match – they looked pretty good on the screen, but of course you can never 100% tell how the colour will look irl until they arrive. I used the spacing of the buttons from my other pairs of Carolyns and I really wish I’d put the top on and measured it on me as the top button ended up pretty low, so my chest feels a little exposed. But once I’ve slept in these once the lapels stop staying back anyway so I just encouraged them to fold closed to keep me even warmer.

I added 2 pockets instead of the one I think the pattern suggests, because why not?!

I’m so glad that I discovered the joys of having really nice pyjamas – we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed, after all, so we may as well feel cute while we’re there imho!

 

Galentines Outfit (for the Pink and Red Party

I used Megan from Pigeon Wishes’ Pink and Red party as an excuse to make a new outfit – because why not when I’ve been sitting in my house for 11 months and have slightly lost my sewjo (because I sewed all the things I needed for my wardrobe last year!). So I made a sort of a suit!

I talked about my inspiration for making a colour-blocked suit in this YouTube video (I’ve resurrected my YouTube channel after making one video 2 years ago! Lol!)

 

I used the Joe Jacket pattern from Ready to Sew for the jacket – which is also the pattern I used for the jacket of my corduroy suit. I used a suit with a more smoking jacket-type jacket worn by Claire Foy for my inspiration and so this involved a little pattern hacking.

I sat for way longer than I would care to admit trying ti figure out how to hack the pattern to get it to overlap at the bottom – and then it turned out to be relatively simple! I just slashed up the pattern front, from the hem to almost the neck line, and pivoted the whole front edge outwards – simple! But lots of head scratching to figure out if this was correct!


I added patch pockets instead of the welt pockets – which is actually way easier than welt pockets! I used the pocket pattern piece from the Honetone Coat as a guide.

 

I also, of course, added the tie to keep the jacket closed, as in the inspiration one. I thought about adding a couple of belt loops on the back to hold it in place, but figures this was an unnecessary step as I don’t think I’ll really wear it open, so the belt doesn’t need anything to keep it in while it’s untied, if that makes sense?

I talked about the construction and fabric etc in this YouTube video:

 

The fabric was all from Fabric Godmother and the pink and blue fabrics are Tencel twills and the lining was a cotton (with a little stretch). The Tencel is very drapey so possibly wasn’t the best choice for something as structured as a jacket, but it is a pretty relaxed style of jacket – and I made sure I interfaced absolutely everything that would get any wear or that needed structure. There is quite a lot of interfacing in a jacket anyway, so that certainly helped.

I do love a spotty lining! Stupidly, though, when I pre-washed all the fabrics, I put them all in together and the blue Tencel really ran so I ended up with blue spotty fabric instead of white. Sigh – that wasn’t the look I was going for. But after washing it a couple of times with some colour catchers the colour mostly came out. You would think after sewing for so many years, I would have learnt better!

The trouser pattern I used was the Dawn Jeans as I’ve made them a bunch of times and after spending so much time hacking the jacket, I kind of wanted something I knew how to sew for the trousers.

I made the size 4, as I’ve done before, but took it in only 1.5cm on the back seam (as opposed to the I think 2cm I did on my other pairs) and sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as they seemed a bit snug somehow! The waistband miraculously still fit!

I sewed the wide-legged version and I actually can’t believe I haven’t before! There was a while where everyone was making the Persephone Pants – and I made them as the trousers for my suit – but the fit was never great on me and I don’t really wear them much as a result. But I get the same look from the wide-legged Dawns so I kind of want some more wide-legged jeans/trousers in my wardrobe for days when I don’t want skinny jeans!

These are definitely going to become a Spring/Summer wardrobe staple once the weather stops being below zero – anyone else in the UK fed up of being so cold?! I know we’re known for talking about the weather ALL THE TIME but I’m a naturally cold person so when the weather is so cold I get really fed up really quickly! Roll on Summer….

I really hope I get to wear this outfit to an irl sewing party one day! Though I’ll probably use an irl party as an excuse to make another outfit, because why not, eh?!

Did you join in with the Pink and Red Party? Are you like me and you only wear pink (or only red?). I tried to force myself to wear red by knitting a cardigan years and years and years ago but I wore it, I think, twice because you can’t make yourself feel nice in a colour you don’t actually feel good in! Though speaking of knitting, I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment of knitting in front of the TV so maybe there’ll be some knitting projects coming soon(ish)….

I knitted a hat!

I knitted a thing!

I think this takes it to 2 finished projects in 5 years
🤣

I needed a new Winter hat for quite a while as I have one I was bought which a) isn’t very warm and b) I don’t especially love. I also have ear muffs for when it’s super cold – which is has been recently!

IMHO you can’t go wrong with a massive bobble on a knitted hat! It’s maybe a little big – I even already trimmed it down as it was really really massive!

This is the hat pattern from Learn To Knit, Love To Knit, which is also the book I used for my only complete jumper I’ve ever made! It’s in only one size and it turned out fine for me – and I guess you can fold it up more or less if your head is smaller or bigger than mine!

The fact that the hat is entirely ribbed also means there’s room for expansion/shrinking if required.

I used yarn from Lauren Aston design and I did kind of want coral yarn, to pick up that colour in my scarf, but I couldn’t find anything in that colour in the right weight so I went with my standard favourite mustard.

If you’re interested in knitting at the moment (which I weirdly am even though I notoriously get enthusiastic and then lose that enthusiasm approximately 10% into any project) you may know that it is very hard to buy supplies at the moment – I kind of love that people are turning to these kinds of hobbies in the lockdowns. It meant I couldn’t get a circular knitting needle which the pattern suggested, though, so I knitted it flat and sewed up the back seam – and you can’t really see it!

The last couple of weeks have been so cold I’m glad I can basically have only my eyes showing so the rest of me can be warm!

I definitely feel like I want to do more knitting and maybe super chunky wool and needles (meaning fast progress) is the way for my interest not to wane? I think I’ve been spoiled by how fact you can make something if you sew it that I maybe don’t have the patience for knitting any more? I really want to knit a huge blanket – especially a simple one as I wouldn’t necessarily have to concentrate on the pattern (which hurts my brain after a while). Are you knitting all the things during lockdown?

 

 

Arden Sweatpants for lockdown living

So this is going to be what I look like for the next couple of months (or more) after the announcement yesterday that England is going back into lockdown. It’s absolutely the right decision but to be completely honest I’m pretty embarrassed to be British right now. Brexit is a total disaster and we’ve cocked up the pandemic worse than probably every other country except the US.

So to celebrate more time sitting in my house, I’ve made more sweatpants. I actually made these back in October and wore them during the November lockdown and now they’ll get loads more wear!

I used the Arden pattern instead of making more Hudsons because while I like the Hudsons I made, they are a little on the snug side, especially the cuff, so I thought I would use the Arden pattern as I prefer how high-waisted it is. I know True Bias released a hack to make the Hudsons higher waisted but I’m lazy and had the Ardens already ready to go.

I made the size 6 as before and should have really looked at Helen’s excellent tutorial on making the Ardens into joggers. In particular I very much fudged the cuffs. I tried the original version with the elastic option but I only had narrow elastic and it looked really weird. I also didn’t want the cuffs as narrow as on the Hudsons so I kind of did somewhere in between the woven original Arden cuff and the Hudson cuff. They are probably a bit loose but also they’re much easier to get on and off so I’m not going to change them (also who wants to have to unpick overlocking if you don’t have to!?).

Both lots of fabric were from Fabric Godmother – I ordered it after I realised how much wear my Hudsons were getting and thought ‘I need more sweatpants in more colours!’ I went for black and mustard and they are both super soft and comfortable. It was their organic sweatshirt fleece and was really nice to sew with.

The cording was from Minerva Crafts, as was the case for the Hudsons I made but I must have chosen the wrong item because this stuff is like plastic whereas the stuff I ordered before was really nice. This is like tent guy ropes – not great. I’m definitely going to try to order some replacements. Helen doesn’t include a drawstring in her blog post but I used the Hudson instructions and made the button holes (with interfacing to reinforce them) before attaching the waistband.

Part of Helen’s blog post is to add the edging to the pockets which I did anyway as it is one of my favourite design details on the Hudsons. I used the Hudson pattern piece as a guide for the width and then lengthened it to span the whole pocket edge.

I didn’t foresee these getting so much wear to be honest, but COVID is here to stay for a long while yet I think so I’m very glad I’ve got comfortable options in my wardrobe, as well as all the jeans I made last Summer.

Are you feeling inspired to make more lounge wear given us all being at home looks unlikely to change any time soon? I’m not sure I would have considered myself someone who wore sweatpants before the pandemic but comfort (and warmth) is the most important consideration for me getting dressed at the moment – and when I was working in December, these are ideal to change into (out of jeans) when I’d get home! I’m a total sweatpants convert!

 

 

White Melilot Shirt

Wao another shirt (I hear you all crying!). I can promise this will be the last shirt I post here for a while! I planned this shirt as an alternative to my white Archer for playing in the brass band I play in (white shirts are part of our uniform). Little did I know when I was planning it that I wouldn’t be playing for almost a year! But you can never have too many white shirts in my opinion.

I still really like the shape of the hem of the Melilot. It also doesn’t have a yoke so it’s a good pattern to start with if you’re wary of venturing into shirt making.

The fabric is not the best quality to be honest. It’s certainly not as nice as the stuff I used for the archer. It feels and sounds shiny and crinkly which makes me think it’s definitely got some synthetic fibres in. I bought it with a voucher I won at Sew Brum a couple of years ago I think (it’s literally the only time I’ve won anything). It was from Clothspot which I had never heard of before (and haven’t shopped with since, embarrassingly). There were slim pickens for things I felt would work in my wardrobe so I got this white fabric and some fabric for trousers, which is also pretty synthetic feeling (though I haven’t sewn them up yet). I think that’s why I like to stick with the same few online fabric shops I’ve shopped with before as you know you’re going to get good quality fabric.

The Melilot as drafted has a rounded collar. I’ve made 3 other versions (see the bottom of the post), all with the rounded collar but because we wear a tie in band I thought that might look a bit odd so I made the collar pointed. I used the collar pattern piece from the archer shirt as the template for the edge of the collar but kept the rest of it as in the original pattern so it would still fit on the stand.

I made the size 38 and, as with my other versions, I made no fitting changes. I made the long sleeved version for versatility of using it in multiple seasons – and I can always roll up the sleeves if it’s especially hot! Though actually if I’m playing a band gig in the blazing sun (as I’ve done a few times) I learnt the hard way to keep your sleeves rolled down to prevent arm sunburn (I didn’t bring my sun cream because I didn’t think we’d be outside that long – also a hard lesson learnt!). A lot of people think I’m overly obsessed with sun cream but, seriously, I can burn in like 10-15 minutes!

Anyway….shirts! I put 2 pockets on because why not.

The top-stitching on this shirt is definitely not my best handiwork (though I didn’t take any close ups) because my machine was having tension issues. I fiddled with the tension to get it better but nothing seemed to work. I gave the little screw on the bobbin a tiny turn and that seemed to help a little but I think it probably needs another service. I’ve had my machine for probably 7-8 years and I had it serviced when we moved to Cirencester coming up for 5 years ago and this year especially it has probably had the equivalent of 2 years of ‘normal’ use when I was furloughed for so long!

I think I’m going to start saving up for a new sewing machine though as I could probably do with an upgrade – though this machine (which is the £110 model from John Lewis) has done basically everything I’ve needed it to do, from coats to jeans, to many many shirts, to sequinned dresses. I also want a new overlocker as I have the Lidl Singer and the tension is always off, no matter what I do – it’s fine for neatening seams but I don’t trust it enough to actually sew seams on it. Which machine do you use? What do you love/hate about it? I think given their not great responses to various members of the sewing community about accessibility information and them seeming to lie about working with disable sewists, I’ll be most likely avoiding Pfaff.

Are you especially obsessed with a particular kind of garment? I’ve definitely got enough shirts for now so I’m going to have to pause my shirt-making.