Tag Archives: Helen’s Closet

Yet More Ardens!

If you’ve seen my previous pair of linen colour-blocked Arden Pants, it will come as no surprise that I am here sharing another pair! My sister seems to like blue as much as I do, as there were three different shades of blue (the third one is in the next, and final pair I’ll share). I decided to pair this denim-blue with navy as I figured they would be easy-ish to match tops to.

Unlike the cream and pink pair, I split this pair front and back. This involved some pattern tetris to get all the pieces to fit as the pieces of fabric were kind of a weird shape. I ended up cutting the leg pieces out one at a time to make sure it all fitted. There was no weirdness needed with adding seam allowance to the waistband like with the last pair.

I could also follow the instructions as written this time, as I didn’t need to change threads more often to do both front pockets, then both back pockets. I did, however, have to change threads half way around the waistband (as I had to on all 3 pairs, just in different places), and half way around each leg hem. That was a little fiddly, but I’m glad I made the effort as I think it would have looked odd to have had one colour running all the way around – it would have stood out whichever colour I chose!

As ever, I made the size 6 with no fitting changes, aside from a deeper hem of 6cm.

I have to say, I love the side view of this pair! If you just saw me from either the front or the back you wouldn’t think anything odd, but then bam!

Wow, I took a lot of photos and don’t really have anything much to say about my millionth pair of Ardens!

Do you have a real go to pattern that you’ve made loads? I think I’ve got other patterns I’ve made quite a few times, like the Kalle or Archer shirts, but I don’t think I’ve ever made so many of a pattern in such a short space of time! I made 4 pairs in total this Summer, to add to the 4 I made last year!

I didn’t think I’d get much wear out of my Summer Ardens as the weather was kind of crap in August when I was sewing them, but then I forgot September is always lovely and warm!

More Ardens!

When I wrote about my black Arden pants, I think I mentioned that I had some other pairs planned/made (I can’t remember where I was with them), so hopefully it’s not too much of a surprise that I’m writing about another pair now! And they look like 2 different pairs, depending on which way around I stand! I love them!

My sister made a load of linen dresses last Summer and had some fairly large pieces leftover, which she very kindly gifted to me. Though there wasn’t enough of any of the colours to make a whole pair of Ardens so I went with colour-blocking several pairs, trying to pair the colours together in the best way across the 6 colours.

To cut the pieces out, I laid one colour on top of the other and cut out as I would have if the fabric had been one length, folded in half. The only change at the cutting out stage I made was to add seam allowance to the ‘cut on the fold’ edges of both waistband pieces, as they had to have half in each colour sewn together.

As with all my other pairs, I made the size 6 with no fitting changes, except a larger hem of 6cm.

I also deviated slightly from the order of the instructions, so I didn’t have to change thread colours more than was necessary (my sister had some matching thread of each colour left, too, bonus!). I did the front and back pockets of one colour, then repeated both on the other colour – the instructions obviously have you do both front pockets, then the back ones

I made sure where there was top stitching, to match the colours – so this meant changing half way around the waistband and when top-stitching the inner leg seam. Thankfully the hems were fine – one of each colour!

I really do love the Arden pattern – and I’ve made it so many times now, I don’t even really need the instructions! As I mentioned I’ve got 2 more pairs to share coming up, and some other makes I managed to squeeze in before I moved house last week.

Anyone based in Oxford fancy a sewing meet up?

Black Ardens for Summer

If you don’t want to see multiple versions of the same pattern, you’ve come to the wrong blog! This is the first of 4 pairs of Arden pants I’ve made this Summer and this black pair is my fifth pair I’ve made up to this point! I made 2 pairs from double gauze and 2 pairs of sweatpants, using Helen’s Closet’s hack tutorial.

After wearing the navy and mustard double gauze versions loads during the lovely hot weather we were having in the UK and realised I could do with a black pair to go with more things in my wardrobe – I know it’s boring, but most of my clothes go with black if not navy!

The fabric is a linen and cotton blend – I was going to get just linen, but I thought with some cotton mixed in they might crease a bit less when worn, not that I have a particular problem with creasing. It was also a little cheaper than the 100% linen. It was from the local sewing shop near where my sister lives, which is surprisingly great for such a tiny town in south Lincolnshire! It has lots of great garment fabrics (as well as some quilting cottons) and a good range of indie patterns.

As with my other pairs, I made the size 6 with no adjustments. I really do like how quickly this pattern comes together – I like a more involved project sometimes, but not having to do a fly is also bliss!

I did a 6cm hem in total – I did a 7cm hem in my previous pairs – and I’m not really sure why I did it differently!

I finished these trousers last month and they’ve already got quite a lot of wear – I definitely crave looser clothes in hot weather, it’s way too constricting to be wearing jeans!

Do you make multiple versions of patterns when you find one you like? I definitely do – often I’ve made patterns in pairs in the past, but I also have some patterns I go back to more often than others, like shirt patterns and the dawn jeans!

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!

 

 

A review of 2020

I’ve done review posts (and then planning posts for the forthcoming year) for quite a few years on this blog and I wasn’t going to do one this year (I won’t be doing a planning post) but then I realised it’s been my most productive sewing year so far so it would be a shame not to celebrate all the things I’ve made.

I do want to acknowledge my privilege before I dive into my makes because I know a lot of people have lost friends and family members this year and have lost jobs and had their lives as they knew them fall apart. I myself work in a bookshop and was furloughed when the UK went into lockdown in March and was about to go back to work when we entered the second lockdown in November, but this was delayed until December. I was back at work for 4 weeks and a day when Gloucestershire was moved to tier 4 (today) meaning that I am furloughed again. I have been paid at least 80% of my wages that whole time and my partner and I have relatively low outgoings (and he went back to work in June) so we have been okay financially. I also have a flat to live in and hobbies to occupy me so I was able to enjoy most of my time not working. There were weeks when I was fed up of being in my house, but I did manage to visit family in the Summer when it was permitted and we have my partner’s family close by where we live. I have no children so I didn’t have to suddenly become a teacher over night and this means my time has been my own to do with as I please. I have also had regular online chats with my close group of friends from uni and I feel we have deepened out friendships – usually we try to meet up once per year and have a whatsapp chat but it has been nice to feel like we are close together even when we are (literally in some cases) thousands of miles apart.

With all that said for the first 3 or so months of the lockdown I sewed ALL THE THINGS that I had in my mind to make for probably years. I had bought fabric with specific projects in mind and then never quite got around to them, even with moving to working part-time last June (2019). In 2019 I made 16 garments and in 2020 I made 35 garments (2 of which I haven’t yet shared here) and refashioned one. That’s quite a difference!

I’ll start with jackets and coats – I didn’t realise I made 4!

Sequined Bomber jacket

Houndstooth Richmond jacket


Gold Rumana Coat

Victoria Blazer Coat hack

And of course, no sewing year for me would be complete without a bunch of shirts!

Blue and Pink Popover Kalle

Yellow Geometric Kalle

Faces Kalle


White and Black Checked Blaire

Classic White Melilot

I also did some epic scrap-busting and made a load of Inari Tees from larger scraps I had in my stash.

Silver Knit Inari

Electric Blue Inari

Jungle Print Inari


Crowd Inari


Cotton Lawn Inari


Pink Striped Inari


Yellow Geometric Inari


Black Striped Inari

2020 was also the year of making jeans for me – I made 5 pairs in total!

Ginger Jeans

First Pair of Dawn Jeans


Pale Denim Dawn Jeans


Black Skinny Dawn Jeans


Navy Skinny Dawn Jeans

I also made some other trousers that weren’t jeans!

Black Crepe Evelyn Trousers

Grey Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Double Gauze Arden Pants

Mustard Double Gauze Arden Pants

I finally made 2 pairs of Carolyn Pyjamas, the fabrics for which I had had for years and years!

Liberty Cotton Carolyn Pyjamas

Boaty Carolyn Pyjamas

I refashioned my Sew Over It Anderson blouse into a Marilla Walker Mercury top and I very much prefer the new iteration of this gorgeous fabric!

I made another Cleo dungaree dress mostly just to use up some leftover denim. I’m not sure how much wear it will get to be honest!

I also made another Sew Over It Nancy Dress – again not sure how much wear it will get, though it will certainly have to wait for warmer weather either way.

Another makeĀ  I’m not sure will get much (if any) wear is this Sallie Jumpsuit. The fabric is a little too thin and clingy for me to feel completely comfortable.


On the opposite end of the scale is my denim Roberts dungarees which have already had sooo much wear! They’re so comfortable and a good choice for days when I’m mostly sitting at home but don’t want to wear sweatpants!

It’s no wonder after all the sewing – and all the new items for my wardrobe – that I slightly ran out of steam after the first few months! Though a few things were made after the first main batch, the vast majority were made in April, May and June.

I want to try my hand at underwear in 2021 – I bought some supplies to make period pants, to find another way to be more sustainable and reduce my impact on the environment. I did made reusable make-up wipes this year and they have been a triumph!

I also stopped wearing bras really at all last Winter (under so many layers of clothes when it’s freezing at work, who can tell anyway!) but in the Summer with only one layer on I do kind of want at least something else to protect and slightly support my boobs so I’m going to have a go at making some bralettes. I’m lucky that I don’t need the support of underwiring or more supportive bras – when I was younger (like a teenager) I wished I had bigger boobs but now I’m so glad they’re not!

I’ve also got a (rescheduled) wedding to attend in the Summer so I’ll definitely be making a new outfit – I don’t feel like I went out that much before the pandemic but I like having bigger events to go to as an excuse to make something fancier than I would wear in my every day life.

But these are my only plans – I used to plan yearly and monthly my makes but I almost never followed through with the plans so I’m just have ideas for now. And now my wardrobe if necessary items is pretty much complete I might have a go at some more frivolous makes just for fun – and to expand my sewing skills!

Happy New Year! And thank you for following my making journey this year – I’m so thankful I have had sewing to keep me occupied for the vast majority of 2020!