Blaire Shirt (I have a shirt-making problem!)

I’m pretty sure I kinda said I was done making shirts a while ago (though I think I acknowledged that I had 2 more planned…..this is one of the 2. And then I’m really going to stop, honest!

I’d kinda forgotten about the Blaire pattern (as I was on a Kalle- and Archer-making kick most recently) but I really like it! I’ve made it once before, in peachskin, which is really quite a sweaty fabric so I don’t wear it as much as I could. But I think this one will get loads of wear (once the weather is warm enough for short sleeves (with or without a cardigan).

I again made the size 8 without any fitting changes, though I did leave off the underneath panel which I added last time (I’m still not entirely sure whether the different bottom panels are interchangeable or meant to be used together, and Style Arc’s instructions have to be the sparsest in the business, even more so than the big 4). I did this because my fabric was very limited – I bought I think 3 separate remnants of it from Guthrie and Ghani at the Sewing Bee Live. I knew I would be pushing it to be able to make much but I’m glad I managed to squeeze out all the pieces for this shirt, though I obviously couldn’t fully pattern match but I don’t think it’s too obvious.

I love the little peek of skin on the side from the shape of the side seam – and wearing it with my high-waisted black dawn jeans, the peek isn’t too much for what I’m comfortable with!

As I mentioned before, although the instructions are very limited, this is a slightly simpler shirt pattern than, say, the Archer or Kalle as there is no back yoke – so you don’t have to wrestle with a burrito! And there are no cuffs/ sleeve plackets. So if you’re looking for an easier shirt to try for your first one this could be a good choice. Though I would also really recommend the Archer as the instructions are excellent and there’s a full sewalong on the Grainline blog, including some videos for the trickier parts.

I used plain black buttons which I had in my stash, and I’m amazed how well they seem to blend in in these photos!

Do you have a particular garment that you can’t stop making? I don’t know why I’ve made so many shirts! I’ve got a white Melilot made (I just need to photograph it) and then I really am don’t for a while! I think I might love shirts because often the kinds of fabrics I’m drawn to, I think ‘that would make a great shirt’ if it’s a woven – because I don’t really wear dresses that much and making a plain tee would be less interesting somehow (though I’ve also got loads of those thanks to my Inari binge over the Summer).


 

Victoria Blazer Coat Hack

Do you ever have projects in mind that you mean to make for literally years and you somehow don’t get around to? I clearly do (as with my Sallie Jumpsuit) and this make is no exception! I’ve had it in my mind to do a coat hack of the By Hand London Victoria Blazer since they blogged the hack back in 2013!! And it’s finally come to fruition!

I honestly have no idea when I bought the fabric, but it was from Rolls and Rems in Holloway Road (which is no longer there) and it was a 3m ‘remnant’ of curtain fabric. The lining I think was also from there. I have had both pieces in my stash for years and always ear-marked them both for this coat. I kinda put off making it for so long because of the pattern hacking involved – not that it was especially complicated – and always pushed it to the back of the sewing queue in favour of a quicker or easier make.

As they recommend in the blog post, I traced the pattern a couple of sizes bigger than I made the jacket versions (which I’ve made 3 times, see the bottom of this post for links), so I traced the size 12. I also have not liked in my jacket versions how, because there is no facing, the lining basically always tries to flip out at the front. This hack would be really really simple if you don’t want a facing, but I added one and that was the part that gave me a little head-scratching!

I am about 5’3″. I added:

  • 16cm to the sleeve length (they’re cropped in the jacket version)
  • 25cm to the length of the coat
  • I cut the lining 2.5cm shorter than the shell
  • I cut the lining with an extra 2.5cm on the fold of the back piece, which I took out with a pleat to add extra fullness to the lining (which is how I prefer a coat to fit)
  • I added 25cm to the lapels (though I think it should have been less, but I just stitched the bottoms into the hem to keep them in place)
  • I used the collar as drafted for the size 12
  • I didn’t use the cuffs
  • I used the pockets as drafted, and placed them according to the markings on the longer jacket view. (the shorter one doesn’t have pockets)

To make the lining with a facing, I took the front piece and drew a straight line down to the dart point, then a straight line down to the hem.

You’ll then need to trace both pieces, adding seam allowance (I did 1.5cm, as with the rest of the pattern) from the dart point, outwards, to the hem.

You can then stitch the dart and the seam in one – following the pattern instructions, but just carrying on stitching the new seam all the way to the hem. The thin piece (on the left in the below photo) should be from shell fabric and the other piece (on the left) should be from lining fabric.

I stitched the facing to the lining, making the lining look like it would without the facing, then I attached the lining (and facing) to the shell along the front edge, as dictated in the pattern instructions.

Since it’s not quite totally freezing yet in the UK, this is a great jacket to have added to my Autumn/Spring wardrobe. I’ve been alternating between this jacket and the trench coat I refashioned as part of my Miss Fisher costume.

Sorry, not sorry for a bajillion photos!

I really like the loose, easy fit of this coat/jacket. I’ll definitely wear it basically every day it’s not too cold or too hot for it!

What’s the longest you’ve planned a make before it came to fruition – or are you still counting? I don’t really know why I procrastinated about this for so long – I thought the pattern hacking would be harder than it turned out to be!

 

 

Sallie Jumpsuit

This has to be one of the longest-waiting makes ever. Luckily I keep a (not very comprehensive) list of when I cut things out (and when I’ve finished it, photographed it etc) and according to that list, I cut out this Sallie Jumpsuit in June 2017! I clearly slightly lost enthusiasm for it, though I don’t totally hate it now it’s finished.

I made the size 4 and due to the amount of fabric I had to slightly crop the legs – if I’d have had enough fabric, I would have made them longer for sure.

The fabric was a £4.99 remnant from Rolls and Rems, which I bought way before I moved away from London almost 5 years ago! I think for my taste, the fabric is a bit too slinky for me to really love this jumpsuit. It’s also quite thin and I made it towards the end of Summer, so I haven’t had a chance to wear it yet. I think I’ll keep it in my wardrobe until next Summer to see if it’s a nice thing to wear on the, like, 4 really hot days we have here in the UK.

I suspect what will happen is it will sit in my wardrobe, I won’t wear it and then I’ll give it away. Funny considering how long I had the fabric, and how long the thing was cut out before I sewed it together. Though maybe it’s not a surprise I don’t love it as I clearly put off the whole make for aaaages!

I bought the fabric when I hadn’t been sewing for a super long time – and definitely when I hadn’t sewn much with jersey. I did have a tendency to buy lots of remnants from Rolls and Rems (which I think isn’t there any more) just because they were a decent length and they were cheap. But really cheap fabric is not necessarily made from a fibre you actually want to use!

I do really like the top half of the jumpsuit though, especially the back. I slightly wish I’d used this bodice view on my Sallie dress instead of the version that ties on the shoulders. I have also only worn the dress version a couple of times.

I’m sure lots of sewists have gone through the same thing, but it’s interesting how my style has changed through the years I’ve been making my own clothes. I’m sure part of that is feeling like ‘I’m not ready yet’ to, for example, make jeans and also the general shift which seems to have happened away from more vintage styles and lots of dresses to more stylish basics, like jeans, boxy tops, looser fitting trousers and shift dresses. Obviously some people are still into sewing vintage styles – but while I still love the look of so many vintage garments, I’m not drawn to wearing them in the same way! I think this jumpsuit maybe fits into an earlier iteration of my style – but maybe I wouldn’t have realised that if I’d have never actually sewn it up.

Have you been through a style evolution as a result of learning to sew? Before I sewed I felt restricted by what was pretty cheap in H&M or Primark and so I didn’t especially think about what I might actually like to wear – but with sewing, and being a straight size – I could actually think about what I wanted to wear and make those things, like shirts!

 

 

Denim Cleo Dress

With all the denim that my friend gave me I was able to make some Roberts Dungarees, my first pair of Dawn Jeans and this Cleo Dungaree dress.

I’ve made 4 other Cleos in the past (though one of them got stained). The first two I made are here and the 3rd and 4th are here. What’s funny is that I feel like the other versions I made were a little too long so I ended up taking them all up a bit. I only realised when cutting out this version that I had always cut out the longer length. Only when I didn’t have quite enough fabric to fit all the pieces for all the patterns on the fabric that I noticed the shorter hem length line on the pattern piece!

I’m much more happy with this shorter length!

This really is a nice easy pattern to make – I’m sure there aren’t many people (who are within Tilly’s relatively small size range) who haven’t made a Cleo yet. It does sew up really quickly.

As I mentioned in the post about my first Dawn Jeans, the fabric had some marks on it – I think from being folded up for so long. I didn’t really notice until I took these photos that there is a fairly strong pale line up the middle of the dress – but there’s a seam and top-stitching there so I don’t think it’s too much of a disaster.

I used traditional jeans top-stitching colour thread to made these really jeans-like. And I bought the buckles from my local little sewing shop – it’s where I’ve bought most of my buckles!

To be honest I haven’t actually worn this (apart from to take these photos!). I felt like it was going to be a good warm-weather garment  but then it went cold! I’m sure I’ll wear it with tights and a jumper underneath if I ever go back to work! I’m still furloughed and to be honest I’m starting to lose hope that I’m going back ever.

I feel like I don’t too often make things that I’m not sure I’ll wear much, but actually looking at this, I don’t know if Cleos are really my style any more. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sitting in my house for almost 7 months and dresses (in any form) feel a but dressed up to me – whereas I’m all about the comfort being at home so much! Do you make things you then think ‘why did I make that?’

 

 

Double Gauze Arden Pants

I seem to keep making patterns in pairs – and especially Helen’s Closet patterns! I made 2 Blackwood Cardigans and 2 Elliot Sweaters. I guess I often must also buy fabrics in pairs!

And the Arden Pants are no exception! I haven’t bought many (if any?!) patterns in absolutely ages but when I saw the Arden pants, I knew the pieces of double gauze I’d been hoarding in my stash since last year would be perfect! I initially thought about making one colour into trousers and the other into a top but I’m so glad I made them both into trousers – I have plenty of tops after my Inari-making binge (1, 2, 3)!

The fabric was from Fabric Godmother last year when I left my previous job in June. They actually still have both listed though only the navy is currently in stock – the navy is here and the mustard/gold is here (but out of stock atm).

This was my first time working with double gauze and I found it okay. It does kind of wrinkle up loads when you pre-wash it and then I read some stuff about how it’s up to you how flat you want it ironed to before you start your project. It’s supposed to have a bit of texture so I ironed out the worst wrinkles and went from there. I have heard double gauze can be a bit shifty – because there are 2 layers which slide past each other – but I think because this was a relatively simple pattern it worked fine.

I made the size 6 and made no fitting adjustments apart from taking up a 7cm hem in total as I wanted them to graze my ankles. I did find the fabric had a slight tendency to ever so slightly stretch out a little when being top-stitched (like on the edges of the pocket openings) and I didn’t do absolutely all the top-stitching the pattern called for because I wanted a looser, breezy vibe, rather than having that jeans-style stitching. I did top-stitch the crotch seam, though, to strengthen the seam that will get the most strain!

 

I slightly had to fudge the back pockets because of my shoddy cutting-out skills! When will I learn to take more time over cutting out shifty fabrics? At this point probably never! 😂

I also discovered that double gauze (or this double gauze specifically) frays like a bitch! I over-locked everything to make sure the trousers weren’t going to just disintegrate as soon as I wore them twice!

I would definitely recommend this pattern if you’re looking for a nice, stylish but relatively simple first foray into sewing trousers/pants. The construction is very similar to the Hudson Pants but it has a higher rise, which I much prefer. I love my Hudsons but I wish they came up a little higher on my waist (obviously I can adjust that if I make them again). They are also super comfortable because of the loose fit and the elasticated waist.

My only regret with making these Ardens is that I made them probably too late in the year to really get any wear out of them until next Summer. Here in the UK we have now entered the, like, 8 month period where the weather is shit and I’m cold ALL THE TIME. Although I’ve made all the things since the beginning of lockdown, I think I need more cold-weather options so I’m not quite so grumpy for the next few months!

Do you have a favourite easy to wear trouser pattern? I think this might be my new fav!