Linen boilersuit

A year ago boilersuits were definitely not a garment I was drawn to and the thought of making one had never even crossed my mind. Fast forward to early 2020 and they seemed to be everywhere. All of a sudden making one seemed like an excellent idea. I was particularly inspired by this and this one and started researching patterns. Not long after I’d decided to make one Closet Core patterns released the Blanca flight suit which was pretty close to what I was envisioning however I wasn’t too keen on the front opening being a zipper.

Seeing as I would have to make lots of alterations anyway I decided to try and hack some of my previously tried and tested patterns to create my own boilersuit. I had a look at my (old) copy of Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Pattern Making for Fashion Design to see if there was any information that might help. I have the 4th edition (no longer available) which did have a small section about jumpsuits. Perhaps the newer editions (there is a 5th and 6th edition now) might have more info. Basically according to my book you could use any top and bottom pattern and mash them together at the waist seam.

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Side view

I did this with my TNT Grainline Studio Archer shirt pattern and Kwik sew 4221 (view D) which is a basic woven elastic waisted tapered pants pattern. Obviously the circumference of the waist seam of both patterns has to match up and I did have to alter the pattern pieces slightly. I had previously altered my Archer shirt to remove the slight waist shaping so the side seams were straighter. Figuring out where to join the top and bottom patterns together definitely took some trial and error. I started off by trying on an Archer shirt with a muslin of Kwik sew 4221 pinned them together to see where my natural waist was.

I’m definitely a fan of making a muslin anyway but I think when making a boilersuit or jumpsuit it really is an important step. No one wants to have excessive room in the crotch area or even worse not enough ease there! I muslined the bodice and pants (leaving off the collar and sleeves) and discovered that I would have to raise the waistline seam even higher.

And here’s the back

After spending way too long looking at RTW boilersuits online I decided that I wanted to have a placket opening with buttons at the centre front. Originally I wondered whether it would be possible to just use the original button bands on the Archer shirt without extending them into the pants portion but soon realised that this made it impossible to get into the boilersuit. To create the popover placket I reduced the width of the front pieces of the shirt so they would overlap the centre front by ½”. I could have reduced the width so they would meet in the middle but I’ll explain why I didn’t do that later on.

The seam allowances of my pants pieces were also ½”. My placket pieces were both 20” long with one being 3” wide and the other 3 ½” wide. With an ½” seam allowance the maximum width of the placket piece which would lay under the other piece was 3”. If you take into account the seam allowance x 2 (1/2” x 2 = 1”) the remaining width cannot be more than twice the width of the seam allowance. Otherwise the underlying piece will not lay flat – ask me how I know this (eyeroll). I referenced this fantastic blog post about sleeve plackets when figuring this part out (seeing as the concept is exactly the same) but also check out this post for more detailed information about a popover placket.

I made the other placket piece slightly wider to ensure it would overlap the stitching line on the opposite side of the placket. I sewed up the front pant seam so that the stitching line ended a few inches below the top of the pattern piece and backstitched carefully. I overlocked the seam open up to the end of the stitching line. I also sewed the back and side seams of the pants together. I sewed the bodice together to the point where the side seams were sewn up but without attaching the collar.

I then attached the bodice and pants together at the waist seam matching up the side seams and centre back carefully. I backstitched ½” away from the start and end of the waist seam. I then carefully trimmed off ½” from the centre front of the bodice piece and front pant piece until I got to the stitching line and cut perpendicularly at this point. This is why I left that extra ½” on the bodice pieces so that the edges of the bodice piece and front crotch curve would line up nicely.

Placket progress

I then sewed on the placket which it always such a satisfying step. Then the collar could be attached and sleeves and legs hemmed. With this version I only had about 1.6m of this heavy weight slate linen from the Fabric store so there was not enough fabric to cut out the full length sleeves. Instead I only just had enough to cut out short sleeves but I did make them wider towards the sleeve hem for more ease of movement (something I’d read was useful). I ended up having to cut out the inner yoke from a different colour linen and also had to piece together the placket band and waist band.

You can see how much wider I made the sleeves, but I made sure to not alter the armscye

When wearing my only other all in one outfit, this peppermint jumpsuit, I’d always found the waist tie a bit fiddly to keep sitting nicely so decided to add an elasticated waistband to define my waist with this make. I just created a waistband that would sit on the outside of my boilersuit which ended an inch or so before either side of the front placket. This worked fairly well but in retrospect I would make sure to have a button placed right at the level of the waistband as it does pull open a bit at this point.

Next time I would make sure that button near the waistband was slightly higher!

The other issue I had was that there seemed to be excess fullness just above the centre back of the waistband. I’m not 100% sure why this happened but I ended up just removing a horizontal wedge of fabric about 1 ½” tall at the centre back tapering to nothing at the side seams. I’m currently making a second version of this boilersuit and ended up removing the centre back pleat at the top of the back bodice piece as I feel this has something to do with it – stay tuned to see if this works out or not!

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This is the pleat I was talking about
And here’s a side by side comparison of the before (left) and after (right) of the pooling above the back waistband

Anyway I’ve been wearing this layered with a hacked Lark tee underneath and have found it to be comfortable but stylish at the same time. Of course with the current COVID restrictions in place in Victoria this means the most exciting place I’ve worn my new boilersuit to has been the kinder drop off but still I’m quite pleased with how it’s turned out. Happy sewing xx

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Smiles all around!

 

Simplicity 8554 or my first duster jacket

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Living my best art teacher life!

I was very inspired to make a duster jacket after seeing how versatile and chic they could be. I was particularly taken by the way Lee Vosburgh of the amazing blog Style Bee styles her multiple duster jackets and felt that I really wanted to make one. Now even if I had wanted to buy one RTW I knew it would be practically impossible to find one that would fit me properly due to my very petite proportions (I’m 150cm). Thankfully sewing really is a superpower so I felt pretty confident I would be able to make one similar to the one that Lee is wearing here and also here but tailored to my size. Also side note can I just take a minute to gush over how much I admire Lee’s style?

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Worn with a RTW tee and very hacked vogue 9075 turned into pants

Recently I’ve started to use more “big four” patterns. I tried a few of them when I became more interested in sewing about 10 years ago but did not have much luck. Prior to that when I was starting out I dove straight into drafting my own patterns  – the first sewing book I ever bought was Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Pattern Making for Fashion Design. When I started trying out some commercial patterns that were drafted for someone a good 8” taller than me my lack of understanding about altering patterns became very apparent.

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Check out those inseam pockets

After learning so much from the incredible instructions and sewalongs that indie patterns are renowned for and also just from sewing for so long now I’ve fared much better with big four patterns this time around. I see them as an excellent jumping off point and tend to use the instructions more as a suggested method which I meander away from when necessary. The thing I really like about big four patterns is just how much variety there is. There is such a huge selection of designs that you’re almost sure to find something pretty close to what you’re after.

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After trawling through the Spotlight website I found Simplicity 8554 which seemed to fit the bill for me. Another tip I wanted to share is to ignore the photos and pay more attention to the line drawings. Sometimes the made up garment can seem like a definite “no” but this reaction could be because of fabric selection and styling rather than the actual design itself.

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I’d had some of this gorgeous duck egg medium weight linen from The Fabric Store since last year but hadn’t gotten around to using it yet. I have to say it’s a fair bit darker than the colour on the website but luckily I like it’s actual colour more. Originally I was a bit concerned it might be too lightweight for this jacket but seeing as I planned to wear it with the sleeves rolled up I decided to go for it. It’s an unlined garment so I see it as more of a layering piece for autumn or spring rather than actual outerwear.

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I knew that the lapels on the original jacket were a bit too wide for my liking and that I would have to slim them down a bit. I was after a knee length jacket so picked view A made with the length of view B. I shortened the sleeves by 1” (my usual adjustment) and proceeded to make a quick muslin. I feel that making a muslin was critical in determining the final width of my lapels which I ended up narrowing by about 2” at the top of the lapels and bottom corner of the collar piece.

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Front piece – width to be removed shown by thread tracing

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And same on the collar

The narrowing of the lapels was tapered to nothing about 15” down from the front jacket piece and front facing piece. With the collar piece I ended up taking off about ½” from the centre back piece tapering out the 2” at the outer corner. Sorry if that’s a bit confusing, but hopefully the pictures above and below will explain this a bit more clearly. I also ended up lengthening the jacket by 1 1/2” as I quite liked the length of the muslin before I hemmed it. The last change I made was to raise the pockets by 1 ½” (another common adjustment for me) as pocket bags always end up too low for my short arms.

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Adjusted pattern pieces

 

After transferring the changes onto the pattern pieces I was ready to go. A couple of other things I’d decided I wanted to do included binding the inner edges of the facing with bias and also include a bit of padstitching on my lapel pieces so that they would roll out nicely. I was inspired to do this by the amazing and lovely Julia Bobbin who has taken a deep dive into the world of tailoring. I encourage you to check her account out if you haven’t already. When I wear my Oslo coat something that annoys me is that the collar does not roll out properly as there is no under structure to encourage it to do so. If and when I make another Oslo I will definitely add some tailoring techniques to address this.

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Love the pop of contrast

Once I got the pieces cut out and interfaced it should have been easy. Unfortunately my sewjo decided to go walkabout at this point and I procrastinated for a while. What got me going was me made May. Instead of pledging to wear or document my me mades I decided to commit to sewing every day. I’m at the point in my sewing journey where I wear at least one (and often more) me mades everyday already. It didn’t matter if it was five minutes or two hours of sewing I figured at least doing a little bit daily would eventually up with my jacket getting made.

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In the end it took about two weeks to sew this jacket up and I’m so pleased with the end result. I really took my time with thinking through the best way to put this together. I bias bound the inner edge of the facing but also the lower part of the sleeve seams to get a little pop of binding showing with the sleeves rolled up. I had a bit of fun going through the stash picking out some fabric to use for the binding and ended up going with a lovely bit of Liberty tana lawn which feels rather luxurious.

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The padstitching was very slap dash and I used some self fabric on the inner edge of the front piece (as suggested in one of my favourite books Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer). Even though it wasn’t done in the most professional manner I’m still very happy with how it helps the collar roll nicely. I also hand stitched the entire facing edge to the jacket as I didn’t like how it was flapping around when loose. Luckily linen is a bit nubbly anyway so the stitches are barely visible on the outside.

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If you look really closely you can see those tiny stitches

The finished jacket is exactly what I was hoping it would be and I’m looking forward to wearing it more once the weather warms up a bit. Happy sewing xx

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Hacking the maya top + Sasha trousers

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So if you’ve seen any of my previous posts on Instagram it will come as no surprise that I’m a fan of the Marilla Walker patterns Maya top. I’ve made several versions tweaking it ever so slightly but for these two tops I went even further with my pattern hacking. The inspiration came from this top which was made out of raw silk (also known as silk noil). Once I’d seen it I was very taken with it and decided to try making my own version.

Silk noil has become rather popular as a substrate however when I first started searching for it in Australia I was unable to find any sources. Fast forward a few months and a local sewing buddy mentioned a source that she’d seen. A + R fabrics is a relatively new online Australian fabric store based in New South Wales and Trin (the owner) is so lovely and helpful. I ordered some swatches first and when they arrived I immediately knew that this was exactly what I was after.  Unfortunately because I took my sweet time in ordering (I try not to rush into buying things) the raw colour was sold out! By the time it was back in stock I felt very sure in my decision and clicked buy without hesitation.

 

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My “wearable muslin” that turned out pretty well!

I stalked pictures of this top on Instagram in order to try and figure out how to re-create this top. I removed the sleeve cuffs, widened the body and created a slight high-low hemline. I made the centre front hem four inches higher than the centre back hem. I finished the neckline, armholes and hem with double fold bias binding. Before cutting into my precious silk noil I made a test version out of some leftover rayon from Tessuti fabrics which had been hanging out in my stash for way too long! I was very happy with how this turned out so dived straight into cutting out my silk version.

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A bit more drapey in a rayon

And even though I expected everything to go smoothly after this, it sadly did not! My first stumbling block was that the width of my one metre cut of fabric was slightly narrower than the rayon so there wasn’t *quite* enough fabric to cut out everything. No problems I thought, I’ll just add a centre seam to the back piece (the pattern originally was one just one front and one back piece). I didn’t bother cutting out another pattern piece thinking “oh I’ll just fold the piece in half and add on a seam allowance.”

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A few extra seams!

Unfortunately I was a bit too engrossed in my Phryne Fisher audiobook (side note I absolutely love this series of books!) and cut out two front pieces by mistake (big fail)! Of course I had to accidentally cut out two of the smaller sized pattern piece and there was not enough fabric to cut out another back piece. What I ended up doing was piecing together several other scraps of fabric and managed to just cut out a back piece, albeit with far more seams than planned. I overlocked and topsitched the seams which I feel actually adds a bit of interest and I’m pretty happy with this happy accident.

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Almost there…

Once I’d had my pieces cut out there was not much fabric left at all and still had the bias binding to cut out. Luckily somehow one is always able to make more bias binding than expected with fairly small scraps and that’s what happened in this case. The rest of the sewing went smoothly and I ended up with a top that was exactly what I was after – yay!

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Exactly what I was aiming for – yay!

I’m wearing it here with another recent make, my second pair of closet case patterns Sasha trousers. I’d made my first pair in between having my first and second child in the very short period of time where my body had gone back to normal. I made the same size as previously as my last pair of pants still fit me well. This stretch peachy coloured cotton stretch twill is from Blackbird fabrics but from a couple of years ago?

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The instructions suggest basting the side and inner seams to check for fit and I ended up having to use a 3/8” rather than a 5/8” seam allowance just for the top part of the leg as it was a tight squeeze otherwise. Also, I did not interface or stabilise the waistband at all (same as with my last pair) as I found it too restrictive. My waist measurement was one size larger than I’d made so that’s probably why. With no interfacing the waistband relaxed just enough to be comfortable yet did not loosen up too much to be gaping.

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Details:

  • Pattern: Marilla Walker patterns Maya top and Closet Case Patterns Sasha trousers
  • Pattern mods: Maya top: bodice widened to 24”, high low hem with 4” difference between centre front and centre back. Sasha trousers: view A shortened to view B length, 3/8” seam allowance around top part of inner and outer seam then increased to 6/8” seam allowance around bottom half of legs for slightly slimmer leg
  • Construction mods: Sasha trousers: waistband un-interfaced
  • Fabric: Maya top: silk noil in colour raw from A + R fabrics. Sasha trousers: stretch cotton twill from Blackbird fabrics

This outfit has been perfect for work and it’s exactly what I had imagined it would be. I feel comfortable, put together and stylish and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Happy sewing xx

2019 – a look back

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Some of my favourite makes of 2019

I always enjoy reading other people’s yearly round ups and seeing as I managed to blog semi-consistently this year I thought I would do one of my own. 2019 was a year of adjustment in our family’s life, mostly good changes however life somehow gets very busy and I didn’t get to sew as much as I would have liked. Regardless, I still managed to make quite a few things and looking back I’m really pleased with what I achieved sewing wise.

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My first maya top and V9075 heavily modified into a pair of wide legged pants

2019 was the year of linen and maya tops for me. I’d never sewn with linen before as I’d never found a pattern that suited both my style and this fabric. However, once I found the maya top a love affair began. I originally made the same modifications that Lisa outlined on the Tessuti blog which have proved very popular amongst the sewing community. Since then I’ve refined them more (see the bottom of this post) so that the neckline is just narrow enough so that my bra straps aren’t peeking out. I’ve even gone back and changed the two tops that I made with the wider neckline and since then I haven’t gone more than a few days without sporting a maya top!

Once my love affair with linen started I began scoping out linen sources in Australia as I couldn’t get enough of it. Living in a few hours out of Melbourne having so many great online options is a godsend and I embraced online and phone fabric shopping. I would highly recommend doing phone orders from the Fabric store in Melbourne for anyone living in Victoria who can’t get to the store. The girls have always been super helpful and accommodating and shipping is both fast and reasonably priced.

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Another maya top and kwik sew 4221 hacked into clyde pants (more details here)

I’ve bought linens from both the Fabric store and Potter and co and have been really pleased with the fabric from both of these sources. I’ve used linen to make my first ever jumpsuit, wide leg pants and countless maya tops. I’ve got a few more lovely cuts in my stash and there many more things I’m planning to make out of this beautiful substrate.

I did a lot more pattern hacking and tweaking this year, and really took my time with each project. I’m definitely a bit of a perfectionist (my husband lovingly refers to me as being very “particular”) and I embraced this trait in order to end up with things that I would really love. I utilised hand basting rather than just pinning for basting seams together before a try on and found that not only were the stitches super easy to rip out, but it was a lot less painful than using pins!

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Ginger jeans and an archer shirt (more details here)

One example of embracing my fussiness was my Elliot sweater. I made this out of a perfectly proportioned striped French terry from Guthrie and Ghani. I’d had it sent to my brother (who lives in the UK) and he brought it over to Australia when he was home for a visit. I agonised over which view to make and ended up mashing together bits of all three views. I attempted stripe matching (for the first time ever!) and was rather disappointed with the three quarter length sleeves.

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My well loved Elliot sweater (more details here)

I knew that in order to make this sweater more wearable full length sleeves would be needed. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out another pair of sleeves so instead cut out a rectangle to sew onto the ends of the existing sleeves to extend the length. I painstakingly considered how to cut and attach the new sleeves so that the stripes would not be affected and the join barely visible. Once I’d done that I didn’t like the shape of the lower part of the sleeve so unpicked the seam and narrowed the sleeve towards the hem.

Now a couple of years ago I never would have gone to that much effort to fix these little things that were bothering me about a project but I’m so glad that I did. This has become one of my most worn garments in my wardrobe and during the cooler months it’s worn several times a week. I love the length and side slits (which were altered slightly from the original pattern) and I’m looking forward to the weather cooling down so this top can return to my regular rotation.

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Peppermint jumpsuit and Lark tee (more details here)

Making the Elliot sweater made me realise how awesome turtlenecks (or skivvys as we refer to them in Australia) are. I hadn’t worn one since primary school but having my neck covered up noticeably decreased the eczema I normally suffer with on my neck so I promptly made up a few more. I used the Grainline studio Lark tee, making the crew neck version and increasing the width of the neckband to create the turtleneck. These have been great not only for wearing on their own, but also for layering under my peppermint jumpsuit.

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Berlin jacket (more details here)

I made my second garment out of boiled wool, the super fast Berlin jacket using fabric from Tessuti. I’d had this pattern on my radar for a year or so before finally making my own version. The thing that was holding me back was not being able to find boiled wool that was both 100% wool and in a colour that I loved. I remember perusing the Tessuti website (as one does) and as soon as I saw this colour I immediately thought of the Berlin. I quickly pulled the trigger buying both the fabric and pattern and not long after had sewed it up. I’m glad I waited until I found this fabric as I absolutely love my jacket and have worn it so much.

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Love the back neckline of this Belen bodysuit (worn with the same wide legs pants at the beginning of the post before I reduced the width of the legs more details here)

I did my first ever pattern test for the lovely Jasemin of sewing.masin making the Belen bodysuit. I enjoyed making a style that was a bit out of my comfort zone and it’s been great for a nice streamlined tucked in look.

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Ogden + Maya

One of my favourite makes of the year was an Ogden cami that I hacked into a dress to be worn with a silk organza maya top over the top. The inspiration for this outfit came from a dress I saw in a magazine many years ago. I’d been quite taken with this outfit and had even bought similar looking fabric at least five years ago. Luckily I’d kept both the fabric and picture and was rather happy with how the end result turned out.

I finally met some sewists in real life, both locally and at my first ever frocktails. I was absolutely thrilled to find some fellow sewists who live very close by and even more thrilled to be able to natter away with other lovely ladies who share my passion/obsession with this hobby. I connected with so many lovely sewists on Instagram who constantly inspire and amaze me, both with their creations and their encouragement and kind words. Thank you for reading and following along and here’s to another great year of sewing ahead!

Ginger jeans

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Worn with an Archer shirt

So firstly, yay I made a pair of jeans! Overall the experience was very positive and while I’m happy with the end result it was certainly a learning experience for me and I’ve come away with some changes that I’ll be making next time.  I used some stretch denim from the Fabric store and you can read more about my denim bleaching journey here. It took quite a few months from purchasing my fabric, to bleaching it, to having a finished garment and I’m glad to have finally brought my vision to life.

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This pattern needs no introduction in the sewing community, it seems many of us pick the Ginger jeans as the pattern to hold our hand as we dip our toes into jeans making. I found the instructions to be very good, and the sewalong on the Closet Case patterns blog to be even better. I’m incredibly lucky that these fit me pretty well straight out of the packet. Apart from my usual adjustment for length (removing 4” at the lengthen/shorten line) the only changes I made were to remove about ¾’ from the centre seam of the yoke tapering to nothing at the yoke side seam, and to curve the waistband more as it was gaping.

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I made view b and really like how the pocket stay extends all the way from the side seams into the fly front. I used guterman Mara 70 thread (colour 887) for topstitching as recommended on the love to sew podcast and found it very easy to sew with. (Also if you’re interested in sewing with denim I highly recommend listening to that episode!) My machine did not have any issues with it and it made all that topstitching a lot less stressful. The only problem was sourcing it – despite extensive googling I was unable to find a supplier locally in Australia so ended up ordering some from Blackbird fabrics. While I was at it I also bought some jeans buttons and rivets from Blackbird and I have to say the shipping from Canada wasn’t as exorbitant as I was expecting.

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Worn with my well loved Elliot sweater

I used a denim needle (size 90/14) with the stitch length set to 3 for topstitching. This next point is more for my personal reference than anything but I was able to squeeze these jeans out of 1.2m of 150cm wide fabric (one of the perks of being petite!) Also the instructions suggest cutting the belt loops 3 ½” long however I ended up cutting 3” long belt loops after referring to a RTW pair of jeans.

The instructions have several different options for stabilising the waistband but in the end I did not use any of them as I felt the waistband might feel too restrictive. Unfortunately it stretches out quite significantly after one wear so next time I will definitely have to interface at least the waistband facing.

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So I took the sewing at a very slow and steady pace, taking my time with the topstitching and trying to not just speed ahead. I’m pretty pleased with how the topstitching turned out, and overall everything went smoothly until the waistband. Ahh the waistband – it got unpicked twice! Firstly because I’d forgotten to lower my presser foot for one small section of topstitching so there was an unsightly thread nest in one corner. Secondly because there was significant gaping at the front of my waistband which meant that I had to redraft the pattern piece to be more curved and cut out a new one.

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Bit too much room in the waistband!

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Waistband unpicked for the second time (not happy Jan!)

A couple of weeks later I can casually condense all of that unpicking into two sentences but at the time it felt like a huge drag! I don’t know about you but more recently I’ve been trying to embrace getting the little details right, even if it means lots of unpicking. I just know that I’m not going to wear a garment if the fit isn’t quite right so it’s been worth going back to tweak things.

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Seam allowance removed before removing length from top edge of waistband

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Top: original waistband, bottom: new waistband (noticeably more curved)

Installing the button was an absolute breeze and I can highly recommend the jeans buttons that Blackbird carries. The post has ridges on it (compared to some buttons I’d bought elsewhere which has a smooth post) and it literally took a few whacks with my hammer and it was perfectly installed. I’d also recently bought an awl which I was pretty excited to use. It certainly isn’t essential (I believe you can just use a nail to make the initial hole) but I felt a bit profess using it.

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So while the process was fairly enjoyable and I’m pretty happy with the end result what you don’t see in these pictures is how bagged out these jeans get after only one wear (sad face!) I’m not sure if it is a problem with the fabric not having good recovery and/or the waistband not being stabilised but they certainly feel too baggy at the end of the day. Next time (yes there is definitely going to be a next time!) I’m going to size down one size and see if that makes any difference. I will make sure to draft a more curved waistband again and interface the waistband facing with some stretch interfacing.

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Gratuitous topstitching shot

Details:

  • Pattern: Closet Case Patterns Ginger jeans view b
  • Fabric: bleached stretch denim from the Fabric store
  • Fabric required: 1.2m of 150cm wide denim
  • Pattern mods: shortened by 4”, ¾” taken out of centre back yoke tapering to nothing at yoke side seams, 2 1/4” taken out of top seam of waistband (making waistband piece more curved), belt loops cut 3” long rather than 3 ½” as suggested
  • Other garments: Archer shirt, Elliot sweater

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I’m not sure if it’s possible to end up with high waisted jeans where the waistband doesn’t bag out, but that you can actually sit down in comfortably? Or is that too much to ask? Also I’m super keen to give the Dawn jeans a try but am a bit scared of non-stretch jeans and whether they can be comfortable or not? If you’ve got any jeans making tips I’d love to hear them! Happy sewing xx

The Peppermint jumpsuit

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Ahh the infamous peppermint magazine jumpsuit. It was all over my Instagram feed last summer and it was this post in particular by the.sewcialite that made me think it might actually work for my 150cm frame. Lorraine kindly shared the adjustments she had made to hers and they didn’t seem too daunting so I thought I would give it a try.

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So that was back in February and I even bought some dreamy linen from Potter and co with this jumpsuit in mind. That was my first purchase from them and I’m really happy with the quality of this linen. It’s medium weight and completely opaque, so was perfect for a lighter weight jumpsuit. I think it would also be great for tops and dresses too.

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Love a good back neckline!

As I’ve mentioned before I do not enjoy taping together PDF patterns and will always get them printed out at the copy shop where possible. I wasn’t able to get down to Melbourne to get it printed out, and shipping was fairly expensive so I bided my time. In the end a local sewing buddy very kindly offered to get it printed out for me when she went to Melbourne so I was able to get my A0 copy in the end, a few months after I’d first decided to make it.

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I do want to mention how amazing it is that this pattern is free! Emily from In the Folds was collaborating with Peppermint magazine for quite a while (sadly she just released her last pattern for them) and we’re so lucky that we get free access to such a great pattern. It is well drafted and the instructions are incredibly detailed. The only snafu I encountered was when my friend was trying to upload the pattern to the officeworks website to get it printed out. Basically the A0 file would not upload and she ended up contacting both Peppermint magazine and Emily. Emily had heard of this issue and very kindly and promptly sent us a new file which uploaded without any problems.

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So the pattern is drafted for a height of 5’7” (basically 8” taller than me!) so there were a few alterations I had to make. I also spent an embarrassing amount of time searching the hashtag on Instagram as I always find it so helpful to see what changes other sewists have made. Quite a few people mentioned slimming the legs down and adding pockets, however had found that inseam pockets added unwanted bulk. I decided to do both these changes but to go with patch pockets.

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I shortened the legs by 4”, the bodice by 2 ½’, and increased the seam allowance on the outer legs by 5/8” and the inner legs by ½”. The crotch depth was unaffected as I tapered the increased seam allowance on the inner leg to nothing a few inches below the crotch. I also made a size B bodice graded to a size A below the waist. I’d initially sewn up my muslin as a size A (without actually checking the sizing chart – whoops) but as the top part of the bodice is the only fitted part of the garment make sure you go with the size that matches your upper bust and bust measurements (which was a size B for me). I also cut the sash shorter so the finished length was 67″ as I wanted a cleaner finish with no loose tails. This length is perfect for me to be able to wrap the sash around my waist twice and tuck the tails under.

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The week before I sewed up my jumpsuit I saw this post lamenting a very sad end when the burrito method outlined in the instructions was used. That scared me off it a bit (and I’m not the biggest fan of the burrito method anyway) so in the end I followed this excellent tutorial on the Megan Nielsen blog to attach the facing and invisible zip.

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Haven’t done an invisible zip for years so very happy it went in first go!

This changes the order of construction slightly as the zip isn’t attached until after the facing. Basically the facing is attached once the shoulder seams and part of the front seam is sewn. It’s important to leave the last inch or so either side of the back centre seam unsewn so you can attach the invisible zip cleanly afterwards. You then understitch as far as you can, the turn the jumpsuit the right way out. Give it a good go with your iron then attach the invisible zip.

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Hello patch pocket!

Luckily this all worked out well and I’m very pleased with the final result. This is the first jumpsuit I’ve had since I was a little kid and I’m loving trying out yet another new silhouette. I had a little styling session while my youngest had a fortuitously long nap and had fun trying a few different combinations. I think it’ll be perfect for hot summer days as is, but I also like how it looks layered with a turtleneck or t-shirt underneath. I tried a full linen on linen look with two of my recent makes, a white Maya top and hacked new look 6483 and think it works particularly well with a cropped top.

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Details:

  • Pattern: the free Peppermint magazine jumpsuit
  • Pattern mods: Shortened legs by 4”, shortened bodice by 2 ½’, tapered legs by 5/8” on outer leg seam and 1’2” on inner leg seam, finished sash length shortened to 67” long
  • Construction mods: attached facing follow Megan Nielsen tutorial rather than burrito method
  • Fabric: Lara linen in Dove from Potter and co
  • Other garments: modified Lark tee, self drafted t-shirt, modified Maya top (scroll to the bottom of this post for mods) and modified new look 6483 (see this post for mods)

Are you a jumpsuit fan too? Have you tried this fantastic free pattern? Happy sewing xx

Pattern hacking Kwik sew 4221

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So over the last six months or so I’ve completely fallen head over heels with the whole Elizabeth Suzann brand and aesthetic. It all started with the hacked Maya top on the tessuti blog and once I discovered the Georgia top that inspired it I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve got two very young children so have been stuck in a bit of style rut lately. I’ve been wearing the same tried and true silhouettes (and been comfortable doing so) but it’s been really refreshing to shake things up and try something different.

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In the past few months I’ve made my first pair of culottes, as well as my first pair of wide leg cropped pants and have really been enjoying them. The next new shape I wanted to try was something resembling the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde pants. Luckily I stumbled across this very helpful tutorial written by Catherine who you should go check out on Instagram if you don’t already follow her (love her style!) While I probably could have worked it out on my own it was so helpful being able to follow along with her instructions and I’m so appreciative that she put the time into writing that post.

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Catherine used the Marigold trousers as her starting point but mentioned that any tapered elastic waisted pants pattern would work. I trawled through the fold line database and came up with Kwik sew 4221. As always, I ignored the cover photo and zoned straight in on the line drawing. It seemed promising so I purchased the pattern and got started.

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I traced out the smallest size but did end up tapering in the legs slightly. My pants ended up measuring about 6.5” at the leg opening. I muslined the pattern before trying to alter the style lines just to check the fit of the crotch area and luckily I didn’t have to do any adjustments. The original pattern has a front and back pattern piece with side seams (like most pants). I basically followed Catherine’s very clear instructions to change the side seam into a front and back leg seam and create the pockets. My pockets started 1 ½ ” down from the waist seam with the bottom of the curve about 2 ½” further down. I made them about 10” deep as that seemed about right for where my fingertips hit.

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Those pockets! And the topstitching that got unpicked multiple times!

The only thing I did differently was not create one big pattern piece for each leg before altering it into three pieces. Instead I drew the new seam lines on the front and back leg, created the new front and back pieces and then pivoted the two remaining parts of the old pieces along the old side seam (if that makes any sense). I did this as the old side seams were fairly curved so they did not fit together side by side properly without a significant amount of overlap. Although in hindsight I would not recommend doing this as I think this is what contributed to some “pouching out” on my front seamlines near my hips (not exactly flattering!)

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I drafted a straight waistband which was basically a rectangle 5” wide and the length of the finished circumference of the top of the pants. I used two loops of ¾” wide elastic and each channel was 1” wide. The elastic I used did narrow a fair bit when stretched so I decided to topstitch it down vertically at each seamline. Unfortunately I managed to twist the top band of elastic while topstitching it (grrrrrr) and had to unpick some of my stitching in the ditch which proved to be almost impossible as for once I’d actually done my stitching right in the ditch!

In the end I had to unpick the waistband and overlocking to unpick the topstitching but as always it was worth it. I also stitched a small piece of twill tape to the waistband to mark the back of the pants. One of these days I’d like to get some labels to stitch into my handmades but haven’t gotten around to that yet. I pinned up the hems at a couple of different lengths and decided on a slightly cropped length.

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While I had been googling “Elizabeth Suzann Clyde pants” to see how people were styling their pants I’d come across this post and had fallen completely in love with the whole outfit. If you don’t want to click through basically this blogger is wearing an oatmeal pair of clyde pants with a white linen Georgia tee. When I found this cotton/linen blend in the perfect oatmeal colour from the Fabric store that I made my pants out of I also bought some midweight white linen as I just couldn’t get that outfit out of my head.

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So of course I also made a cropped Maya top out of that white linen and have basically recreated my dream outfit (woohoo!) When I was buying this linen it was the end of the roll and there was only 1.2m left. Now while I usually dwell on the negative side of being so short (150cm) one of the major positives is that I always need less fabric than the pattern calls for. I was able to squeeze both a Maya top and another hacked New Look 6483 out of my 1.2m so was pretty happy with that.

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And that was meant to be the end of the story…but once I’d taken some photos I really wasn’t happy with how these pants had turned out (doh!) I took a bit of a break from these pants and over the course of the next few weeks (while working on another project) I did a lot of unpicking, hand basting, checking the fit then finally re-sewing some of the seams. I’ve done a side by side comparison below with the before and after. The changes were pretty small but I think they made a big difference to the overall silhouette, particularly to the lower leg.

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L-R: After and before. The almost identical posing was completely accidental haha!

I ended up taking in the seam allowances along both the front and back seams (which had already been topstitched down grr) then had to unpick some of the front seam again as I’d been a bit too aggressive and they were a bit too tight. I’m pretty happy with the end result and particularly love the colour combination of these outfits. I wore these pants and my Maya top for the first time recently and loved how breezy and stylish I felt – I’m sure I’ll be wearing this combo on repeat particularly as the warm weather has finally arrived. Happy sewing xx

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Pose inspired by the inimitable Julia Bobbin!

Ode to the Maya top + #sewjapaneseinjuly

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I’m not really one to participate in community challenges as a lot of the time they’re seasonally inappropriate or the themes don’t really align with what I’m sewing at that time. With two small kids sewing time is a precious commodity so I’m very selective about what I use it for. Don’t get me wrong, I think challenges are a great way to get motivated and to connect with others in our lovely community so I certainly enjoy following along and seeing what amazing things others make.

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When #sewjapaneseinjuly popped up with the following description (quoted from @bloglessanna’s Instagram post): “@craftyjane_makes and I are hosting #sewjapaneseinjuly next month. This is a sister event to #sewjapaneseinjanuary that allows for seasonal variations between hemispheres! Will you join us and sew from your Japanese pattern books and/or Japanese fabric stash in July and use the hashtag? No sponsors, giveaways or commercial partnerships… this is a community event, open to all, aimed to motivate and inspire.” I immediately thought of a gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze that had been kicking around in my stash since last year.

According to my Instagram feed I’d purchased this back in October last year at the dreamy Fibresmith. I’d gone there to purchase some see you at six French terry which has been turned into a very well worn pair of Anima pants. While I was taking my sweet time browsing I noticed a lady at the counter purchasing some beautiful fabric. It seemed vaguely familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on why. There didn’t appear to be much fabric left on the bolt so as she was getting it cut I was silently hoping there would be enough left for me to get some too!

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As soon as she was done I quickly popped up to the counter to ask about the fabric. It turns out that it was an old Nani Iro double gauze which Leslie (the lovely owner of Fibresmith) had bought on her recent buying trip to Japan. Now I’m really not one for impulse shopping but this print was just too gorgeous to pass up on. When I found out there was about 1.5m left on the bolt I happily snapped it up. This fabric has been happily hanging out in my stash ever since as I wanted to find the “perfect” pattern to use it for.

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Maya top #1

#sewjapaneseinjuly was a great reminder to use this fabric and once I started thinking about it I realised that I already had an ideal pattern to use it for – the Marilla Walker Maya top. I’ve briefly mentioned my first Maya top here but since then I’ve made three others so thought it was about time I give this pattern a proper blog post. I’d never really taken much notice of this pattern until Lisa from Tessuti fabrics did a post about it in December last year. It seems that lots of sewists have made it up with a few modifications to resemble the cult Georgia tee.

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Worn with Anima pants

Once I saw Lisa’s version I was completely in love and saw this pattern in a new light. All the possibilities flashed through my head (cropping it even more, adding a gathered skirt etc) and I got myself a copy. I followed the modifications outlined by Lisa (adding an extra inch at the centre front and back seams, lengthened the sleeve length of the size one to the size five, added rectangular sleeve cuffs and finished the neckline with double fold bias instead of a facing) and was so thrilled with the end result.

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Maya top #2

My second version was made out of another linen, this time from Tessuti fabrics and the only difference between the two versions was to make this one slightly shorter. I’ve gradually been wearing more high-waisted bottoms and a cropped top pairs better with these.

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Maya top #3

For my third version I veered away from linen (which has quickly become my favourite fabric to sew with) and upped the ante by using silk organza. This was made as part of a wedding outfit to be worn over an Ogden cami lengthened into a dress. I cropped this one even more but construction wise everything else was pretty much the same. For more details click here.

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The full outfit – possibly one of my favourite makes ever!

This finally leads me to version number four, made out of Nani Iro. I’ve never worked with double gauze or Nani Iro before but have certainly thought this line of fabrics was stunning. Luckily it was pretty straightforward to work with, and would have been a really simple sew if I hadn’t messed up the seam allowance. The top is French seamed and for some reason I sewed the shoulder and side seams incorrectly making the armholes narrower by a total of 1”. Originally I’d thought “oh that won’t make a difference” and kept on going.

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Maya top #4

Boy was I wrong! I tried on one of my other Maya tops and pinned the armholes smaller by 1” and it was apparent that they were too tight! I sulked for a night then the next day resolved to get the seam ripper out. I knew I wouldn’t wear the top much otherwise and while I’m very glad I did fix it unpicking French seams in double gauze is no joke (eye roll). The fact that I’d found thread that was a perfect colour match did not help either. As I couldn’t face unpicking the whole length of the side seams and shoulder seams I just unpicked from the armholes for about three inches. I then had to resew those seams with the narrowest possible seam allowances.

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Worn with my V9075 culottes

Luckily I managed to ekk out enough extra room in the armholes and from there on in it was smooth sailing. I tried on my original Maya top pinned at several different lengths with different jeans/pants/skirt combos to settle on its length. In the end I cropped it by two inches as that way it wasn’t too short to wear with mid-rise jeans but also worked for a half tucked look too. The pattern has a bit of a flare at the hem which has to be eased in however this time I straightened out the side seams. I subsequently also had to straighten out the gentle curve of the bottom edge and this made hemming the top a breeze.

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Plus some bonus “sleeves” for warmth

I had enough fabric left over to make a cropped shell top using new look 6483. It may not look like much from the pattern envelope but I found it to be a versatile little top and after making a few alterations I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I made view E except I raised the neckline 3/4″ all the way around tapering to 1/2″ at the centre back seam. I raised the bust darts by 1 1/4″, straightened out the side seams (it was originally more fitted at the waist) and removed 1″ from the width of the centre back seam on either side tapering to nothing about halfway down as it was gaping on me. I used double fold bias binding instead of a facing to finish off the armholes and neckline and cropped the length by about 5″.

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Now writing all of those changes out makes it seem like it was a lot of work but it really didn’t take that long to do. As I’ve gained more sewing experience it’s become a lot easier to tell just by looking at the flat pattern piece what changes may need doing. And fine tuning a pattern has also become less tedious as I can really see the value it getting things just right so that I’m satisfied with the finished garment.

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Worn with a pair of hacked V9075 pants

I’m very happy to have finally used this gorgeous fabric and am excited for the weather to warm up so I can wear these tops! I may have yet another Maya top planned as this is such a winner of a pattern. Easy to sew, super comfortable yet more elevated than a basic tee. I feel put together and polished when wearing it and this is a true TNT pattern for me. I’d love to hear about your TNTs. Happy sewing xx

Edited 25/9/19 I’ve tweaked my Maya top slightly as I found the neckline was a bit too wide for me. Here is the complete list of changes I use for my current pattern: added an extra inch at the centre front and back seams, shaved off about 1/2″ from the shoulder seams at the neckline tapering to nothing at the armholes, lengthened the sleeve length of the size one to the size five, straightened out the side seams removing the slight waist shaping, straightened out the slightly curved hem, added rectangular sleeve cuffs and finished the neckline with double fold bias instead of a facing

V9075 hacked even more

ACS_0380If you saw my last post I made the bottom half of V9075 into a pair of culottes which have been surprisingly wearable. After making my first pair of culottes I was keen to see if I could do some pattern hacking to make a more casual version. I was definitely inspired by all the amazing versions of the Ninni culottes which were all over my me made May 2019 feed on instagram but was worried that they might be a bit too wide for me. I was happy with the fit of the V9075 culottes so I decided to give pattern hacking a go.

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The top of V9075 is slightly curved as is the hem of the legs. I straightened out both of these to be parallel to each other (to make pattern hacking easier) and made sure the side seams were perpendicular. I measured my hips and made the top of the waistband 4” larger than my hip measurement to ensure I would be able to get them on and off. The pant legs do not flare out at all so this removed some width from the legs. I used a completely elasticated waistband with 2 x 1” wide channels with ¾” elastic through each. I used 23 1/2″ of elastic overlapped by 1″ in each of the channels.

ACS_0381I muslined the new pattern up in a very old quilting cotton I had lying around and thought I was good to go with my actual fabric, a linen and cotton blend from the Fabric store. Once I tried them on (unfortunately I did not get any pictures) it was very apparent that the rise was way too long and that I had attached the pockets about 2” too low. I unpicked the waistband (grrr not my favourite part of sewing) and removed 2” from the top of the pants before reattaching the waistband. Luckily this improved both the rise and my pocket placement in one fell swoop so that felt like a bit of a win.

ACS_0378I tried these on again and unfortunately still wasn’t happy with them! The rise was definitely better but I felt like the pant legs were just too wide, particularly on my very petite frame. The thought of unpicking the waistband again was very off putting so I put the project aside for a few nights. I came back to it with fresh eyes knowing it was worth putting in the effort to fix them so that I would be happy with them.

ACS_0385I unpicked not only the waistband, but also the inseam pockets as I wanted to reduce the overall width of the pant legs and the most logical way to do this would be to take the side seams in. I ended up taking 1” from the side seams (so a total of 4” in circumference) which meant that the stretched waistband ended up matching my hip measurement. I also felt that they were a bit too short for my liking so I attached 5” cuffs to the bottom of the pant legs.

ACS_0383After all that faffing about I’m pretty happy with the end result, but looking back at these photos am still not sure about the length and may end up taking an inch or two off them. Phew that felt like a bit of an essay about minor tweaks but I really do think that getting the small details right can really make a garment so much better. In these pictures I’m wearing them with a long sleeved Grainline Studio Lark tee hacked into a turtleneck (or skivvy as we called them growing up). My shoes are a relatively new addition, a pair of Lotta from Stockholm clogs which are super comfortable. Finding shoes to fit my tiny yet wide size 35 feet is a bit of a nightmare so I was pretty excited to discover this brand.

It’s still a bit too cold to wear these in Australia right now but I foresee them becoming a good pant option for when the weather finally warms up. Happy sewing xx

V9075 culottes

ACS_0401This pattern was bought on a complete whim, which is unusual for me. In Australia vogue patterns usually retail for $25-$30AUD. A couple of months ago Spotlight had a 2 for $12 sale on vogue patterns so I thought I’d have a bit of a browse on the website to see if anything caught my fancy. I’d vaguely been meaning to buy v1501 after seeing these beauties and then thought maybe I’d try out a culottes pattern as well.

My local store was unfortunately out of stock of the pattern I’d decided on so I quickly sat down and browsed through the vogue catalogue. I came across v9075 which is actually a pattern for a dress and a jumpsuit. The jumpsuit looked like the bottom half would work for a pair of culottes so I bought it and v1501.

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I don’t know why I didn’t think to search the hashtag while I was in spotlight but once I did a quick search I realised I’d accidentally bought a gem, yay! This particular version by Sweet Shard on Instagram really caught my eye, it’s absolutely gorgeous as are all of her makes. I also read through numerous blog posts about this pattern and quite a few seemed to mention how the crotch rise was on the shorter side. I really wanted to avoid a “hungry bum” situation so ended up lowering the crotch curve by an inch, even though I’m much shorter than the height the pattern is drafted for. This probably wasn’t necessary and next time I’d probably just leave the curve as drafted.

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The original pattern does not have a waistband and has pleats on both the front and back. I decided to keep the pleats in the front for a more streamlined look but went with an elasticated back for comfort. I drafted a straight waistband once I’d stitched the front pleats in place. I inserted two rows of 3/4” elastic through the back of the waistband in 1” wide channels and also added some in seam pockets. I shortened the leg length by 4” for my 150cm frame and am pretty happy with the silhouette.

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The fabric was a bleached tencel from Spotlight and happily I’ve found the colour to be very versatile. These can easily be dressed up or down, but I do have to be mindful of wearing a more fitted top otherwise I feel a bit swamped. I also feel that they work better with either a cropped top, or one that can be tucked in to balance everything out. As you can see I tried both of these options (a cropped Maya top and a tucked in Mandy boat tee) and I think they both work.

On a bit of a side note I’m really enjoying trying out new silhouettes and styles. I have two young kids so for the last few years my body has been through some drastic changes and I haven’t really had the time or interest to spend on my style in general. I’ve been wearing the same tried and true outfits and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s been fun to look around on Instagram and pinterest to find some different styles to try.

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Details:

  • Pattern: v9075
  • Mods: Elasticated waistband with gathered back, inseam pockets added, crotch curve lowered by 1”, leg length shortened by 4”
  • Fabric: bleached tencel from Spotlight

Overall I’m quite pleased with my first foray into the whole culottes/wide leg pants trend and feel that this is definitely a style I can get behind! Happy sewing xx