Safran jeans

Deer and Doe Safran 2

Allo! I’ve been on the jeansmaking train again – it’s never too long between denim sessions chez Katie. This time it was external forces guiding me, because Deer and Doe sent over a pre-release of their new Safran jeans and pants sewing pattern to road-test and review. I’ve tried a lot of skinny jeans patterns by this point – Burdas, Style Arcs, Closet Case Files – so how do Safran stack up?

Deer and Doe Safran 4

The main difference is that the Safrans are lower on traditional jeans-style details and instead tread the line towards more classic skinny trousers. Depending on fabric type you could make quite smart minimal cigarette pants in, say, a black sateen, or go ahead with denim and add plenty of topstitching for more of a jeans look. I went down the middle, using a crisp mid-blue denim but without much extra detailing.

safran

The pattern comes with two views – A has belt loops, back pockets, a full length leg and instructions for topstitch detailing; B leaves off those details and has a just-above-ankle length. I used mostly view A with the length of view B, however I left the hems raw and staggered them slightly so the back is a bit longer. It’s a look I’ve seen in RTW that I like a lot – and hey, no hemming – bonus!

Deer and Doe Safran 11

A few things of note while I sewed up the pattern:

Deer and Doe Safran 1

Fabric: You’ll definitely want to heed the fabric recommendations and look for something with 20%+ stretch, because there’s plenty of negative ease factored into the hip measurement. I made a toile in lower stretch denim and while I could just about zip them up, I couldn’t move very far! My final denim is medium weight with about 20% stretch, from Woolcrest Textiles.

Deer and Doe Safran 3

Sizing: I’m a 38/40 in D&D dresses and cut 40 at the waist, 42 at the hip and 38 in the lower leg. The seam allowances are a generous 5/8″ so you have some fitting wiggle room; I always baste jeans up and try them on before before final sewing as each different denim means the fit will vary a little. I could also probably take a look at a few adjustments around the crotch and knees to fix some of those wrinkles. But I really like them proportionally – the rise length is great and there’s a nice curvy waistband that stays put on the low natural waist and doesn’t gape, despite there being no back yoke or darts.

Deer and Doe Safran 9

Pockets: The welted slash pockets are a nice detail that are interesting/challenging to sew and actually functionally easier to use than traditional curved jeans pockets. I’d recommend using a pocket lining fabric either with a similar stretch factor to your main fabric, or cutting your pocket lining pieces on the bias so they have some natural give. Using nonstretch cotton for lining can sometimes lead to weird distortion and drag marks, especially if you’re generous of hip like me.

Deer and Doe Safran 10

Fly: The included fly instructions are different to those I’ve seen before. I tried to follow them on my toile and didn’t like the result much – the zip was only just covered by the overlap – so I deferred back to my favourite Sandra Betzina method. Overall the instructions are clear and detailed but not too hand-holdy, which works for me.

Deer and Doe Safran 5

There’s lots more details and other tester versions of the Safran pattern on the Deer & Doe blog and they’re planning a series of tutorials and tips. From my point of view, if you like the adaptability of the style go to from jeans to pants, it’s a really nice versatile pattern. Just be sure to get streeeetchy fabric!

Olivia

Style Arc Olivia1

Another recent-ish addition to my summer wardrobe, this is a Style Arc Olivia dress I made a month or so ago. It’s about the simplest project you could imagine with its kimono sleeves, elastic waist and gently flared skirt. I always feel a bit lazy buying patterns like this, but the unfussiness means they actually get used more often than more unique or complex designs, so it’s definitely an economical purchase. It’s also a great canvas for pretty fabrics and ripe for a few design hacks.

Style Arc Olivia5

The proportions overall are really nice: I like how the slightly longer bodice blouses over the elastic waist, and the skirt’s the perfect fullness and flare – it’s another cycle-friendly gal. As Meg noted when she made her Olivia, the neckline as drafted is really quite wide and scoopy. I’ve actually got the facings safety-pinned to my bra straps to anchor it in place! Next time I’ll alter the flat pattern to make it a little snugger.

Style Arc Olivia6

A little design alteration I made was to do a deep baseball-style scoop at the hemline. I still haven’t actually hemmed the skirt – it’s just overlocked – because I’m a bit stuck on how to do it neatly with a fabric that likes to ripple and won’t take a nice press. I have a rolled hem foot which would be ideal but I’ve never got the hang of it; ditto a serged rolled hem. I’ll deal with it sometime. Or just wear it unhemmed forever…

Style Arc Olivia3

It was the perfect pattern to use my treasured self-designed French crepe fabric, printed by Contrado. Like all springy poly crepes it didn’t like to take a press very well, but it was mercifully non-shifty for cutting and sewing and feels great to wear. I wouldn’t hesitate to get more of their crepes printed with other designs.

Style Arc Olivia1

Considering how fast and simple this was to make, it got INSANE praise when I wore it to work today. I think every girl in the office commented on it, along with gaining boyfriend seal of approval. I’d better get designing more fabric and making it into more Olivias!

Another 80s jumpsuit

Jumpsuit 2

The Summer of Jumpsuits continues – here’s one from a wee vintage pattern from 1981, Style 3304, that I got on eBay with the aim of recreating some of the camisole jumpsuits I’ve been Pinning like this and this.



Style-3304
Jumpsuit 3

I cut a size 14 but had to take the bodice in a LOT, like 4 inches around the top. I’m not sure how it’d stay up on anyone with the amount of ease built in! The waistline is formed with an elasticated channel made by the seam allowances being pressed down and topstitched. I did consider leaving it loose and unelasticated like my Marigold but decided to add it here for wardrobe variety. I lopped a good 8 inches off the leg length too.

Jumpsuit 4

The back is supposed to have a slit and be fastened with a button loop but I added an invisible zip so that I could make it fit snugger – I can’t stand when camisoles droop or gape. Next time I’ll re-cut the pattern down to a 10, the smallest in the packet.

Jumpsuit 5

This fabric is a rayon crepe from The Fabric Store. Bit of a backstory here: After admiring The Fabric Store’s range from afar for so long, I finally did an order when there was a free shipping code, buying some baby pink merino, some galaxy printed silk and this rayon. On top of the expensive order I then had to pay a hefty customs charge, but luckily I loved all the fabrics enough to make it worthwhile when I got the package in my paws. Threw them all in a cold/handwash machine prewash together – then nearly burst into tears when I pulled them out and found that this rayon had bled navy ink both into itself, meaning some of the white lines are streaked with pale blue, and worse – all over the lovely powder pink merino jersey, leaving unsalvageable indigo tie-dye all over it. The Fabric Store were amazing about it and kindly sent me both replacement pink jersey and a bonus piece of green too. And after running the rayon through the wash a couple more times with colour catcher sheets I felt that I could use it. I cut around the worst parts of the dye leakage and you can’t really tell from far away that anything’s wrong.

Anywaaaay, the rayon crepe was a really nice match for this pattern and while it was a little shifty to deal with I love the result. So, happy ending to that saga. (I should also add in case you were wondering that The Fabric Store are partnering with some bloggers at the moment to send them fabric but that wasn’t the case with me – I paid out of my pocket!).

Jumpsuit 1

I was considering this a wearbale toile both due to the imperfect fabric and testing a new-to-me pattern, but I’m glad I managed to hack around and end up with a pretty well-made and well-fitting garment. It was great to wear to work during the mini-heatwave a couple of weeks ago, and again works equally well for daytime, cycling and going out. I’m going to alter the bodice of the pattern to try and get the fit bang-on because getting a well-fitting camisole top is like the holy grail for my hollow-upper-chested self, then probably hack it into tops and dresses too.

Sewing Around the World: Schnittchen Mary trousers

Schnittchen Mary trousers

Today’s my turn to share my contribution to Schnittchen Patterns’ Sewing Around the World campaign: a blog tour of 12 sewists in 12 cities making 12 Schnittchen patterns. You can see the other bloggers and their projects, along with my project and a short interview with me, on the Schnittchen blog.

171e42a8-4663-4a13-ad5e-dc8872a1c2db

Schnittchen Mary trousers width=

I picked the Mary trousers, one of the new Summer 2016 patterns, a wide leg cropped pant with a gathered front, back darts and side and back pockets.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

We were given a store and budget to pick fabric, and I chose Rough Cut Arrows double gauze from The Village Haberdashery. It’s the first double gauze I’ve used that’s not made by Nani Iro: this one feels a little more substantial and stable so I think it was a very good match for summer pants. They’ll certainly never be crisp and tailored, but I like the slightly rumpled look and it’s sooo comfortable.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

Schnittchen Mary trousers

I sewed the pattern exactly as designed, except for moving the invisible zip fastening to the side seam instead of centre back. It’s the first Schnittchen pattern I’ve made and I was impressed by the fit, pattern packaging and instructions.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

I had to take a little wedge out of the straight waistband to fit my back but otherwise the fit was good right off. You can’t tell because the print camouflages them, but the back pocket shape is a bit more interesting than usual and the double darts give a good fit.

Schnittchen Mary trousers

We’re going through a heatwave in London right now so it’s too muggy to wear any sort of trouser (I changed back into shorts after the photos), but that won’t last forever!

Schnittchen Mary trousers

In the interest of whipping through sharing some other recent projects, here’s a closeup of the top too because I love it lots. It’s a modified (half-buttoned) vintage New Look 6250 in self-striped cotton voile from organiccotton.biz, one of my new favourite online stores. This is 100% heatwave-approved and has been seeing heavy rotation lately.

Green Celine

Style-Arc-Celine5

Well, hello there. What’s new? I got a new rug and tidied up my mantelpiece…

I’m sorry for a bit of an unintended extended absence round these parts lately. A lot of things seemed to collide at once in my life the last few weeks, such as:

– Two hellish weeks doing jury service. Honestly, if you get asked, run a mile!
– Work kicking up a gear, culminating in pretty crazy trip to Iceland.
– Lending my camera to my sister because she got a new puppy, and subsequently buying a new one jointly with Josh, which he promptly took on holiday with him.
– The turbulent news from my own country and the rest of the world generally not making me want to leave my bed…

Style-Arc-Celine1

I have managed to fit in a bit of sewing though, if not blogging, so I have a nice backlog of projects to share. Starting with this, my new favourite dress. It’s green, it’s midi, it feels like I’m wearing a big comforting hug, and I love it.

Style-Arc-Celine

The basis for the pattern was the Style Arc Celine, though you’d be mistaken for thinking it’s the more famous Named Kielo, especially given the tweaks I made. I bought Celine over Kielo because I know how well Style Arc patterns fit me and they’re so very easy to work with: one pattern on the sheet, nice paper, easy to cut, seam allowances at the ready. Also it came with optional short sleeves which I wanted, though I think Kielo has a free extension pack for sleeves now too.

Style-Arc-Celine3
Style-Arc-Celine2

So I basically hacked the Celine to make it look more like Kielo: adding 6 inches to the length and straightening out some of the skirt’s flare; adding extra-long skinny ties onto the wrap sections; and merging the front and back princess-seamed panels into single front and back pieces. (There is some shaping built into the seams, so for a woven I’d use the panels; for a knit I thought it was safe to simply overlap the excess where the princess panels curve outwards.) There’s loads of ways to tie the dress to get different looks, but I think the most flattering on me is a crossover at the front with the ties knotted at the back.

Style-Arc-Celine4

Knits aren’t amongst the recommended fabrics for Celine, but I didn’t change anything else except switching the neck facing for a band. The fabric is a ribbed knit from MyFabrics. My god this fabric is lovely: yes, it’s polyacrylic, but it’s £3 a metre, snuggly soft, and comes in loads of colours, so I might be snapping up more. It was painfully difficult to cut – my rotary cutter was going NOPE over all the ridges, plus the pattern pieces are huge and awkward so I had to move from my sewing room onto the kitchen floor to have enough space. But once cut it came together quickly and was easy to work with, even the hemming, which I was slightly dreading but came up lovely using a walking foot.

Style-Arc-Celine6

It’s a dress that attracts a lot of comments and compliments, yet it’s secret pyjama comfortable, which is really my preferred criteria for clothing and why it’s amongst my favourite garments right now. I’ve worn it on a flight, to work, it’s cycle friendly, and I’d feel fine wearing it out in the evening too: not many styles you can say that about.

Back soon with more! How have you been?

Marigold in bloom

Marigold

Howdy! Now it may not look exactly like it, but this is my tester version of Tilly and the Buttons’ new pattern, the Marigold jumpsuit which was released on Monday. Y’all know I love a jumpsuit so I was happy to help test this pattern before the launch, and I’m pretty pleased with how my version turned out.

marigold

Marigold is a breezy elastic-waist jumpsuit with a loose pegged leg, dainty straps, and a sweetheart neckline, plus a variation to make standalone high-waisted trousers. I think the jumpsuit’s very versatile too since you can wear it like dungarees with a tee underneath to adapt it to cooler weather.

Marigold

You’ll notice the key difference in mine around the waistline. After making the design as patterned for the testing process I made a small tweak for personal preference – removing the elasticated waistband and sewing the bodice directly to the trouser instead. I’m just all about waistless silhouettes right now – I think it looks more cool and modern, though it was perfectly nice with the elasticated band too. Here’s a ‘before’ shot. Did I make the right call?

Marigold
Marigold

Sans t-shirt. I sewed a straight size 4 from the pre-release pattern and the only key fit adjustment I needed was to taper in the side seams at the very top to account for my hollow upper chest. I also reworked the straps as they were very short originally but that’s been corrected in the final pattern. Mine are skinnier than patterned because I had to re-cut from my very last scraps of fabric, also hence the annoying bra straps on show.

Marigold

I used an extremely lovely large scale floral viscose which was an eBay steal. I’m not typically a florals type of person, but the scale and colours of this one really appealed to me. If it wasn’t sold out I’d buy more to make a floaty kimono jacket! It was a rally nice match for Marigold; you’ll want to use something lightweight and drapey but opaque.

Marigold

The pattern is marked for confident beginners but there are quite a lot of steps to tackle and bits of the fit to get right. It’s got pleats, darts, facings and an invisible zip to deal with so it’s a moderately involved project. But Tilly’s instructions are great and clearly photographed as usual so you’re in safe hands. I’m really happy with fit so I might use the pattern again with a couple of tweaks next time I get the all-in-one urge. Which probably won’t be long. Long live the jumpsuit!

I was a tester for this pattern, so I received it for free, and the photos/review don’t necessarily reflect the final pattern.