Category Archives: Finished items 2019

Cielo Blue

A really quick one, because this was such a fast and simple sew: a Cielo top from Closet Case Files’ Rome pattern collection. As I realised after Me-Made May, I don’t have a whole lot of tops that aren’t t-shirts and I thought this would be a nice entry level dip into woven tops being essentially a fancy boxy tee. Girl’s gotta have something to wear with all her trousers huh?

This is View A with the cuffs simply left off the sleeves. I nearly used the dramatic pleated sleeves of View B but thought it would take it a bit into ‘fancy’ territory and make it less everyday-wearable, although I would like the make that view in a less bold/luxe fabric. There are also options for a bound or faced neckline and I opted for the facing this time.

I didn’t toile but based my fit assessment on the finished garment measurements and used the handy C/D bust cup pattern piece which is included with the pattern along with the standard B cup option. The fit turned out really nice; I love the length and shoulder point, I’ll probably just take a little narrow back adjustment next time and lower the bust darts a touch.

I’ve had this cheerful royal blue silk crepe de chine in my stash for a while, from The Fabric Store. The colour is about as bright as I’ll go but I love how it looks with my tan Utility Trousers. I think it was a great fabric match for this pattern and I used French seams throughout – even the armsyces which is always a bit harrowing but was worth it in the end. All in all a great little make and I’ll definitely be using this pattern again soon.

(Note: both pattern and fabric were gifts, with no expectation of blog promotion.)

Trend TPC12 with hacked-on pocket tutorial

My first pair of Trend TPC12 trousers are one of my most worn and loved garments. They get pulled out several times a week, and unfortunately the rather cheap cotton I used to make them is already starting to pill around the thighs and seamlines. So I invested in a sturdier fabric to make a second pair, but mixed up the colour and design a bit too.

The fabric is rather delicious Kaufman Kobe Twill in Cinnamon which I bought from Sister Mintaka – I had a bit of a spree and bought some tencel twill and Atelier brunette viscose at the same time. It’s a pretty ideal bottom weight and well suited to this pattern: light enough to deal with the bulky seam allowance parts around the fly but enough crispness to hold the vents in place. (Full disclosure – I made another pair before these in a much thicker denim/drill and made an absolute mess of them, despite this being a recommended fabric for the pattern – nope, you can’t do a triple-layered concealed button fly in something that thick!).

Despite being the second/third time sewing this pattern up I still struggled with construction! It’s all totally fine until the fly, which has so many layers and bits to line up and press/stitch the right way that it’s so easy to get really confused, especially with the aforementioned terrible instructions. I really fudged bits of this and had to add strategic hand-stitches here and there to keep things together and looking neat. But from the outside at least they look passable and feel secure.

I am proud however of hacking in some sleek side panel pockets because bizarrely for a pattern which calls itself ‘utility’ pants these have none as designed and I do miss them in my beloved black pair. I forewent the purely ornamental leg flap and instead extended the side panel piece by approx 10″ at hip level. This simply gets concertinaed back on itself to form a pocket, the edges of which get sandwiched into the front and side seams. Easy and effective.

Here’s how that works in detail:
1. On the paper pattern, slice horizontally across the side front panel at mid-hip length and add in a panel twice the depth you want the pocket. Mark notches at the tops and bottoms of the added section.
2. When you come to sew, fold up the pocket extension so notches match again. Press into place, and topstitch along the top of the fold if you like (I didn’t). Baste down at the sides.
3. Sandwich into the centre front and side back seams when they get sewn up.

I’m pleased with these – the colour makes them a bit less of a workhorse than the classic black pair, and this 100% cotton does need an iron every time I wear them. But they do match my Ottowin sandals ever so nicely, and the iPhone-depth pockets are a definite bonus.

A pair of Pilatuses

Heyo! A bit more holiday spam, by way of talking about the two swimsuits I made pre-trip, both using the Opian Pilatus pattern.

I made the one on the right here first as a wearable toile, as I suspected having seen several completed Pilatuses that I’d want to make some fitting and stylistic changes to the pattern. This fabric is a jazzy swim lycra I got as a big cheap remnant from the Manchester Abakhan last time I was up there.

The alterations I made are roughly diagrammed here:

So slimming down the front bodice: swooping the neckline lower, making the straps slimmer by about half, and making the tie area skinnier. I also made the back skimpier – following the slimmer straps from the front, taking the scooped neck lower and raising the scoop beneath too. Conversely, I gave the bottoms much more coverage. I raised the waistline by about two inches and cut the leg openings at the largest size to make them lower cut. I also graded between waist and hip size.

Then I felt all good cutting into my main fabric, a Liberty swim lycra which I bought from Liberty itself although they don’t seem to have it in stock any more: The Fabric Store and Guthrie & Ghani stock some prints. The top is self lined (pretty important as you’ll see the rear on the ties) and the bottoms are lined in some black swim lycra I had lying around. The Liberty fabric is lovely quality as you’d expect: quite firm stretch so it fits a little tighter than the first set I made but in quite a nice secure way!

The pattern was great to work with generally. A nice 11 page PDF that assembled easily, with brief but helpful and well-illustrated instructions. And both suits got a great workout on holiday!

These suits were so comfortable for swimming and lounging in and both fabrics seemed to hold up really well. In fact the only thing I’d change is I think I overdid the coverage on the bottoms and they’d look more balanced if they were cut more like the original design. I felt overdressed on a beach full of Italians in very small two-pieces! But having this suit might even encourage me to hit the local pool a bit more too…

Pietra in Italia

I’ve just got back from a lovely holiday in southern Italy. It was hot, beachy and full of pasta and aperitivos which is quite ideal. I was also really pleased to find I packed a nearly 100% handmade holiday wardrobe without even trying – a lot of which are old makes stretching back to 2015 or so (including the top I’m also wearing here), but these are the only thing I made specifically for the trip: a pair of Closet Case Patterns’ new Pietra Shorts.

Heather kindly sent me the Rome Collection on its release, and while I like all the garments, it was obviously the trousers that drew me in first. I actually made these shorts after making two pairs of the pants version which I am yet to wear or photograph (as it’s been too warm!) so I could apply some learnings about fit and so forth which made these a very fast pre-hol sew.

I made a size 10 blended to 12 at the hip and additionally did full butt and thigh adjustments as I did when I made the pants. Interestingly though, the shorts have a lot more ease at the hip compared to the slim-leg trouser view: this can be seen in the useful finished garment measurement table but I neglected to check the different measurements between the views, so while my pants fit snugly these are actually a bit loose and I took in the side seams about 3/4″ on each side during construction to compensate.

They are still comfortably loose in fit when worn but I do have to do some serious wriggling to get them on and off! Heather suggests if you need to grade up more than two sizes between waist and hip you would probably want to put in a side seam invisible zip for ease of dressing, and I think I will do this in any future pairs – it will stop causing strain on the waistline too so probably help them hold their shape longer. I think for any fellow pears you’d probably want to consider doing the same.

A lot of people have been curious about the back view of this pattern as the back waistline is elasticated (the front is flat and elegantly finished with a facing). I’m pleasantly surprised that the backside view doesn’t look too bunched or unflattering, even in this fabric I used which is the upper limit of weight you’d probably want to use: it’s leftovers from the lightweight crisp New Craft House denim I used for my Yanta Overalls. Heather said she drafted the back waistline a little lower than is traditional in order to hug the small of the back, and while it felt a bit uncomfortable to me at first and I was tempted to increase the back rise (this is a common big butt adjustment to make, too) I do see the benefit as the topstitched elastic does indeed sit smoothly against the back, especially with a blousy half-tucked top kinda vibe.

These were a delight to wear in their namesake country, though I did obviously get them quite grubby scrabbling around on the rocks! I’ll share my pants versions as soon as it’s cool enough to wear them; I don’t think it’ll be the last time I pick up this pattern.

The Water Lily jacket

The idea for this project has been percolating in my head for a while, and finally a pattern came along that kickstarted me to make it come to life. Yes, turns out a pastel lilac spring jacket was exactly what my wardrobe needed and it’s really put a bit more colour and variety into my last few days of me-made May.

So weird confession first: this is one of the very first jackets I’ve both sewn and owned. Being a rare type who doesn’t feel the cold that much, I typically wear a coat for the proper winter months, switch out to a knitwear layer for the in-between-y months, and shrug off all outerwear and go t-shirt-sleeves as soon as it’s reliably above about fifteen degrees. But this spring I felt like challenging my layering-ambivalence and having a go at making a garment that could work on top of a tee, be a useful barrier to my sometimes overly-chilly office and feel a bit more put-together than my usual cardi or sweatshirt.

I swooped on the Lysimaque Patterns’ Nénuphar jacket as soon as I saw it in my Instagram feed. I was mostly taken in by the gorgeous patchworked and colour-blocked sample but also realised that it was just the right simple project to test out my jacket needs in a low-stakes sort of way. It’s a very simple but impactful and practical design. The body is basically square with tapered dropped-shoulder sleeves, a stand-less collar (I also have a weird aversion to collars) and lovely huge pockets with an overlapped little chest pocket just for fun. No plackets, cuffs, linings etc to deal with: this lack of fussy detailing and finishing techniques appealed to both my minimalist and lazy tendencies. Win-win.

I was fairly happy with the pattern itself. I did struggle a bit with alignment of the A4 PDF as there are no page borders or match points which I think led to some seams not matching perfectly. The instructions are supplemented with sketchy illustrations and are translated from French into English. I didn’t find some areas super clear, like hemming the lower edge to get a clean finish at the front and the standless collar attachment method, but mostly figured it out using prior art, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this if you need more hand-holding. (I have given this feedback to Lysimaque’s owner and she is very open to feedback and providing more guidance.)

I cut a size 40 and am quite happy with the fit. The upper back is a bit too broad but I think that’s to be expected in a boxy drop-shoulder style and I wouldn’t want to over-fit it as you’d probably lose some of the range of motion. The sleeves are a touch short and quite narrow at the hem but I like the wristbone length, and the proportion of the body length is spot on for me.

I used a Robert Kaufman Ventana Twill from my stash, bought originally for Lander pants but I actually find this twill too thin and unstructured for Landers. It’s perfect for this jacket though and quickly put paid to my fears of woven jackets feeling more uncomfortable and restrictive than my usual knitwear. 

I finished the jacket with my favourite flat metal buttons from Textile Garden, and did matching copper buttonholes: partly because I thought it’d look nice and partly because my spool of lilac thread ran out just as I was finishing the topstitched hem. I didn’t achieve the neatest finish at the collar-placket meeting point and I’m a bit worried the area feels quite weak and might fray over time. I sewed some bar tacks at the intersection point to try and reinforce it a bit. I chose to faux-flat-fell the other main seams ie overlocked them together then topstitched 5mm from the seam.

I wouldn’t have necessarily selected this lilac colour for a goes-with-everything jacket but weirdly I’m finding it really does pair nicely with large swathes of my wardrobe and I’ve certainly been reaching for it regularly since I finished it. I am unexpectedly keen on it buttoned up as well as loose and I like that it can be worn indoors as well as out as it feels quite shirt-like. I’m not sure I need another one right away but I’m definitely keeping an eye out for a nice forest green or black peached twill for a potential second go.