I hate the period of the year from September to March. Hate, hate, hate everything about the darker, colder, sadder seasons. My weird form of resistance to this is dressing seasonally-inappropriately for as long as I can bear. However two rotten colds later I decided I did need a layering piece for over my jumpers when I cycle into work. (I’ll be reluctantly trading the bare ankles for knee socks and boots soon, too.)
I dug out the Lysimaque Nenuphar jacket again, which I made in lilac back in the spring. I love that little jacket and wore it loads in the warmer months, but the combination of the colour and cropped/shrunken shape means it isn’t great for colder weather knitwear layering. I had in mind that if lengthened and slightly oversized in an appropriately moodier fabric it’d make a similarly chuck-on-able autumn jacket. To that end, before cutting I lengthened the body pieces eight inches at the hem, graded up a size from waist to hip, and enlarged the width of the sleeves by an inch or so.
I had fun with pocket placement too! I placed the two large ones asymmetrically, added a little chest one, and added a matching one to the elbow of the opposite sleeve for lols, which you can’t see but it’s there and cute (I think I was inspired by CCP’s Sienna jacket). I adore how big these pockets are. They’ve already saved me on a supermarket trip when I forgot a reusable bag – I fitted a pot of houmous, a mini ciabatta, a block of Cheddar and a bottle of Lucozade in (see: I have a cold) and only felt slightly like a pack-horse.
I used this delightful and well-priced black sanded twill from Merchant & Mills. It’s got a slightly navy undertone and the slightly brushed/peached finish make it feel a little cosy, though it picks up lint like no-one’s business. Buttons are my usual favourites from Textile Garden. All the pocket topstitching turned out lovely and crisp and the collar was much easier to manoeuvre into place second time sewing.
I’m planning a real coat-coat for when it gets even colder (I’m envisioning a lengthened version of the Sienna in boiled wool), but I think this chap will see me through nicely for a couple of months and out the other side into early Spring… roll on, please…
I have earned a bit of a reputation amongst the folk in my workplace for owning the same garments (and shoes) in multiple colours and wearing essentially the same uniform in different hues every day. Guilty as charged – this is my third pair of this pattern.
I’ve had this pair of ASOS trousers pinned for ages knowing that I wanted to recreate them – I’m physically incapable of buying RTW anymore due to that trifecta of horrible fit, crap fabrics and of course ethical and sustainability reasons. Luckily I found a duplicate of the fabric – this gorgeous creamy seeded denim from Merchant and Mills – and figured I could get a similar silhouette using Trend’s TPC12 utility trouser pattern yet again (previous pairs: 1,2).
I couldn’t however bring myself to sew the pattern’s crazy button fly situation again, and had it in mind that I could quite easily swap in a standard zip fly in its place. This took a bit of redrafting and relying on prior art but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
If you want to have a go, here’s roughly what I did: – Cut the centre front pieces with the cut-on fly extension on both sides. Interfaced the extension areas and sewed a zip in per my favourite instructions. – Drafted a simple fly shield piece: this simply needs to be a rectangle the depth of the fly area and twice the width. It’s sewn right sides together around two edges, turned right sides out and the remaining long edge is overlocked. This is then sewn onto the fly underlap side – you could refer to any jeans pattern for similar construction order. – For the waistband I used the Outer Left piece from the original pattern, cut as two pairs for the new outer and facing (the original pattern has a load of wackily-sized waistband pieces as the finishing around the fly is handled… unusually.). It just needed trimming down a bit at the front to fit. I decided to give the edge a point to reflect the thigh pocket design.
I made another modification too which was a bit of a hotfix for a fitting issue. For some reason, despite cutting the pattern down a size after my last pair because I wanted a neater fit, these turned out ginormous on first baste. I have no idea what happened but I was drowning in them – maybe this more rigid fabric meant they didn’t drape like my previous pairs but still. I took them in through every single seam I could, and also subsumed the back dart into a new seam which runs the entire length of the back leg.
This was a great move because the back thigh/knee area has been annoyingly baggy on both of my previous pairs so this kinda leg-princess-seam meant I could suck some of the excess out under the butt (although these are supposed to be loose/carrot-shaped so I didn’t want to over-fit either).
I think I’ll modify the paper pattern to reflect this change for next time – I’m pretty sure that true to form there’ll still be a next time (in indigo denim?!), especially now I can corner-cut on the fly situation.
I made a new pair of trousers yesterday, and they sort of represent a Venn diagram of everything I’m into wearing right now: black & ecru, linen, good pockets, a little quirky detailing and a comfy mid-rise faced waistline.
My target was an approximation of these lovely Paloma Wool pants and I used the Republique du Chiffon Diego trouser pattern as a base. I have had this pattern a while but it was seeing Jasika’s amazing printed pair that showed me the potential of making them in a more breezy fabric than the denim they’re photographed in.
I’m really happy with the basic draft of the pattern and just had to make minor tweaks as I went: I cut a straight 42 and took in the back waist darts and lower leg a bit, that’s all. I added 3/4″ to the rise when cutting because I knew I wanted to try adding a waistline facing instead of the contoured waistband in the pattern, much like my beloved M7445 trousers which are just so damn comfortable.
Converting any waistbanded pattern to a faced waistline is really pretty simple – you just need to trace off 2-3″ deep facing pieces from the front and back main pieces, sew to the top raw seam and anchor into place along the vertical seamlines. I always sew twill tape into the top seam to make sure they don’t bag out. I think this pattern is supposed to have a side seam zip but I moved it to the centre-back, and I also extended the pocket bags into the front seam to act like a stay; little tweaks I make based on preferences I’ve picked up along the way.
I also decided to add hem splits inspired by the Paloma Wool pair and my other favourite trousers, the Trend TPC12. To make these I cut a little rectangular facing piece which I sewed a narrow channel up the middle of, then carefully snipped into it, turned the facing to the inside and topstitched. Perhaps a bit of a silly choice given we’re tumbling rapidly towards autumnal weather, but I do like how they turned out.
I got the fabric a while ago as part of a treat-myself haul from Stonemountain & Daughter; it seems to be out of stock but they have the reverse colourway. It’s 100% linen and I gave it a hot pre-wash to get all the shrinkage out. It’s a little loosely woven but hopefully they will hold up to wear and not sag out too much. I had fun (really!) fussy-cutting to get nice pattern placement and mirroring; even the pocket facings match and I like how the back darts create a V shape in the striped sections.
In retrospect I might make the waistline a tiny bit higher if I was to sew these waistbandless again, though next time I might try using the waistband and cute pointed belt loop detail per the pattern. Hopefully I’ll be able to wear these a bit before truly chilly autumn weather kicks in.
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.)
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.
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…