Category Archives: Finished items 2020

A pink marshmallow Blanca

In which, like a millennial cliche, I blend into my pale peachy pink wall, in my pale peachy pink jumpsuit – in my second Closet Core Blanca flight suit.

In my ongoing desire for a ‘put one garment on and be dressed’ lifestyle, I pretty much just want to sew and wear jumpsuits and dresses at the moment, so this luxuriously cosy baby pink onesie is really a very practical make. The buttery, powdery, peach fuzziest, babiest of baby cords is needlecord in rose from Stoff & Stil.

It was just a delightful project to sew! I completed it leisurely in little bursts over a couple of weeks, taking plenty of time over doing nice topstitching and finishing. I sourced the zip and buckle (actually a bikini clasp) from Jaycotts – I’d have preferred copper or rose gold but couldn’t find something suitable in a matching set.

I had a couple of minor fitting niggles with my first Blanca (although they were difficult to fully diagnose in the print I used), but I… didn’t bother to change anything for this one. The fit is passable but the shoulders are almost certainly a size or two too big (I think the pattern is supposed to have a slight drop shoulder, but it feels too baggy overall around the upper chest and back) and there’s a weird situation going on at the small of the back: it feels like there’s both not enough height/width to fit my butt and too much fabric that’s pooling above the butt like a swayback is needed. Strange one, not sure where I’d start to make that better. I also shortened the sleeves considerably and folded out the pintucks on the back panel.

I did however bother to rework the finishing of the zip that I mentioned annoyed me on my first Blanca. Essentially I folded back the generous 3/4″ seam allowance twice to enclose the zip tape edge and topstitched it in place; a sort of lazy Hong Kong style finish. I’ve saved the steps I took as a highlight on my Instagram. Also, every single seam is flat-felled (apart from the inseam, which is French) = zero overlocking anywhere, extremely pretty pink guts.

I don’t know why the collar looks darker btw? I was super careful to cut everything with the same nap, must just be how the light hits it. Anyway, very pleased with my marshmallow suit and new ability to blend into my wall should I need to.

DIYing the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde pants and jumpsuit

As I’m sure you’ll have heard if you’ve been remotely near Instagram, the much-revered slow fashion brand Elizabeth Suzann are sadly shuttering their business – but more happily made the generous decision to open-source the patterns for many of their garments. The patterns were temporarily made available by some enterprising sewists via Dropbox, but Elizabeth has now announced she intends to release the patterns herself at some point in the future, so they are no longer available until she does that. Edit to add: It was suggested that people who downloaded the patterns make a donation to a movement working to combat white supremacy. I picked StopwatchUK, the campaign for fair and accountable policing.

I’d never bought any ES clothing and while most of the styles veer towards too wafty/boxy for my tastes, I did get swept along in the excitement and tried a couple of the patterns out: namely, both the ‘work pant’ and jumpsuit versions of Clyde, which is largely and rightly famous for its delightfully scoopy pocket situation.

I first made a wearable toile in a horrid polyester, for which I did an Instagram story construction sewalong – there’s lots in my saved highlight about picking sizes and how I went about construction, so I won’t repeat it all here. Then I made a proper pair in this this light and crinkly (alright yes, wrinkly) ‘Flow’ viscose linen from Lamazi Fabrics – in the Cappuccino colour, although as you can see it’s actually significantly darker than the product photos – more of a Mocha imo.

I made my size according to the chart, an 8 in regular length, but my Clydes are fitting rather looser and baggier than the RTW version, probably because this fabric is loosely woven and drapey (my toile fitted more neatly). They veer a tiny bit hippy for my taste as a result, but I’m still wearing them a lot as they’re so comfortable. I have a thicker cream cotton to make one more pair as they sure are good for these stay-home times.

(My top is the discontinued Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank in leftovers from my Claudia dress! Love that I was able to eke something else out of that special fabric.)

I made the Clyde jumpsuit fairly rapidly afterwards, in an indigo enzyme washed linen from Ditto. I didn’t toile and this is the size medium regular.

The fit is generous and it isn’t sitting quite right on the top half where I’m more petite. I fudged removing some excess/gape from the princess seams but next time I’d cut a size or two down and pivot out some of that armsyce/neckline gaping.

I made a long, skinny tie belt as I didn’t think I’d like the shape without, but turns out I’ve been wearing it largely unbelted despite this perhaps being more ‘flattering’. See also: work at home lifestyle.

When I posted this on IG I grumbled a bit about my beef with linen fabric; namely that everyone else seems to love it yet I find it nothing but heavy, creasy and scratchy – even this supposedly enzyme-washed one. Common advice is that it softens up with washing and wear but to be honest I don’t wash my clothes very often – certainly not every wear – and I don’t really have the patience to wait for a fabric to get nice. I’ve been throwing it into the washer whenever I do a coloured load, which has helped a bit and it’s developing that nice worn-in effect along the topstitched seams. The comfort of the silhouette means I’ll tolerate the fabric, but I’m still far from a linen convert.

For two free patterns resulting in highly home-lifestyle-appropriate garments that I’ve worn a ton, I’m very happy with my pair of Clydes. I don’t know if it’s just because I know they’re RTW patterns but they definitely have the feel of well-drafted garments you’d buy in a store. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the official pattern releases to see if I can pick up more fabrication and construction tips.

Blanca in Lantana

An uncharacteristic ditzy-printed garment for me, doing a bit of stashbusting to make a wearable toile of the Closet Case Blanca flight suit that thankfully turned out very wearable indeed!

The Blanca is a hella stylish all-in-one zip-up number with a straight leg, tailored fit and tons of pockets. Most of Instagram has plumped for a solid colour, but I decided to use a long-stashed fabric that I thought might give a bit of a different look.

The fabric is Liberty Lantana in ‘Minako’ print from The Fabric Store originally. Lantana is a perhaps lesser-known Liberty substrate that’s composed of 80% cotton / 20% wool. It sort of feels like a lightweight, drapey cotton flannel suiting, soft but not overly warm – very nice to sew and wear! Shaukat has a few Lantana prints too. I was delighted to find I had the perfect length of zip in my stash with a pretty pewter-coloured pull and teeth.

Sewing it up was pretty fun and not as time-consuming as I was expecting, though I cut corners by leaving off the chest and back pockets as the detailing wouldn’t show up in this print. I followed the instructions for the zip and collar insertion which were straightforward, although I am not super keen on the zip tape and seam allowance showing when the neckline is unzipped and how there is asymmetry between the faced vs non-faced sides. Next time I would consider leaving off the facing side and finishing the zip tape / SA edges together with bias binding.

I cut a size 10 graded to 12 at the hip and found it pretty true to size – it’s designed to be looser in the bodice and slimmer in the hip. The back has some interesting details like pintuck-pleats down the bodice and a curved back waistband – all of which get completely buried in this print. The waistline is designed an inch lower than the natural waist; I think I might pull it up in my next version, although the fit overall is pretty good.

I’m enjoying wearing jumpsuits right now, the ideal blend of comfy enough for the mainly-housebound lifestyle but smart enough to nip out in too. I’ve got some baby pink needlecord to make another Blanca and I’m glad to finally have this fabric out of my stash and into my wardrobe.

A pair of Adriennes

Lockdown-pyjama-wear, but attempt to make it a little bit fun and chic? Enter Adrienne.

The Adrienne by Friday Pattern Co is one of those superstar patterns that snaked its way around Instagram and provided lots of inspiration that led to me deciding to make it. It’s a bit out of my usual style zone as I don’t tend to go for statement-y details like those sleeves, but as it’s basically a souped-up tee I thought I’d be on fairly safe ground.

My first one is made in a lovely melange rib knit from Lamazi Fabrics. I made a Medium with no alterations and found that I just needed to tighten up the elastic by half an inch to sit right on my puny shoulders (I used bra strap elastic I had kicking around). As you can see it still slips down a little bit, so I altered the pattern afterwards to remove two inches of ease from the sleeves (there is an alterations line marked to do this). I was surprised by what a fast project it was: cutting was easy as the fronts and backs are the same and the sewing is really quick. I’ve been wearing this version a lot as it’s so comfortable and immediately made plans for a second one.

For my second one I was inspired by this Zara top and bought the fabrics to recreate it from Minerva – the body is bandage rib knit and the sleeves a simple lighter-weight rib.

I like how the reduced-width sleeves sit a lot; they’re still interesting but sit on my shoulders better and almost give a raglan tee effect, especially in my contrast colourway.

This version feels tighter on the body, both as the bandage knit is firmer and thicker, and I accidentally sewed the body together with one piece wrong side out first and cut off the serging and re-sewed rather than unpicking it.

I’m wearing these with my old Style Arc Joni joggers which are basically my indoor (and sometime outdoor) staples. I wore the colour-blocked one under my Robert dungarees last week which looked great, and I need to try them out with some of my other bottoms to figure out how to wear them in a slightly less pyjama context.

Nenuphar 4, and facing tutorial

I snuck in a Merchant & Mills order just before they shut up shop for a bit: the same cord that I used to make my Philippa pants in a different colour, purchased with exactly this jacket in mind.

It’s my fourth version of the Lysimaque Nenuphar jacket pattern, although the last one pictured above has been sadly misplaced so I’m down to the lilac spring version and the winter coat version (which has seen heavy daily wear all winter). Now the weather’s starting to warm up a bit I fancied a lighter but still cosy version.

I didn’t really make any alterations from the base pattern here other than using a facing to finish the neckline instead of the fiddly pattern method – I’ve included a tutorial below on how to draft and attach this.

This squishy jumbo cord worked really nicely with the pattern and makes the resulting jacket very comfortable. It even works as an indoor sort of overshirt which is convenient given current conditions. I didn’t interface the collar or facings as the cord is quite thick and stable already and I wanted that softer look.

My Pfaff machine handled the bulk and topstitching really nicely. I engaged the walking foot feature for most of the sewing.

Here’s how the facing looks inside and here’s a tutorial!

  1. Draft off the facing pieces from the front and back pattern pieces as shown. On the back, follow the curve of the neckline at a depth of 2-3″. On the front the curve is sort of arbitrary, just make it as smooth as you can, and down the front I’ve used a width of 2″. The yellow line length should be the same for both pieces as this is the seam, mine was about 2 inches.
  2. Cut these out and interface if desired.
  3. Sew the ‘shoulder’ seam of the facings, right sides together, and press seams open. Assemble the jacket’s shoulder seams too.
  4. Prepare the collar pieces together as normal and then baste it in place along the right side of the jacket neckline.
  5. Place the facing unit right-side-down on top of this, sandwiching the collar in the middle. Sew all around the perimeter at a 1cm seam allowance.
  6. Turn the facing to the underside of the jacket, clip curves/corners, and press well into place. Finish the inner raw edge either by overlocking or turning a small hem to the inside. Topstitch along the loose edge to attach it to the jacket shell all around.

Looking forward to wearing this outside again soon!

Isolation-fit: Strathcona & Philippa

I’ve made this entire outfit over the last week: I guess self-isolation was the kick needed to get back into sewing and even my extremely-long-neglected knitting habit. Desperate times…!

The trousers are a second pair of Anna Allen Philippa Pants – first pair here, which I wear an awful lot, so decided to recreate in a different colour of similar fabric – in this case, beautiful Coffee Bean Jumbo Cord from Merchant & Mills.

This fabric has a lot less stretch than my first pair, but I have lost some weight over the last few months, so I cut the same size as before with all my prior adjustments. I had to take in the side seams a little more once constructed to get the close fit I was after. I’m getting similar wrinkles all over the back leg to last time which may mean that a low butt or full back thigh adjustment is needed next time.

Like last time I added a stay into the front and swapped the button fly for a simple zip. I followed Charlie’s recent tutorial for getting a sharp corner on the waistband: I’ve done this so many times now but it’s always good to sense-check your approach with how someone else gets good results, and I like the simple steps she recommends a lot.

The sweater is the famous and much-loved Strathcona by Good Night Day. Fun fact, I used to be an extremely prolific knitter in my early 20s but it really fell by the wayside once I got into sewing – I just don’t have the patience to see a long project through and I’ve eagerly started many sweaters in the interim years only to abandon them partway. However the Strathcona is both super-chunky and very small (thanks to the shrunken fit and 3/4 sleeves) and literally worked up so fast that I didn’t have time to run out of steam once. I had it finished over a week of very casual knitting sessions and it really just worked up in front of my eyes.

I feel like while I still have the basic muscle memory for knitting and can follow instructions with ease, I have lost a lot of finesse with getting good tension and techniques, so the sweater isn’t that amazingly well made. In particular I’m annoyed that the M1 technique I used (the pattern doesn’t give a specific technique) has left uneven lacy holes down the raglan armsyces which I’d prefer would look solid – I’m wearing a black tee underneath here as it looks pretty weird otherwise. I did a pick-up-and-knit-tbl but I think kfb would have been better.

I made the smaller size of the pattern and I like the fit being a bit snugger than how it looks in the pattern photos and on other people. I tried it on regularly (the joys of top-down knitting) to check the body and sleeve length and ended both with a deeper layer of ribbing than in the pattern (12 rows instead of 4). The yarn is Debbie Bliss Roma, a chunky wool/alpaca blend which I bought from LoveCrafts – I only used 4 balls!

The pants are the first project I’ve completely sewn on my new machine by the way – I was lucky enough to get a Pfaff Ambition 630 for my birthday back in January. It coped more than admirably and I will be writing up some more detailed thoughts on the machine soon if you’re interested. Here’s to more isolation-sewing, and maybe even knitting…