Category Archives: Indie patterns

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!

Nenuphar 3, winter coat edition

So to start with some tragic news for this first new year post: I lost my latest Lysimaque Nenuphar jacket at my work’s Christmas party. After less than a month of enjoying it, it got swallowed by a karaoke room and I had no luck with the establishment’s lost property the next day. I’m really quite sad, I loved that jacket. Although at least on the plus side, the fabric was not expensive and it didn’t take too long to make so I’m pretty sure I will whip up a duplicate come spring.

And on another plus side, it gave me a kick to make a coat that’s a bit more appropriate to the current weather… using the very same pattern yet again.

To make the Nenuphar pattern cosy-coat-appropriate, I simply added even more length at the hem (the side seams are completely straight so it really doesn’t matter where the length is added). The total from armsyce to hem is 27″ for this one which is a nice knee length on me.

I adore the huge pockets on this pattern, and like my previous version I placed the baby pockets asymmetrically for some visual interest. The little one perfectly holds my iPhone and the big one holds my iPad – not that I walk around laden with Apple swag, but I’ve definitely loaded them up with assorted groceries when I’ve forgotten a reusable shopper bag.

I used a gorgeous charcoal wool from Woolcrest Textiles, a bargain as ever at £10/m. It’s kinda like a smooth, thick felted texture; the edges don’t unravel at all so I left the seam allowances raw and didn’t turn back the edges on the facings, which saved on bulkiness.

Neckline/placket facing, topstitched down

I decided to rework the collar area by drafting a neckline and button placket facing rather than the tricky way the pattern has you finish the collar by tucking the seam allowances under and aligning the edges perfectly with the top of the button placket – I felt I had no chance getting that neat and tidy in a bulkier fabric. My facing idea worked beautifully and was much easier to sew – it’s topstiched in place all around the neckline and down the fronts to the hem.

The nice marbled buttons are from Liberty: I confess I started wearing the coat before I’d added them (and took the picture above) but that meant I could wear the coat to go and pick the buttons out so I knew they’d match, hah.

Here’s a nice relevant picture of it in front of a tailor’s shop window in Marylebone at the weekend to finish. And I might just add a ‘return to’ address label to the inside so there’s more chance of getting it back if there’s karaoke shenanigans in its future.

Nenuphar, édition d’automne

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…

Trend TPC12 with zip fly mod

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.

Diego-ish

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.

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.)