Category Archives: Papercut Patterns

Simple does it

Plantain + Anima

This me-made outfit sort of represents where both my clothing preferences and sewing style is at the moment. Plain, basic, classic, capsule style stuff. Might seem boring on the surface, but I’m getting a kick out of sewing simple stuff well and adding really useful staple pieces into my wardrobe.

Plantain + Anima

The tee is a Deer & Doe Plantain, with some small modifications. I raised the neckline to crew/jewel style, cuffed the sleeve, and made a baseball-style curved hem. The fabric’s a lovely heathery knit from Abakhan which is sort of brushed on the underside so it’s really soft and cosy. TBH I find myself wearing this until it starts to smell bad then pulling it out of the wash to wear again immediately.

Plantain + Anima

The pants are hacked Papercut Animas. This pattern for me is one of those super-adaptable TNTs – I’ve made four pairs in different fabrics and they all look totally different. This one’s in a dreamy viscose-mix suiting I got from Brighton’s Fabricland and the simple alteration was to straighten out the leg at the knee rather than the tapered fit as patterned.

Plantain + Anima
Plantain + Anima

I was actually hoping for an even more exaggerated flare/culotte style leg, so I might take this hack a step further and slash-and-spread the pattern from the hip for a future pair. Here’s some of the inspo I found while dreaming these up. (Click through to the post if you’re in a reader, to see the Pinterest pins below.)



Plantain + Anima

I love this outfit: I feel really cool and comfortable in it, had fun sewing it, and I know both garments will get worn to death. I’ve been buying up lots of plain fabrics in nice luxe natural fibres lately to take this principle further.

Waver

Waver jacket

I was itching to get back to my machine after Christmas, particularly to try out some of my new toys (sleeve board! Pressing ham – finally! New pinks and snips and a snazzy pink mini cutting mat!). I wanted a low stakes yet slightly meaty project, so made a wearable toile of the Papercut Waver jacket. In fact it’s a very fast sew as it only took me one day end to end, and it’s wound up being elevated from ‘wearable toile’ to ‘really rather like it, actually’. I like when that happens.

waver

I bought the Waver pattern with the aim of replacing a rather tatty old RTW khaki jacket I’ve had for ages but always seemed to be just right for heading out on semi-slobby, casual days when it’s neither overly warm or cold. Like the Waver it’s got a hood, roomy patch pockets and falls to high hip length, though I cut this one a bit longer: about halfway between the two views of the pattern.

Waver jacket

The pattern was really fun to sew, even with the tiresome chores of interfacing and cutting of linings that coat-making insists on. The pieces all slotted together really nicely: it was fun to make the gusseted hood, see how the neckline facing came together, and try a new method for bagging and finishing the hem. And like I said, it’s fast – I wasn’t rushing but still had it basically done in 5-6 hours over a single day. For a lined coat! There’s lots of handy shortcuts which make it a speedy sew like the simple patch pockets, the front facing being integrated into the main front pattern piece, and easy-set raglan sleeves.

Waver jacket
Waver jacket

I cut a straight size small and I don’t think I’d change much at all on the fit. Like other Papercut patterns it’s on the roomy side so sizing down would give a more fitted look, but with the raglan sleeves and elastic waist it’s supposed to be an easy fit.

Waver jacket

The only thing I struggled with in the construction is that tricky point where the lining, facing and hem meet at the front. You’re supposed to get a nice mitred point but mine was a bit out of whack so I had to do a bit of wiggling and poking to make a neat corner. Suspect a bit of practice and more accuracy will make this a simple and failsafe method for bagging out coats, though. The instructions have you handsew the sleeve hems but I bagged those too while the coat was still inside out. Despite the corner-fudging I think it’s still amongst the more professional-looking garments I’ve made, which is largely down to spending a bit on good quality notions.

Waver jacket

I used a pack of Prym anorak snaps instead of buttons and made a trip to Soho’s Maccullouch and Wallis for the elastic cord and toggles. Pro tips for hammering snaps: buy extras, practice on spare fabric first (you’ll always ruin the first few), and start at the bottom of the coat in case you, um, hammer one on inside out. Which I definitely did. Also I freestyled my positioning, but next time I’ll make sure one is horizontally aligned to the elastic casing as it gapes a bit there when fastened.

Waver jacket
Waver jacket

Amusingly, the notions cost more than the fabrics themselves. The outer is a viscose twill from Abakhan, which is quite lightweight with a tiny bit of crispness and sheen. Once I realised the coat would end up wardrobe-viable I decided to use some delicious Liberty tana lawn to line it. This print’s called Achilles (I have a much-loved knit dress in a different colourway) and I bought it at the same time as the outer fabric in a crazy online Liberty sale that Abakhan had on – it was £7.50 a metre or something. I like that the lining peeks out when the coat is undone or the cuffs are rolled.

waver hack

I’m so pleased with the fit and speed of the Waver that I want to make another one pretty soon, in the full-length view with no hood or elastic, and perhaps attempting to add a notched collar like these inspirations I’ve had pinned for a while. Shouldn’t be so tricky to hack a piece onto the neckline and I’ve got a lovely forest green textured coating in my stash I’ve been wanting to use.

The Rise of the necklines

PB240981

I find it interesting to sometimes ponder on how changing fashion trends influence sewing choices. Do you sew to escape trends, or to make your own rather than subscribe to fast fashion and all the horrors it entails? I’d say it’d be pretty hard (and unfulfilling) to sew a lot of purely trend-based pieces every season – all that time and effort to make something that you wouldn’t wear in a few months! But undeniably I’m inspired to sew certain styles due to influences I see around me. In particular I’m very drawn to the whole 70s revival happening this autumn, leading to sewing dreams tinted in tan and denim, of a-line skirts and jumpsuits, and to kick things off a couple of nice turtlenecks.

Rise turtleneck

This isn’t a style I previously thought I’d touch with a barge pole, considering myself scoop or V neck for life. But I bought a RTW burgundy turtleneck t-shirt in snugly-fitted ribbed knit and it became a wardrobe hit, teamed with my black Gingers, loafers, and a long necklace. Plus what could be cosier now it’s starting to get cold out than a built-in mini scarf? So I bought the Papercut Rise and Fall PDF pattern to whip out a couple of my own.

papercut rise

You could probably self-draft a turtleneck from any t-shirt pattern to be honest (it’s just a high crew neck with a deep neckband), but Papercut’s PDFs are fairly inexpensive so I saved the effort. Plus the pattern actually comprises two views with totally separate PDF files – the Rise is a snugger fit with a turtleneck, and the Fall is a slouchier shape with a polo neck – making it even better value.

Rise turtleneck

I used the Rise in size small here with no fit modifications but a couple of style tweaks: shortening the sleeves, reducing the turtleneck height by about 1cm, and finishing the cuffs and hem with bands instead of hemming (I just really dislike hemming knits and had no matching thread, to be honest, so this was a 100% overlocker project). The fabric is a soft jersey in nice 70s sepia brown that was knocking around in my stash. The fit came out a bit less form-fitting than I was expecting, but I think it works well with this fabric and looks nice blousily tucked in.

Rise turtleneck

I was so pleased with it I wore it all day yesterday, and while sewing up a second one – which I’m wearing today, arf. This time I slimmed the shoulders down to XS as they were a bit wide, cut the sleeves full length, and cropped down the body a few inches to sit on the waistband without needing to be tucked.

Rise turtleneck

Rise turtleneck

This is another stash fabric, a nice soft almost sweater type knit from myfabrics. My camera is really on the blink so apologies for the photo quality, but it’s sort of a sagey green-grey.

Rise turtleneck

Rise turtleneck

I’ve ordered some actual rib knit from Plush Addict to make one more version: I’ll probably size right down next time to get a closer fit like my rtw tee. Right now these are all I want to wear all the time, but I’m also aware that perhaps the fashion will pass and so will my urge to wear them. I hope not though!

Guise Louise

Papercut Guise

Despite already having a TNT pattern for this type of pegged trouser shape (Burda 7017), I bought the Papercut Guise pattern just to see if I’d prefer it. For one reason or another (bad fabric, ruined from over-washing, poor construction) all my 7017s are pretty much out of action these days, so a new pair is definitely needed. I was also intrigued to see how the elasticated back waist of Guise was made and if it had any benefit over a fixed waistband. I made up this wearable toile in cheap poly crepe to test what I thought of it.

Papercut Guise

I don’t hate these or anything, there are just a few fit and style issues that mean I don’t like them as much as the 7017 pattern overall. Size wise I cut a straight S going by the finished measurements. They do fit well but I feel like I’d want to make a series of minor tweaks to make them more like the 7017s. For example the rise falls a bit between mid and high; I think I’d like it an inch higher. Then the waist would be too big so I’d need to take it in… so I’m thinking I should probably just stick with 7017 next time, ha ha.

Papercut Guise

Back view – the elasticated band looks pretty bad when it’s visible (I couldn’t even bear to put up the photo!) so I’d feel like I need to to cover it. Which for me sort of defeats the purpose of high waisted mannish pants as I like to tuck in and show my waist.

Papercut Guise

They’re quite a demanding sew as well for casual pants: there’s thirteen pieces, several of which need to be cut in interfacing too, so the cutting and fusing took an entire unpleasant evening. In the end I wimped out of sewing the welt pockets and belt loops in this non-pressable poly which made it much faster. Anyway, the instructions are good and I followed the given fly directions with a good result. I really like the fit in the legs and the release tucks at the hip.

Papercut Guise

Another styling option where you can see the rise doesn’t hit at my smallest point so isn’t the most flattering. Soooo, I’m sort of of the fence about this pattern and probably won’t be too likely to make it up again. There are a lot of cute Guises out there – Lizzy, Sonja, and Julie – so I think it’s just a case of it not being right for my shape and style. Back to the 7017s for my definitive autumn trousers!

Anima times two

Well hello. Bit of an unintended break there. I was sick for a week (sinusitis turns every little cold into a bed-bound week of hell), then had a trip away with work.

award

Two quite lovely sewing-related things have happened since I last posted – as well as some real sewing, below. First, I had an email (and a tweet from Jen!) to let me know that my lil’ space here has been nominated for a Bloglovin’ 2015 Award. I don’t know if the nominations were reader-voted or internally decided, but either way I can’t help but be extremely flattered and a bit proud. I know awards are always subjective and ultimately don’t mean much, but it’s a lovely boost to be recognised by a platform I use every day. If you’d like to see the other nominees and cast a vote, you can do so here.

Secondly, on that work trip we all had to give a short talk on what we’re passionate about. Guess what I picked, ha ha. Some of my colleagues already knew I sew what I wear nearly every day but some didn’t, and I had such a lovely reaction of admiration and support… plus about ten commission requests and the idea that I should start a ‘sewing for my colleagues’ blog series – we’ll see about that! Anyway it was really nice to share a big part of who I am and get a warm reception, and to find a few more sewing fans to have stitchy conversations with. (Hello if you’re reading!)

Anima pants

Right, on to some actual sewing. So I recently bought the Papercut Anima pants pattern as a PDF. I know, it’s pretty similar to the True Bias Hudsons and I try to reuse patterns rather than buy similar ones, but what made me buy Anima in particular was the faux fly front, which I’d never been able to wrap my head around how to construct.

Anima pants

They’re a quick and simple sew, a gentle single session type of project. The PDF was a manageable printout at around 25 pages and went together easily. I generally sew an S in Papercut but cut the M for these because I’m larger around the hips and wanted them loose. I think the S would’ve given me a closer fit more like the pattern photos – good to know I can just print it off again to try the smaller size sometime.

Anima pants

I sewed them per the instructions with no fit adjustments, except omitting the cuffs and just hemming the legs – I liked the ankle length finish and was hoping to go for a sort of soft tailoring look rather than full-on sweatpant. I’ve just rolled up the cuff a bit here for a peek of the slightly contrast inside.

French terry

The fabric’s a mega lovely French terry kindly sent to me by the newly opened UK arm of online knit fabric specialists Girl Charlee. I’d ordered from the U.S. Girl Charlee site before so was really pleased to see they moved to our shores too – no worries of getting stung by high postage and customs charges. Founder Mark Creasy let me pick a couple of fabrics to try, and this is the modal blend French terry . Ummm, I love this fabric. It’s insanely soft and has beautiful drape. I think it definitely helps these pants to look a cut above sportswear or loungewear – I had the Anima in mind when I ordered it and it was definitely perfect for this project. It comes in Sandalwood brown as well as this Deep Forest shade and it’s just £6.95/m. i’ll definitely be getting some more come the colder weather.

Anima pants

Given the loose fit I reckoned they would work as is in a woven fabric, so I cut a second pair pretty quickly in this gorgeous viscose I got in Chester’s Abakhan store.

Anima pants

I’ve been living in these since I finished them to be honest. They seem to go with all my plain tops (this is another Aster hack in linen) and are so comfortable – great for cycling and nice and light and breezy. I didn’t need to make any fit changes to make them work in a woven. Perhaps if you picked a snugger size you’d want to size up one to make sure they drape well.

Anima pants

I omitted the topstitching and drawstring this time for a smoother waistband. I’d love to try hacking around to make a flat-front waistband sometime too. Nice to have another TNT everyday pattern in the stash!

Halo Sigma

Sigma dress

Yayy, I’ve made something that isn’t jeans! I’ve hardly made any dresses so far this year which is unusual for me, so decided to get back into it by using up a pretty stash fabric and trying a new pattern, the Papercut Sigma.

Sigma dress

I bought the pattern on a whim from Ray Stitch – a bit of an expensive whim at £15. I could/should have self-drafted this rather simple style from my blocks – this frock from December is pretty similar – but fancied some instant gratification without fiddling with dot and cross paper and French curves. The fabric is delicious Atelier Brunette ‘Halo’ viscose bought from M is for Make a while ago. It’s a really nice slightly heavier weight fabric that’s just perfect for dressmaking, and is in my current favourite colours to wear. I cut it all on the cross-grain – the little pebble shapes actually run vertically but I preferred them horizontal.

Sigma dress

I made the size small exactly as patterned and I’m pretty pleased with the fit. I did view 2 with the cute side gathers on the skirt and the sleeves shortened a couple of inches. It’s a bit blousier on the bodice than intended due to my drapey fabric choice, but I like that effect.

Sigma dress

It’s just a bit loose through the shoulders and upper back, but at least that makes it comfortable to move in. Be warned that the skirt is pretty short – I’m shortish and like short skirts and needed to do a baby hem to keep it decent.

Sigma dress

It’s got two elements I’ve tended to avoid for a while – a neck facing and a centre-back invisible zip. I’m slowly warming to both of these things: a facing is admittedly less likely to pucker than a bias finish, and since I’ve actually learned and practiced how to do invisible zips I like them much more than I used to. Always be learnin’.

Sigma dress

I’m really happy with this dress -it was a fun Sunday afternoon sew and the result is a perfect work or dinner-out kind of frock, the kind of which will get a lot of use. To be honest, if I were to make this style again I probably would be less lazy and use my blocks to knock-off the shape in order to address the minor fit issues around the shoulders. Oh well, it was worth buying anyway to fire up my dressmaking desires again and it’s a sweet little one to have in the pile.