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…

4 thoughts on “Isolation-fit: Strathcona & Philippa

  1. Avatardiyang

    Hi! Your makes are lovely.

    I have a few questions about the sweater, since I’m interested in making it myself. I love how pleasingly solid your fabric is — it looks like a tighter gauge than most. Did you find that you had a tighter gauge than the pattern recommended? Also, it’s hard to tell with the dark color, but it looks like the collar is folded up on your neck. Would you recommend making the collar wider and shallower?

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thanks! Actually the knit isn’t all that dense, perhaps it looks so because I’m wearing the same colour t-shirt underneath. I used the needle sizes recommended and I’m quite a loose knitter. It would be quite easy to size down needles or up yarn weight to make a firmer knit and calculate stitches to add or remove to make it fit as the pattern is so simple. And yeah I’m getting a little fold at the base of the neck but it’s not completely folded on itself. I’d actually make the rib section longer next time to get more of the funnel neck effect and yes I’d probably make the larger size as I think it’s pulling outwards a bit.

  2. AvatarLia

    You continue to be the trousers queen. Have you compared these to other rigid fabric jeans-style patterns? I’ve been shopping around, but I feel like your opinion gets x5 weight! This outfit is lovely, it looks cozy and elegant.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I haven’t done a lot of comparison to be honest as I don’t love rigid clothing as a rule – the soft cord makes these bearable. Though I’d quite like to try some jeans out of the Philippa pattern!

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