Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Sew House seven Free Range slacks in linen

I had a vision!  I was meandering through all the local shops and swooning over the linen pants.  Hundreds of dollars for these things. Ridiculous.  They are so simple, and most of them don't even fit very well.  Obviously I needed to make my own.  And conveniently, I had some leftover linen after making my Wiksten haori.  I trawled the internet (I don't know where I used to get ideas about patterns!  Was it Indiesew?  Was it Fiona's monthly round up?  Now I know nothing about what patterns are out there, seriously.  No clue. It's all about just tripping over the right thing, figuratively.)

Anyway I discovered the Sew House Seven Free Range slacks and bought it within minutes.  This was totally what I was looking for.

With measurements of 27-37 I was halfway between a 4 and a 6, but I made this right at the end of winter, before going to Nepal and it seemed wiser to size up than down.  Obviously I'd go down next time.  I took a few days, and went pretty slowly.  The instructions had an annoying feature of not being all lined up, I had to scan up and down looking for the next bit as they tell you to flat fell things and other details about french seaming that I didn't bother with.  I have to say I've found flat felling a waste of time.  It looks bad and it's not, in my opinion, any better than a faux flat fell.  All of my seams were faux flat felled, finished with the overlocker, and topstitched.

I did add the back pockets because I've gotten more sensitive to what makes a garment look like RTW.  And stupid, useless things like back pockets are IT.  But also these pockets make the pants.  They end at the side panels, which are genius, and overall create a really nice style that makes these slacks a bit original.

(I think the word slacks is incorrect.  It refers to something made of polyester, preferably with pleats.  But I can see that these aren't trousers and in some parlance, the word pants is quite funny, so we are out of options, aren't we?)

The front pockets also have self binding which makes them really solid.

The seam allowance jumps around from 3/8 to 5/8 which seems idiotic to me. Just stick to one thing!  There were a few inconsistencies in the instructions but I wrote to the designer and she got back to me very quickly and has updated the pattern as well.

I'm a bit smaller after Nepal and I put these on and thought I was swimming, ugh. But then I didn't take them off for three days. Success!  I might still make the narrow leg version.  Except somehow I got trapped in another tshirt binge oops I really need to not make any more tshirts.














Other things to change: size 4 next time.  Shorten the waistband and the elastic by 1/2 inch, and remove 1" from the crotch height.  As is, it's just a bit ridiculous.  I could stick a chicken in the front of my pants, there's so much room.  Luckily it's basically summer here in Gisborne (known for what people call "good summer weather" which apparently means hot early and then even hotter) and I don't really care as it's good for ventilation. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Closet Case Patterns Ebony raglan sleeved top

I started my ebony journey with the raglan sleeved, tunic length tee.
It was super easy make, in size 2. The fit is perfect.  It's a bit long - really tunic length on me. My measurements are 33-27-37 and I have a really short waist, though I'm 165 cm tall.






I was going to make more of these, and try out the other cut, but in truth I don't need any more knit tops right now and despite that I'm making some other ones from old favourite patterns.  I do really like the higher neck for summer - I feel like the sun hits me straight on the chest at all times.  I might make a patterned version later in the summer when I am trying to match it to my wardrobe, but for now, one was enough.  Simple and good!


Monday, 2 December 2019

Cali Faye Hampshire pants x 2

It's long been on my list to make these pants again, sizing down.
I made an XXS this time - down from an S.

The model in the photos wears an S, has my measurements, and yet the pants fit her. When I made my first pair (here) they fell off me and were dangerous to wear in public for that reason.

This fabric is a most delicious shade of terra cotta, stretch corduroy. Unfortunately the piece on etsy was 70 cm long, and the piece I measured after washing was 61 cm long.  So I made do and cut them as long as the fabric allowed - I'll have some great long shorts for summer (and conveniently enough, summer is on its way).  I recall liking the instructions for the fly, and now I have to say after making Persephone pants this fly didn't seem quite as great.  I sewed the crotch, and then cut into the seam allowance to fold that SA over separate from the fly.  Seems like I also um sewed the fly shut but anyway that was fixed rapidly enough.  I overlocked everything and didn't do any french seams.  I'm sure when the novelty of the overlocker wears off I'll be french seaming stuff again but I'm not there yet.

I couldn't sew the buttonhole in Arizona, so these fell into the black hole of travelling luggage and emerged in time for summer.  I managed to get a buttonhole into them because I've learnt how to use a bartack to just sew my own buttonhole.  Trying them on for these photos I think I will hem the bottoms because they end awkwardly right at my knees.  The pockets gape a LOT but these feel luxurious!  They are a bit stretchy and the pocket bags are silk noil. 








In the meantime I thought the fit was fine, so I cut into my secret sweatpants material - from Miss Matabi on etsy, this was described as sweatshirting, with a hard exterior, like it's painted on, and with no stretch. After a full wash and dry cycle, the material does have a (very) little stretch and although the blue exterior is smooth, it's not hard or boardlike. I would maybe have benefited from raising the mid-back a bit where it dips towards my bum, and what I did do was a kind of on-the-fly quadriceps enlargement - I just pulled the pages of my taped pattern apart to add some room in the front of the thighs. I thought that might make the pockets pull less. Plus my massive muscular thighs always benefit from extra space.







The fabric really does have some give and these now match the photos of the designer, despite sizing down 2 sizes from the recommended chart. And excuse me from totally reusing photos of a tank top I have talked about elsewhere, I reckoned after so much effort the pants deserved their own post! This fabric has a fluffy inside which sheds onto everything, but they are otherwise really lovely and cozy.

The side pockets of these stick out quite a bit, and now that I've made them a few times, I'd probably stick with XS in future but I think in the meantime I'll look for pants with more flattering front pockets.  Oddly enough, my very first pair, oversized as they are, remain among my favourites...



Sunday, 13 October 2019

Wiksten Haori: the middle aged lady uniform?

I spent the entire winter debating whether to make a Sapporo coat for myself. My previous Sapporos have been sad things, best given away and enjoyed by others (here). At no point did I set myself up with success, using a fabric that I might actually want to wear.  I had perused all online Sapporos at length, and was considering shortening the pattern.

I thought of making other coats.
Winter basically came to an end. And I discovered the Wiksten Haori.  Shapeless things like this don't catch my eye initially, but it's been made in some heavier weight fabrics and the pattern's simplicity lends itself to easy and rapid coat making (like if you have a dodgy fabric, or want a coat Right Now!).  I became totally obsessed and started trying to figure out what fabric to use.  I spent over a month debating and considering fabrics, and finally basically gave up, when I found this combination in Auckland at The Fabric Store.  This was it!  The exterior is heavyweight linen and the lining is Marc Jacobs silk twill.

I dithered over the size but went for the XS instead of sizing down. Mid-length.

The making is easy.  I didn't trim my neckline prior to enclosing it, so I have hairy silk bits sticking out that will hopefully eventually vanish in the wash.  With precision ironing I was happy with the hem and everything matched up reasonably well, considering that I didn't pin the silk when I cut it and it shifted like mad.  (Why did I think silk twill was well behaved?)

I do think that the pockets are better not lined with lining fabric.  I had considered this ahead of time and accepted that colourful bits would stick out on the edges, and I think overall it's more professional without that.  I would probably do something different with the pockets next time around, either just not lining them, or lining them with a very stable matching fabric that wouldn't show.












It fits, it's substantial, comfortable and I love the cozy neck.  I actually would consider making this from one of my many coatings lurking about.  I didn't interface the neckband and that makes it floppy, which is what I was going for. 

However, really, is this the middle aged lady uniform?  Do I need to accept my status as a crazy middle aged lady?  I'm about to make matching pants with the leftover linen.  Will that really be too much?  

Friday, 11 October 2019

Maynard Dress by Elbe Textiles


I decided to dive in with my first version of this dress and use some Liberty yardage that has been sitting around for so long.  I planned to make this for a friend because I am short and I expected to need to shorten the pattern for myself, but I wanted to try it out just as the pattern was meant to be before modifying.

I made a Size B. I think size C matches my measurements a bit better but I expected to be pretty overwhelmed in this dress with so much in the way of crisp folds, and so I sized down.

I was very excited about the Maynard when it came out - cool concept!  Interesting design lines!  For some reason I wasn't that excited anymore when I cut it out - which I did awhile ago in a free moment.  My lack of enthusiasm persisted and means that the process dragged on.

It is not difficult to follow the instructions but because you have no idea what happens next it requires concentration (or is a constant surprise!)  It is important to use fabric that will behave with a double fold hem, as each piece is basically hemmed all the way round prior to uniting them.

The waist straps are cut out of the sides of the yardage, and as my fabric was EXACTLY the width required by the pattern, the selvedge included a frayed edge which wasn't very solid.  No way could I turn loops made from this right side out.  I did two of them like jeans belt loops, with one side overlocked and folded over the raw edge.  I used two random other scraps for the inside two pieces.

I was a bit confused with overlapping the fronts over the backs because you are told to use the same stitch lines as before, and that seems to be a big overlap (of more than a cm.) I ended up just stitching kind of randomly because my fabric is pretty busy!

I skipped the pockets, not because I dislike them, but because after trying this on it was a total no-go.  It seems too large in all ways.  The straps are tied at the very limits of as tight as they can go.  I should do the shoulder adjustment using pieces of the pockets to add a part to the shoulder - that would help the shoulders sit better, but the waist is loose, the top overwhelms me and the right side pleat poufs out in a funny way.  I feel very thoroughly wrapped up, but I honestly wouldn't wear this dress.








I'm sending it over to my friend Tessa to see if it fits her better - she's been very curious to see how the pattern went! Chalk this one up as an interesting experiment.