Top 5 of 2016: Goals for 2017

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a lovely New Year’s Eve. Me and Aled went to my mum’s and we had a good old fashioned fondue (an oil one, where you deep fry meat and vegetables, not a cheese one) and some drinks and silly games.

We had Guess Who crackers for Christmas and my mum is now slightly obsessed with Guess Who so mainly that and charades – which I hate. But my nan was hilarious. She wanted to play but then couldn’t do any of her goes so she just kept having hysterical laughing fits and my mum did hers as well as her own.

But anyway I’m waffling. Let’s talk goals.

1. Stashbust!

I seriously seriously need to reduce the stash this year. It is getting seriously out of control and I don’t have the space for it all. It’s taken over my whole sewing room and it’s now spreading throughout the house. I had to put it back into the sewing room because we were having guests over Christmas and there isn’t room for both me and it in there so I simply have to use it this year. I am a spreadsheet nerd so I’ve got a spreadsheet of my fabric (though I’m sure there’s some I’ve missed) and I have 133.8 metres of fabric over 67 different fabrics. That’s appalling isn’t it? That’s enough fabric to not need to buy any for 2 years.

2. Make a shirt

I’ve got a few shirt patterns now and I want to dig in and actually get some made. My most recent purchase is the Sewaholic Granville shirt because I love all of Hila from Saturday Night Stitch‘s versions and it has a proper tower sleeve placket thingy, which I want to have a go at.

So I’ve now got a little stash of shirt patterns* and I don’t know whether to work through them in order of complexity or just dive straight in to a hard one. I’ll probably start with the Alex shirtdress as I’ve got some lovely plum viscose earmarked for it and I put it on my #2017makenine on instagram.

*My collection:

3. Become a wrinkle whisperer

I want to be able to read fabric and diagnose fit problems. I got Fitting and Pattern Alteration for Christmas from my mum (by request, she’s not that good at guessing) and just from flicking through I think it is going to be oh so helpful. It goes through 88 body quirks, how to diagnose them and how to alter a pattern for them. My problems seem to boil down to my “slumped” posture.

4. Jeans!

This is next up on the list. I think with jeans and trousers in general you seen to benefit from making a load of them in a row, ironing out a different little fitting quirk each time. So that’s what I’m hoping to do in January. Or Jeanuary if you will? Who’s up for joining me? We can make it a hashtag.

5. Sew something with silk

I want to start challenging myself with trickier fabrics. I’ve been sewing slippery fabrics like viscose and poly crepe de chine for ages so I don’t know why I’m so scared of silk. Probably the price tag. Fiona from Diary of Chain Stitcher and Lauren of Lladybird sew with silk a lot and their makes always look amazing. Even if it’s just something as simple as scout tee, silk elevates it. So at some point this year I want to buy some silk. I’m thinking sandwashed silk but I don’t really know anything about silk so I’m open to suggestions. As well as recommendations of where to buy it.

So that’s my five but I did just think of a teeny supplementary one of learning how to maintain my sewing machine after seeing someone on instagram mention giving theirs a DIY service.

Here’s to a productive and fun year of sewing! 

Top 5 of 2016: 2016’s goals and reflections

I’m combining posts today to squeeze them into this year and so I can post 2017’s goals tomorrow. Not that looking back at 2016’s goals is an official Top 5 post but I like to do it.

Looking back at this year’s goals

I’m just going to put the headings here but you can read more about this year’s goals here if you like.

1. Make trousers

Sort of. I’ve made 3 pairs of trousers but none of the type that I’d intended to make. I’d wanted to make some slim fitting skinny jean type trousers to wear to work and got stuck at the fitting stage of both Ginger jeans and Ultimate Trousers. Here’s what I did make though:

Sneak peak – we were both looking at different photographers

2. Make time for sewing

I’ve definitely sewn more this year so we’ll count this one as a success. Other things have definitely been neglected though and I haven’t exercised as much as I’d like. I’m in awe of people who manage to fit everything in. It’s probably because I go to bed too early. 10 o’clock on the dot, I’m in bed.

3. Stop buying fabric

Big time no. I failed this one so dismally. I kept track in a spreadsheet and I bought 87 metres of fabric this year and used 60 metres of fabric so I’ve increased the stash by 27 metres when I really need to be decreasing it. My sewing room is very small and I don’t have the storage space for such a huge stash. Plus what good is it doing sitting in boxes?

4. Hackity hack

I’ve made quite a few hacks and pattern love children this year:

5. Join in more

Yes! I’ve managed this one. I went to a real life meet-up! In Cambridge no less, which is about 250 miles away from where I live. I’ve taken part in photo challenges and tried to comment on blogs more but I can still do better with that. Making my YouTube channel more active this year has definitely led to more interaction with other sewing peeps, which has been really lovely. More of that in 2017!

Reflections

Time for the navel gazing!

1. I need to make things tighter

This is a big one. The advice on patterns is always to choose the bigger size if you’re in between sizes but I’ve started to notice that that leads to things being a little bit too big. I guess I’m used to wearing RTW with less ease built in? Who knows. Something to bear in mind when choosing pattern sizes next year.

2. I quite like watching things while I sew

Nothing earth shattering here but I did quite a bit of sewing with a TV show on the laptop or iPad this year and I quite enjoyed it. I don’t think it’ll replace the radio or podcasts for me but it made a nice change. I watched most of iZombie while sewing, the new Gilmore Girls episodes (still have the last one to go though) and Home Alone while making Christmas presents. I’m open to suggestions for things that are good but don’t need full attention. I mainly like silly things. I was thinking maybe Love, or Orphan Black but I don’t know if they need to be properly watched.

3. Cut out multiple projects

Whenever I take the time to cut out a couple of projects in advance I always feel like I whizz through the sewing and feel so productive. Especially if they’re things that I can use the same colour thread for. I’ve got two projects using the same mustard jersey cut out waiting to be sewn up. And I’ve still got just under two metres of it left so I’m hoping to get another cardigan and maybe a tee cut out and then I’ll have a mammoth mustard sewing session in the new year.

4. Comparison is the thief of joy

I’m a bugger for comparing myself to other people and finding myself lacking. Whether it’s their productivity, fitting or just general skills. And I need to cut it out. We’re all on our own journey and other people being faster or better at sewing than me doesn’t affect my sewing in the slightest.

5. Perfection is the enemy of good

I’m just going for it with the twee expressions this year. Basically what I mean is that waiting to be “good enough” to use the good fabric is dumb. *Glances at the sloth and dinosaur fabric*  And so is obsessing over crotch wrinkles that you wouldn’t give a second thought to in RTW jeans. *Pointed look to the Gingers that have been on hold since March* Having something finished is better than having fabric sitting in a drawer bringing no one any joy.

So those are the some of the things I’ve learned in 2016, as well as specific fitting issues I’ve started to work out – basically I have terrible posture and need to do more yoga or pilates in 2017. Hope you all have a lovely New Year’s Eve, thank you all for the support and kind words in 2016 and I’ll see you again in 2017.

Top 5 of 2016: misses

My brain seems to be in holiday/powersaving mode as I completely forgot to say anything about the Top 5 lists and link to Gillian’s blog in my last post. Here’s her post explaining it. But basically it is as it sounds, a series of posts on sewing hits, misses, reflections, goals and non-sewing highlights. I tend to do them all but you can do as many or few as you want.

Right, lets dive into the misses shall we?

Black and grey Datura

I’ve banged on about this failure a few times before so it’s probably not a surprise to see it here. Difficult fabric leading to some bad sewing and possibly the wrong size means I haven’t worn it except for photos. Such a shame because I love the colours and style of it. The fabric feels lovely too, it’s a dreadful creaser though.

Southport dress

I feel mean putting this one in because there’s nothing wrong with it, I’ve just barely worn it. Entirely the slit’s fault. I tend to avoid shaving my legs (I prefer the torture that is epilating) and that’s one of the reasons I like maxi things – still nice and cool when I’m a bit fuzzy. The slit negates that benefit so I hardly wore it.

I’ve used the Southport dress in three pattern hacks though so the pattern is definitely a hit, it’s just this version that isn’t.

Carrie trousers

These just aren’t something I feel comfortable in. I knew they were a risk as they’re well out of my usual style comfort zone. I struggle to know what to wear with them and I don’t really like the elastic at the side/front, it pulls weird and I’d rather it ended at the side seams and the whole front was flat.

Green New Look 6217 tee

This is the only photo I have of it, but it’s in this video if want a better look.

I haven’t blogged this one yet because it’s sat in the sewing room awaiting repair. Which is the main reason it’s a miss really. The first time I washed it the hem frayed horribly so I need to redo it and I haven’t been bothered yet because I’m so lazy with fixing things – always distracted by the new and shiny.

And I can’t pick a 5th. I’ve only worn my (unblogged) Sew Over It Doris dress once but I wouldn’t call it a miss, it was made for a night out and it was a big success. I haven’t worn my other Datura blouse that much either because it’s still waiting for me to sew the buttons on the back but I wouldn’t call that a miss either. There are few toiles and WIPs sitting in the sewing room too, which is the biggest kind of miss really as there’s nothing to show for the work.

I definitely think struggling to choose a Top 5 misses is a good sign though. Hopefully it means my sewing is improving. Plus nothing is a true miss is it? We learn something with every success and probably even more with every failure.

Top 5 of 2016: hits

Hey dudes! How are you all? Hope you had a lovely Christmas or any other festivity you celebrate at this time of year. Our Christmas was lovely. It’s become our tradition that my mum and nan come to us for Christmas dinner and we go to Aled’s parents’ for Boxing Day. We’ve done some high quality lounging since then, including starting watching Trollhunters* on Netflix and eating some excellent leftover sandwiches.

*I get very emotionally invested in cartoons.

Anyway, it’s Top 5 time again. How does it get here so quickly? I’ve started a bit late this year and will run out of days in 2016. So let’s get started.

5. Seamwork magazine Oslo cardigan

This one has been chosen based on just how much I’ve worn it. I reach for it all the time because it’s cosy and I seem to believe that green goes with everything.

4. Newport maxi dress hack

I wasn’t sure whether to include this one because I made it so close to the end of the summer I haven’t actually worn worn it that much but I was still really happy with how it turned out and I know I’ll wear it a lot next spring and summer.

3. Floral viscose Grainline Scout tee

Grainline Scout tee

I have worn this a lot and I really need to get round to making some more. I really love my off the shoulder hack version I made this year too (pictured below) and once I’ve tweaked it a bit I hope to make more of them next year as well.

2. Wedding Cambie

cambie-dress

While this isn’t something I’ll get a lot of wear out of I really really like it and I’m very proud of it. I think it fits great and I learnt new techniques while I was making it. It’s definitely one of my favourite things I’ve made so far.

And the winner is…

1. Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes

winslow-culottes

I love love love my Helen’s Closet Winslow palazzo pants. I wore them loads over the summer (and got loads of compliments every time I did). It’s a fab, quick and versatile pattern. I made another pair of the palazzo pant length to wear to a wedding at the beginning of December and I’ve got a shorts version cut out and waiting to be sewn up.

So that’s my hits for the year. Here’s to lots more in 2016. I’ll be back tomorrow with the misses.

New Look 6096 and Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

It’s another bumper two for the price of one post today after another longish gap. Sorry, I’m rubbish. Life and work are really hectic at the moment so I haven’t been finding the time and energy to blog or even sew much to be honest. I’m having a bit of a knitting phase at the moment instead. I’m about half way through the body of this jumper but without stripes.

Today’s post is about sewing though. I took these photos over a month ago now, I went for a dog walk with my mum and we stopped for photos whenever we thought the backdrop looked autumnal and pretty.

New Look 6096

First we have New Look 6096. I’ve made this as a maxi dress before for myself and as a short version for my Nan. My maxi dress gets worn a lot in the spring and summer so I’ve wanted a shorter version for a while but I finally got round to it (umm, in August).

nl6096-dress

I didn’t really change anything from the first time I made it for myself and it’s a straight size 10 but shortened slightly (perhaps a little too much). I mostly used French seams except for a couple that I overlocked.

new-look-6096-collage

There’s not a lot to say about the dress as it’s pretty simple so this is probably going to be a more photos than text kinda post. Especially as I’m full of cold so my brain is a bit fuzzy and I’m not so hot with the words.

new-look-6096-dress

new-look-6096

The details

Pattern: New Look 6096 View A

Measurements: I haven’t checked these in a while so they may not be entirely accurate as I’ve been digging into the office treats with abandon but last time I checked they were: Bust – 38″ Waist 30.5″ Hips 39″

Size made: 10

Alterations: I took quite a bit off the length but I couldn’t tell you how much sorry, probably at least 4″ though.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide viscose (but only just, there’s a bit of selvedge in the skirt seam)

Another version?

Probably yep, unless I’m forever distracted by the new and the shiny.

Any changes next time?

I might try to narrow the neckline and bring the shoulders in a bit, they sit quite wide at the moment.

Final Thoughts

It’s a comfy dress and I like it even though it makes me look a little bit pregnant.

Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

I’ve had a Seamwork subscription for aaages and I made the Manfriend a Paxson sweater last Christmas but this is the first of their patterns I’ve got round to making for myself. It’s a bit of a funny one because I’ve worn it loads since I made it but I’m still not sure how much I actually like it.

olso-cardigan

seamwork-cardigan

oslo-cardigan-closed

I love the colour of the fabric I used. It’s a polyester sweater knit kinda thing and it’s soft and lovely. It dries really quickly too which is good during winter when it’s difficult to get washing dry.

Being a Seamwork pattern, it was a nice speedy sew, almost entirely sewn on the overlocker. I did have to go over a couple of bits again though where I’d cut my notches a bit too big so I had teeny holes – I need to be more careful with notches.

seamwork-oslo-cardigan

seamwork-oslo

olso-cardigan-back

The details

Pattern: Seamwork magazine Oslo cardigan

Measurements: Bust – 38″ Waist 30.5″ Hips 39″

Size made: Small for shoulders, armhole, sleeves, and collar grading out to a Medium from the bust down.

Alterations: I shortened the cuffs by about 3″

Fabric used: Just shy of 2 metres of 150cm wide “wool type knit” from the Textile Centre.

Another version?

Yes I think so, unless I find a different cardigan I like more.

Any changes next time? 

Yes, I’m going to size down I think.

Any tips or advice

There is an error in the instructions for the cuffs (at least there is in my version, I don’t know if it’s since been corrected). It says to match the short edges of the cuffs and stitch but it is the long edge you need to stitch. That one had me second guessing myself for a while. Especially as I had shortened the cuffs so the long and short sides weren’t that different.

They say to go for the size up if you’re in between sizes but I think I’d probably say the opposite. My measurements put me at the upper end of the medium and I could quite happily wear the small. But then I suppose that depends on the look you’re after, I like big and cosy but don’t want to feel swamped in fabric.

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I reach for my Oslo all the time so I must like it, I think it’s just slightly baggier than all the cardigans I’ve ever bought myself so it feels not quite right. Looking at the RTW cardi I have on right now I think it might be the fit of the sleeves that bother me as most of my shop bought cardigans are definitely slimmer fitting on the arms.

Have you ever finished something and not been sure if you actually like it or am I being a weirdo?

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

I’ve got a bumper two in one post for you today so apologies if it gets a bit long. The manfriend’s brother got married last month so I wanted a pretty dress to wear to the wedding. It was a gay wedding so I hoped to be able to make a dress made out of this incredible rainbow and unicorn fabric:

rainbow and unicorn fabric

But unfortunately it was a classy and respectable wedding so it was vetoed and I went for some less extravagant floral stretch cotton sateen instead. I still really need to own a dress made out of that unicorn fabric though.

I used the Sewaholic Cambie dress pattern but with a circle skirt and here is the dress in action in the stunning gardens of their wedding venue. (Sidenote: if you’re looking for somewhere to get married in Shropshire, The Hundred House Hotel is beautiful.)

sewaholic-cambie-dress-at-wedding

But before I tell you about the dress I have a top version to share. I worked hard on the fit of this dress. First making a rough toile and then a wearable toile peplum top.

cambie peplum top

My first toile had fit fairly well except for a lot of extra length in the front strap/sleeve bit and a gapey neckline, front and back. So I shortened the strap by 1″ and set to work on my pattern for the gape. The back was easy enough – I just cut a line front where it gaped to the back armhole and overlapped to get rid of the gape. But the front was a bit of a headscratcher and I ended up butchering my front bodice pattern piece so much that I had to retrace it. It was then that I noticed that my toile seemed to have stretched out of shape quite badly, with the sides being much longer than they should have been. The darts were also slightly too wide for me.

That gave me the idea of cutting 3/8″ off the centre front and adding it onto the side seam instead. So I gave that a go and I also stabilised the front neckline with twill tape to prevent it stretching out again. I used this tutorial from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.

cambie-top-back-and-side

My adjustments worked pretty well but the back neckline was still a bit gapey and there was a little bit of fabric pooling at my lower back. So I increased the neckline overlap and did a slightly overzealous swayback adjustment. Then cracked on with my dress.

sewaholic-cambie-dress-with-circle-skirt

Which I am super super happy with. I used the free Veronika skirt pattern from Megan Nielsen for the skirt part because the last time I tried to draft a circle skirt it went horribly wrong so I didn’t want to risk it. And fortunately the size 8 of the Cambie dress and the size M of the Veronika skirt had the same finished measurement of 30¼”. Of course that wasn’t leaving me with any ease whatsoever but I figured that the stretch in the fabric would cover that or I could use smaller seam allowances if I needed to. Luckily I was right and it fit great, without even needing to fiddle with the seam allowances. Hurrah for stretch cotton! It even coped with the amount of food and booze I threw at it.

sewaholic-cambie-dress

In terms of construction the dress is the same as the top. I again moved the zip to the side and stabilised the neckline with twill tape. I also did a horsehair braid hem to give the skirt a bit of weight and floof without having to wear a petticoat. It was not fun to handstitch.

cambie-dress-back-and-side

There’s not a lot else to say about it really so I’ll just bombard you with a few more photos and then leave you with the details.

cambie-dress

sewaholic-cambie

cambie-at-wedding

The details

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress with a Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt

Measurements: Bust 37.5″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ — Height 5’2″

Size made: 8 (dress) and M (skirt)

Alterations:

  • Moved the zip to the side
  • I shortened the sleeve pieces by 1″
  • Took 3/8″ off the centre front and added it onto the side
  • Overlapped the back neckline by about 3/4″ to remove some gape
  • A swayback adjustment (not sure by how much as I think I eyeballed it)

Fabric used: Just over 2m of 150cm wide stretch cotton sateen.

Another version?

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with this pattern now.

Any changes next time?

I want to use a non stretch cotton next time so I’ll probably have to use teeny tiny seam allowances or add a bit of extra room when I cut out. The darts possibly need shortening a smidge too. And I think I may also bring the centre of the sweetheart neckline down slightly as I lost some of the shape by cutting a bit off the centre. I’ll probably put a pleated skirt on it next time too. So just a few changes…

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. The fabric is gorgeous, it fits well and is perfect for twirling in.

spinning-cambie

New Look 6217 / Southport Dress Lovechild

Well that little blogging roll ground to a screeching halt didn’t it?

Sorry about that. I have actually got five finished garments to show you, I’ve just been really rubbish at photographing them. I went to my mum’s for a bumper photography session last sunday but completely forgot three things. Perhaps I should get one of the pop up tents they used on the Sew Over It City Break photo shoot and do a location shoot somewhere prettier for the rest of them!

new-look-6217-dress-hack

Anyway, today I’ve got a pattern hack to show you. Back in the middle of September it suddenly got really warm again for a couple of days so I frantically sewed a last minute maxi dress. It’s the lovechild of a New Look 6217 tee and a True Bias Southport dress, which I have been calling a Newport dress because it amuses me.

newport-dress-collage

To make it I put the Southport dress bodice under some tracing paper and traced off the centre front line (but extended up), waist seam and a smidge of the side seam and I marked where the shoulder was. Then I put the New Look 6217 under and lined up the shoulder and sort of the side seam (I overlapped the centre front a bit to make the neckline opening smaller and the top a slightly slimmer fit than a 6217), then traced off the neckline, sleeve bits and side seam blending into the traced Southport side seam. Hopefully that makes sense.

southport dress new look 6217 hack

Oh and I also added a bit more flare to the skirt. I was going to do it properly slash and spread the skirt in a few places but as I was trying to get the dress finished quickly I just pivoted the skirt pieces out when I was cutting out. I cut the front on the fold to omit the slit. I totally forgot that I still need to shorten the skirt and ended up taking an inch off the hem. It’s still a bit long but it’ll do.

true-bias-southport-hack-collage
I know I look derpy but I liked the photo anyway

I also didn’t do a drawstring like on the Southport dress and made an elastic channel out of the waist seam instead. The seams are overlocked instead of French seamed this time to save time.

The fabric is some viscose that I bought from Regency Rags on eBay about a year ago after seeing Marie from A Stitching Odyssey post a picture of it. I think I’ve got just shy of a metre left and some big scraps so I expect I might make a top out of what’s left.

true-bias-southport-hack-max
Best Max cameo I could get

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress and New Look 6217

Measurements: Bust 37″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ — Height 5’2″

Size made: Size 6 Southport skirt with the New Look 6217 hacked to fit

Alterations: I’ve tweaked the fit of New Look 6217 a little bit every time I’ve made it so it’s hard to remember where I’m at with changes. I’ve done all sorts of shoulder shenanigans basically. You can see the details in previous posts about the top plus a small swayback adjustment. For the Southport skirt part it’s just been shortened a lot – about 4″ – and pivoted to add some more fullness to the hem.

Fabric used: Around 2.25m of 150cm wide though there was probably a more economical way from cutting as I ended up with some big scraps.

Another version? 

Yes. I want to make a shorter version.

Any changes next time?

The shoulders slip back a lot so I need to do something but I don’t know what. I’ve been looking into it and things I’ve read say that the back armhole needs more room. Does that seem right?

Non-clueless versions

Kerry from Kestrel Makes used the same fabric to make a very similar dress with a vintage pattern. She has also made two New Look 6217 dresses.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this dress. It’s really comfy and floaty, perfect for that sort of inbetween weather in spring or late summer (and apparently early autumn too these days). It’d be a nice one for holiday evening outfits too. I’m definitely going to make a shorter one to team with tights and a cardi now or bare legs in warmer weather.

Anyway, that’s it from me. Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and I’ll try not to leave it another 8 weeks before blogging again.

Sew Over It Carrie Trousers

Sew Over It is another one of those pattern companies, like Deer and Doe where I really like their patterns but don’t have that many. I didn’t have any until recently when Doris was released and I fell head over heels and snapped her up. Then not long after they released their their new online course: The Ultimate Guide to Sewing and Fitting Trousers and I found the introductory discount too hard to resist and bought that too.

You get two trouser patterns with the course: the Carrie trousers and Ultimate trousers. And here is my first (and only so far) pair of Carrie trousers.

sew over it carrie trousers
I don’t know what I’m doing here but I liked it

These trousers are way out of my typical style comfort zone but this type of trouser seems to be popular at the moment and I liked it on other people so I wanted to try it. I liked the fact that they have a flat waistband at the front and elasticated at the back (and sides) as I’d just stolen a pair of shorts from my mum that had a flat front and elasticated back and I really like them.

sew over it carrie trousers montage

The fabric I used is some super cheap viscose I got from eBay. The listing called the fabric navy and grey but the flowers very definitely look cream to me. I didn’t pay enough attention to the layplan when I was cutting out and was about 3″ short of fabric. Always pay attention to the layplan kids! I had to order another metre to finish them.

carrie trousers back and side

I wasn’t really that keen on the trousers on me once I’d finished them. They’re super comfortable and I like wearing them but I felt weird in the baggy leg. I’d pretty much resigned them to lounge wear – I normally just slob about in my PJs so it was quite nice to be comfy but actually dressed – but I think they have shrunk slightly in the wash (even though I prewashed my fabric) and now I like them much better.

carrie trousers heels

I think they look good with these shoes. It’s such a shame that they are the most evil foot eating shoes known to man.

In terms of construction I followed along with the online course and mainly did what I was told except I french seamed everything because my overlocker was still in hospital. And I just like French seams.

sew over it carrie trousers heels

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Carrie Trousers from the Sewing and Fitting Trousers online course.

The pattern isn’t available separately but I just found this Simplicity one (1887), which is very similar but with a wider leg.

Measurements: We’ll say 30.5″ waist and 40″ hips, which I suspect is a lie and you could add a bit on but I haven’t measured myself in a little while and have been eating a lot of sweets. Height is still 5’2″

Size made: 12

Alterations: Shortened by 2″ at the lengthen/shorten line.

Fabric used: Thanks to my cutting mishap 3m of navy and cream floral viscose from eBay.

Another version? 

Probably but I don’t know how soon. We’re rapidly running out of summer and I still have a vast to be sewn list so I probably shouldn’t be adding a summery trouser to it.

Any changes next time?

I did think I’d probably cut the size 10 leg next time for a slightly closer fit though but then this pair shrunk and confused me. I’d hate to do it and then have another shrinking pair, which end up not fitting. Though this pair was made out of really cheap viscose so I suppose it was to be expected.

Non-clueless versions: 

Final Thoughts

I’ve definitely warmed to my Carrie trousers and they’ve got me wanting to try more trousers that shape. I’d always quite fancied the Sew Over It Cigarette Pants class but it takes place in the evening over three weeks so that rules it out. If it was a weekend I could make a trip of it but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if they release it as a pattern. Or if you know of a similar pattern I’d love any suggestions.

Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes

As soon as I saw Helen start posting samples of the different versions of her Winslow Culottes I knew I wanted them. I even nearly signed up to pattern test them, which isn’t something I normally do as I don’t sew quick enough and I don’t know that I’d be that good at giving useful feedback. It was view D, the maxi version that stole my heart though.

winslow culottes

It was a lovely evening last night so I grabbed the manfriend and my camera and we went for a blog photo taking stroll. I’ve professed my love for maxi skirts and dresses every time I sew one and what appealed to me so much about the Winslow culottes is that you get the look of a skirt (in my case maxi) but the comfort of trousers. Be gone evil Summer inner thigh chub rub!

winslow culottes show legs

The culottes sit on your natural waist with a straight waistband, have two box pleats front and back and side seam pockets. I left the pockets off because I don’t like them so this was a super quick sew, even for a slowcoach like me.

It’s a PDF pattern and a maxi pattern usually takes a lot of paper and assembling but something I really liked about this pattern is that Helen gives you instructions for what pages to print for different views. Because they have a straight leg you can print view B and then just draw straight down on your fabric for how long you want your culottes. I still managed to make mine too long and had to cut 4″ off before hemming.

I think it’s because the crotch hangs slightly too low on me. It’s not noticeable to anyone but me and I don’t think you want the crotch seam all up in your business in a style like this but I will shorten the depth before my next version. I should have thought about it beforehand as I am petite.

winslow culottes back

The fabric I used was a bargain from The Textile Centre at £3.99/metre. It’s viscose but slightly heavier weight than most of the viscose I’ve used before, which I think worked well for this pattern. They’re still nicely swishy but I feel safe from my knickers showing through.

Here’s a close-up of the print, it’s teeny mint green and white hearts. I’m also pretty pleased with my invisible zip insertion.

Close up

I bought 3 metres of it and I think I have enough left for a top. Speaking of tops, the one I’m wearing in these photos is also a Me Made, which was fresh off the sewing machine before we went out. It’s a wearable toile of an off the shoulder Grainline Scout tee hack. I really like it but it’s not quite right and I’ll need to tweak it a bit before using my proper fabric. This fabric might look familiar as it was leftover from my By Hand London Flora.

helen's closet winslow culottes

All I did was cut off the top of the sleeve and bodice pieces just above the notches then added 7/8″ seam allowance to allow for pressing under 1/4″ and then 5/8″ to make a channel for my 1/2″ elastic. Hope that makes sense. I can attempt to make a tutorial as I make my proper version if anyone would like me to?

I don’t think I really have that much more to say but I had a surprising amount of photos I liked from this photo shoot so I’m going to carry on bombarding you with them sorry.

winslow-culottes-sitting

I wore these to work the day I finished them (I sewed the hem that morning) and I got a lot of compliments. One work friend got really enthusiastic thinking up different length and fabric combinations so I told her that she really should start sewing. I definitely want to try the knee length myself but as I have lots of summer sewing already planned they might have to be an autumnal pair in a heavier fabric.

winslow-culottes-looking-at-boats

Oh I there was something else I wanted to say. Can anyone recommend some good quality fusible interfacing I can buy online please? The stuff I have is a bit pants and doesn’t adhere very well.

The details

Pattern: Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes

Measurements: Bust 37″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ (though waist is the only one that matters for this pattern) Height 5’2″

Size made: 12

Alterations: None

Fabric used: 2.25m of 140cm wide viscose from The Textile Centre

Another version?

Oh yes, definitely. I really want to try a shorter version but I’d love more long ones too. So many things to sew, so little time!

Any changes next time?

I’ll shorten the crotch depth by about 2″. I may also contour the waistband slightly as I don’t like the way straight waistbands sit on me. I did think about attempting to put front pockets on them too. Probably using the Sew Over It Carrie trousers as a guide. Not that I ever use pockets for anything other than my hands.

Non-clueless versions:

Helen’s round-up of tester versions has all of the pairs I was going to link to here so you should check that out to see more versions.

Final Thoughts

I love these culottes/palazzo pants. They’re comfortable but I still feel sort of elegant and put together in them.

Winslow culottes

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Yesterday I recklessly agreed to make my mum a dress to wear to a wedding in a couple of weeks. So I’m off to her house in a little bit to take her measurements and look at fabric online. I’m a bit anxious about it as the pattern we’re thinking about is quite fitted. Though I suppose fitting someone else is easier than fitting yourself.

Do you have any tips for me?

Drapey Datura Blouse

I feel like I should tell you up front that this is probably going to be quite a negative post. It feels like I buggered up pretty much every part of this top.

Deer and Doe Datura blouse

Mistake number one, my biggest mistake, was not staystitching. Not entirely sure what possessed me to think I could get away without staystitching when I was using the drapiest fabric known to man.

It’s really lovely feeling fabric but it was a nightmare to work with. It called itself viscose challis but it was different to other fabric I have that have called themselves that so I’m not sure which one is telling the truth. This one seems to have a visible diagonal weave that’s quite pretty but doesn’t photograph. As you might be able to tell from these photos it was a pain to press, all I seemed to be be doing was pressing creases into it.

 

Deer and Doe Datura blouse

I did a really poor job with the collar but the fabric didn’t take well to my unpicking it so it has had to stay poor. I think it probably would have benefited from interfacing but it wasn’t in the instructions so I didn’t. Though now I am second guessing myself about whether it was in the instructions or not.

datura-blouse-collar

I think I said in my post about my first Datura that I was going to try sewing the shoulders a different way this time, which I did. I tried to do it this way. It makes more sense with photos so you might want to have a look at that link but I’ll try to explain. Basically you sew the lining to the shell at the neckline and armholes on your front and back pieces. Then you turn only your front the right way out and slip it inside the back. You line up the shoulders and then sew them in the round.

Which was really bloody difficult. For a start it’s a very little space to try to fit a sewing machine foot. There are loads of seam allowances to try to keep in place and a collar to take into account. So my shoulder seams are a bit of a shambles. I also forgot that I’d understitched so it mattered which way round the back was. Sooo, my understitching is on the outside and I’m now calling it topstitching.

datura-side-view

But the biggest problem came when I’d stitched the main body parts to the outer yoke, sewn the side seams and then went to stitch the inner yoke down. The inner yoke was too small. At this point I considered having a cry and throwing it across the room but ended up just attempting to ease it. I think I’ve mentioned before how bad I am at easing. What could possibly go wrong?

A puckered horrid mess, that’s what. And the weird bubble above my bust that you can see in the photo above. And similar on the back as you can see below. It’s also clinging to my back fat ever so attractively.

deer-and-doe-datura-blouse-back

I used the little pearly buttons that I didn’t use for my first version and I think they look really pretty with the grey.

The details

Pattern: Deer and Doe Datura blouse

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″ (These might not be entirely accurate anymore as I haven’t checked them in a while and I think I may be a smidge bigger now)

Size made: 40

Alterations: None

Fabric used: 1m of 145cm wide grey viscose challis and about 0.5m of 145cm wide black viscose challis. Both from Abakhan but no longer in stock.

Another version?

Yes probably but not for a while, I’m a bit traumatised by this one.

Any changes next time? 

I’m not entirely sure because so many bits of this stretched out I don’t think this is a fair reflection of the size. I like the way it fits across the shoulders but the under yoke is too tight across the chest, which is causing the yoke to bubble. So I have no idea what changes I’d need to make or if I should just go back to the size bigger.

Tips or advice

If you’re using a really drapey fabric like I did then staystitch everything. Even bits you wouldn’t normally.

Final thoughts

I hate this top. I’ve only worn it for pictures and a video because it’s uncomfortable and the fact that it refuses to be ironed annoys me. I need to unpick the yoke lining and do something with it but I don’t know what that something should be. I’ve got my overlocker back now so I was thinking about just finishing the seams and raw edge of the yoke lining and letting it hang loose. I don’t know though. I’ll probably do nothing and let it sit neglected in my wardrobe instead. Oh well, you win some and you lose some and you learn something from every make, even the failures.