Happy lockdown birthday to meeeee! What a strange, strange few weeks it’s been, eh? I’ve not felt like blogging much, but I’ve been doing a fair amount of sewing and I couldn’t let my birthday pass without sharing this year’s birthday garment – a Ruska knot dress from the Named Patterns “Breaking the Pattern” book!
I’ve been wanting to make the Saraste shirtdress from the Named book, “Breaking the Pattern” ever since I first saw it at their UK launch party. It comes in three different views in the book: as a princess-seam blouse with ruffles, a button-down shirt with shoulder cutouts, and as a shirtdress with ruffled collar. I ended up making the shirtdress, but added in the shoulder cutouts for some extra interest, too.
I made two pairs of trousers last winter and never quite got around to taking proper photos of them, let alone blogging about them, what with the frenzy of book launch posts, then getting sick. So for completeness’ sake, and because they’re both great makes, I wanted to be sure I documented them properly.
I like to think I’m a savvy shopper. Last year I bought the Named Patterns Harriet lumberjacket during their advent calendar sale and it ended up being one of my favourite makes of the whole year. So when the same advent calendar sale came round again this year, I kept my eyes peeled and pounced when their Talvikki sweater came up with a one-day discount code. I loved the design of the darted, funnel neckline from the first moment it was released, but my To Do list was full at that point so I kept it in the back of my mind instead – and it paid off!
The fabric is a slate blue French terry with drawings of bows & arrows all over it that’s been in my stash for over a year. Regular readers will know that I don’t normally go for prints, but this one was sparse enough to tickle my fancy! I bought it at Ditto Fabric‘s Brighton store when I visited with Claire in December 2015 and I was really just waiting for the perfect pattern to come along.
I am both back from our trip to the States and feeling back on form now, so I’ve started to tackle documenting the absolute mountain of finished makes from the last four months. I have some garments from early January, some made more recently and well, I’m just going to share them with you in no particular order! The photos are a bit more slapdash than usual, but I know that if I waited to do proper photoshoots of all of these then it’d be another 6 months before you’d get to see them!
So I’m going to start with a garment that was the longest in the planning, and also quite possibly my favourite of the early 2016 makes. It all started back in summer 2014, when I bought some fabulous navy wool coating & vintage silk twill from Ditto when I was down in Brighton. I knew I wanted to use them together for a transitional, short coat, but then I had quite a journey in finding the right pattern!
Over the course of 18 months, I ended up making five different muslins before I was happy enough to cut into the wool and silk:
- StyleArc Audrey (the silhouette and proportions were just so bad on me. So bad.)
- Burda Jan 2015 jacket in size 42 (way too small for non-stretch outerwear, oddly, though Burda’s fit is usually very standard)
- Burda Jan 2015 jacket in size 44 (traced ALL the pieces again and it still fit very weirdly)
- Patrones 342 No23 dolman sleeve coat (ridiculously tiny sleeves and zero arm mobility even with the underarm gusset)
And then finally I muslined Named’s Harriet lumberjacket pattern, bought during a flash sale during their advent calendar promotion. And I was like Goldilocks, it was juuuuuuust riiiiiight.
With my sprint training regime over the summer, I’d lost quite a bit of weight from around my waist and hips, while my legs essentially stayed the same size. This has meant that pretty much all my trousers are now too big (some of them, comically so), and I pretty desperately needed some trousers that fit properly.
With the Kimono Sweat pattern launch out of the way, I went through my fabric stash to find something trouser-y, and discovered a length of stretch navy twill from Ditto that my friend Pip bought me as a Christmas present two years ago and I’d been meaning to sew ever since. Then I had a little dig through my pattern stash for something easy with minimal fitting, and I pulled out Named’s Jamie Jeans pattern, which I’d previously sewn in silver denim. Unfortunately, that fabric was not the best quality, with the silver coating having worn away considerably despite zero machine washing, and are just murky black now. So sad. But I mostly liked the fit of those, and the pattern was ready to go, so the trousers were GO!
In the silver pair, I loved the close fit through the legs, but the crotch was just not comfortable. To me, it felt like they were too low-rise, but upon closer comparison with my favourite (non-stretch) Burda jeans pattern, it turned out that the crotch curve was about an inch too high, so I lowered it to match Burda’s and the fit is just right now. So they hit at about the same point, just below my belly button, but the crotch isn’t pulling and feeling a bit too… camel-toe!
I hadn’t realised quite how much I wanted to sew the Jamie jeans pattern from the new Finnish company, Named, until it disappeared off their site for a few days and I kinda freaked out that I might’ve missed the opportunity to make it! Happily, it was only down so they could revamp the pattern and improve the instructions, and I bought it soon after.
Despite my first version/muslin being a total FAIL due to lengthwise-stretch only fabric, I still managed to crack on and sew up a second version without totally losing my nerve, and I now am the proud owner of silvery rockstar jeans. Maybe I need to start a band now, hmmm…
I bought this pattern after Named’s refresh, so I can tell you that the instructions are now illustrated (though with some mistakes – I noticed they forget to say to close the pocket bags!), and you get all the sizes when you buy them, though they’re still split into different pdfs (two sizes per file). There are 1cm seam allowances included, but the stitching lines are also marked, which is helpful.
Thank you to Claire for snapping these photos after our lunch date!
Since all of my trousers are stupidly baggy from my marathon training, I did my best not to go too big and I made these in a size 40, and they’re really close fitting! Don’t get me wrong, I love the fit, but you need some serious stretch in your fabric to make these work.
Real life is starting to run away from the documented garments on this site, so it’s definitely time for a little roundup of projects which I’ve been working on, yet haven’t quite done a full photoshoot for yet…
The Sherlock coat
The Sherlock coat is 90% done – I’ve attached the lining and flipped it all right side out, but there’s still some hand-stitching to be done. However, this is currently “parked” while James is waiting for the Etsy lady to put up more replica buttons for sale (yes, someone makes buttons that look just like the ones on Cumberbatch’s coat!). When those arrive, I’ll finish the handstitching, sew them on, and make a gajillion keyhole buttonholes with my vintage Singer attachment.
The Rainbow PB Jam Leggings
I used some of my most precious, imported Space Dyed “confetti” supplex to make a pair of my PB Jam Leggings to wear to the Bath Half marathon next weekend, and possibly run London marathon in, too, depending on the weather. These are totally finished and road-tested at Run dem Crew last week (to rapturous compliments!) but I’m waiting until next weekend to do a photoshoot in the race environment.
You saw these in my invisible pocket tutorial, remember?
(Actually, now that I think of it, I still need to show you all my last set of PB Jams and XYT Tops from my big pre-release photoshoot, too!)
The Brasilia Dress
I’ve been wanting to make Rachel’s free Brasilia Dress pattern since she released it on Christmas Day, and I finally got the kick I needed, in the form of a big opportunity – I’ve been asked to speak at the House of Commons on Monday about a new stem cell bill! Omg!! So of course I needed a new dress, and I figured the red cotton sateen in my stash would be perfect, both for confidence and the connotation with blood. Even though it was a rush job, I still made enough time to sew up a muslin first, and the finished dress is now finished, too. I’ll try to do a photoshoot this weekend and the grab a few photos in the Houses of Parliament itself next week!
I ended up having a fun and full weekend of sewing this weekend, partially because I lost a few days work last week to a spa day (omg!) and a full day of filming (for Extra Mile – if you haven’t already seen my blue wigged self all over your internets, watch here!). Part of the work sewing was to get a bunch of stuff done on my next pattern, which is digitised, graded, and now ready for my second test version before I test it out on some unsuspecting local athletes, mwahahah! I also had a few projects for private clients to get done, as well, so I had to change mental “gears” a few times, too.
Another bit of work sewing was actually a bit too fun to be strictly considered “work”, and that’s because I needed to sew up a fresh sample pair of my free Lacey Thong pattern to bring along to the Panty Party class this Thursday, 13 February. There are still a few spots left if you want to snag them and join the fun, btw – I mean, seriously, look at this pile of lace and fabrics that arrived last week which is all for the class! Don’t you want to dive right in?!
To clarify: The Panty party class is at the ThriftyStitcher studio in Stoke Newington, North London, and it’s this Thursday!
I’ve probably made at least ten versions of my Lacey Thong for myself, but, umm, I wear those, and it’s pretty creepy and gross to be showing other people your worn underwear, even if it’s clean, eww. So that’s why I needed to sew up a fresh sample pair to show off in the class, so I selected this thin, blue burnout jersey and some white lace and paired it with navy blue satin-edged elastic.
Isn’t she pretty? I also received a comment today from a Frenchman who made this utterly gorgeous satin & lace pair for his woman. So it doesn’t have to be a one-way lingerie sewing street – you could book your man on the course as a “surprise” and let him sew a pair for you! Ha!
I got to a point early on Sunday where I’d finished all the work sewing I wanted to accomplish, so I pulled out the Named “Jamie Jeans” pattern (now with US Letter-compatible printing and multi-sized, btw). I’ve been eyeing up this pattern since it was released, but it took it disappearing when the new collection was released to make me realise how much I wanted to sew it! Since a-l-l of my clothes are falling off me right now (thanks, running!) I am in serious need of trousers and even my leggings are baggy, so these were the top of my Fun Sewing list.