Blue Chinos

After making the blue spotty Olya Shirt, I decided to use up a piece of navy twill chino fabric I’d got from Croft Mill recently to make another pair of trousers. I’m still on the barrel-leg/ coccoon shape drive, and I fancied a pattern from a Burda magazine that I liked when I saw it ages ago. The panels on the trouser front looked interesting, as did the dart in the hem of the back piece. They are 106 from February 2020. Those panels offer an opportunity, perhaps, to play with stripes or uses variety of fabrics, or to do something a bit fun and different. But not this time.

I traced the 42 & 44, grading out in the waist area for my non-existant waist! I added 1cm to each side seam, and that’s done the job. The crotch depth was shortened by 2cm and I took a 1.5cm wedge out of the back depth too. The leg length was fine once I’d shortened the crotch depth! The legs were still rather baggy for me, I know they’re supposed to be, but too baggy pants just make me look short. So I’m staying with the overall look, just not quite as baggy! From the hip line, I took them in to the 42. This looks much better to me, still had the shape, but not big. And they don’t make me look too short! It’s got to be a win.

I didn’t use the welt pockets as designed, I was concerned that this fabric might go shiny or fade, so I opted for inseam pockets instead. They’re attached to the wasitband at the top so that they don’t flap around like the Style Arc Teddy pants. I used a scrap of African Wax for the pocket bags to cut down on bulk, so there’s a little pop of pattern. As it’s a Burda pattern, the fly zip was a breeze!

These are really comfortable to wear, althought now I’ve worn them a few times I think I’ll be taking them in a little more at the waist. I think another centimetre will do the trick. I definitely will make another pair, but first I have other trouser patterns that I’ve seen and liked the look of. I need to give them all a chance!

I love the colour and the crisp handle of the fabric, it feels perfect for the utility trouser/chino trousers look that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. It presses well and even after a full day of wearing, isn’t as creased as I’d expect for crisp cotton. However, it has faded a bit. I’ve worn these trousers about once a week since making them at the end of January, and the fabric is not as dark as the left over bits stashed in my scraps box. I think a linen pair would do rather nicely, but for now, I hope that these will be worn loads in the spring/summer/autumn!

Work in Progress 2/23

I had intended to post this yesterday, but couldn’t get access to my computer and realised that the new Jet Pack upgrade to the phone app doesn’t allow you to create a new post from your phone! I am excited about this project, I think I’ve made the perfect combination of fabric and pattern! The pattern is one I’ve used before, jacket 111 from the August 2021 issue of Burda. I love wearing the black jacket I made before and thought that a lighter weight version would be lovely for spring/summer.

When I made the black jacket, I altered the pattern by adding depth for a Full Bust Adjustment. I had also already altered the collar and front to allow for turn of cloth, I made this allowance slightly narrower because my fabric is less bulky than the last time. I lost the allowance on the front because I wanted to change the look of the front. While the double-breasted design is fine, this time I wanted it as a single. I measured out from the centre front, a 1.5cm buttonstand and added seam allowance and a bit more for turn of cloth, making the same adjustments on the front facing (except the turn of cloth extra!). The pockets also needed work – the original ones were a pain to sew the hem up around, and I always find them too far back, even though they’re in the side seams. I faffed around for a while with placement, etc, but ended up leaving the pockets off all together.

Collar underside detail

So, let’s show you my workings so far. I had already decided not to add too much structure. This jacket has no shoulder pads, so the interfacing, while being in all the important places, is only the lightweight stuff. Gill Arnold is no longer trading, so I bought this batch from The English Couture Company.

I loved the piping detail on the magazine version but it would have been totally obscured with the fabric I used on my first version, so this was my chance! I use a bit of left-over blue cotton twill chino fabric for the piping, but didn’t add piping cord, so it’s just a small flap. I cut 3.5cm bias strips and folded them in half. With the standard 1.5cm seam allowance, the strip sticking out is just 2-3mm, which does the job for me just perfectly. With this fabric, I love the strip of dark blue!

Let’s talk fabric – I bought it from Stitch Fabrics, aka Rosenberg and Sons in the autumn last year at the Quilting show at the NEC. I can’t find it on their website, so I assume it’s out of stock now. It’s the most beautiful jacquard, with a denim coloured ground and an overlaid print of white flowers and leaves. I loved it the minute I saw it on the stand and knew it would be a jacket.

I just love the way the sleeves have turned out with the piping! I made a sleeve facing for the hem, the curve is just too great to allow for an ordinarily turned-up hem. It is so much neater and will allow for the lining hem to sit nicely too. The extra allowed in the upper collar for turn of cloth has resulted in a very nice finish there too, I am happy with the way it’s all going so far! I’ve ordered lining from Croft Mill Fabrics, something bright and yummy!! I didn’t want blue or white on the inside of this gorgeous jacket, so went looking for an orange/paprika/rusty shade. Croft Mill had just what I wanted and I can’t wait for it to arrive! All I still need to do is decide on buttons. Will I have enough in the stash?

Stay tuned for the finished project, hopefully it won’t be too long!!

I Want More

The big sleeve – I wonder when it’s not going to be something we all love to wear? I sincerely hope that never happens, because I love me a big sleeve! The blouse attached to this particular big sleeve is one I’ve made before, 114 from the January issue of Burda, 2016. The last time I made it I used a piece of precious silk from my stash, and I’ve loved wearing that blouse! I decided it was time to make another, a slightly more “everyday” version.

The fabric is viscose, on off-white ground with a 3mm wide black stripe running parallel to the grain. Like all viscoses, it’s soft and fluid and has great drape. I got it from Croft Mill back in January in their sale section, and they have just 2 metres left of it! It pre-washed with no hitches and it irons really nicely. For the cutting out, I pinned loads of the stripes to each other, because – like viscose does – it moves!! Pinning worked, and I managed to get it all cut with the minimum of blue air. I changed the layout just a little, the front is supposed to be cut as two and seamed down the centre with an opening at the neck. I cut it on the fold and made an opening bound with a bias continuous placket instead.

That was the only adjustment to the pattern made this time. I had already made an FBA when I made the pattern back in 2018 and I stuck with that. French seams keep all the insides neat and tidy and I double rolled the hem. The neck and sleeves are bound with bias strips and I love the angle of the stripe in those areas. The back yoke is just one layer, with the lower back gently gathered into the centre of the yoke. I like this small amount of gathering because it isn’t too full.

Then there’s the sleeve…. I love this sleeve! It’s cut cleverly so the the opening isn’t parallel to the floor. The top sleeve area is shorter than the under-sleeve, giving a fuller effect when you wear it. Can I just walk around fluttering my sleeves everywhere I go? This is a fabulous addition to my wardrobe, I felt I had a gap for a lighter coloured blouse, and now that’s filled! It’ll be lovely to wear more when the weather warms up!

Olya Shirt

Another Olya – oh yes!!! This is one of my absolute favourite patterns at the moment, and making it in a lightweight cotton is the best!! The fabric is from Stitch Fabrics, aka Rosenberg and Son. I happened to “spot” it in a story on Instagram and knew I had to have some! A quick hunt through their website netted me 2m in double quick time and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive! It’s really lovely, soft and drapey, but with a certain amout of crispness which is really nice. Unfortunately, it’s no longer on their website, I looked! It has an ivory ground and brilliant blue blobby spots, the colours just sing.

Slightly smug in my new shirt!

I made the straight size 14 again. My measurements put me in a bigger size, but I am really happpy with the amount of ease in the 14. I’m pretty sure the bigger size would just feel like wearing a tent! There’s only so much “oversized” that I’m happy with. That’s the nice thing about the patterns with loads of ease, you get to choose just how much of that ease you’re comfortable with! The only thing I changed was to alter the placket opening to a simple continuous bias instead. This is just for speed, I really wanted to get this shirt made in time to wear to visit Daughter No1 in London. I had a little scare when it was button choosing time – I was three short! Why does this always happen? A drawer full of buttons, and I don’t have enough. Anway, I thankfully found those three when digging through another box! Phew!

The shirt looks great with my new Worker Trousers and I’m sure, will look fab with the linen trousers in the summer boxes currently languishing in the loft. Roll on summer!

Fibre Mood Adventures – Betty Pants

I’ve bought a few Fibre Mood pattern magazines now, and I’m intrigued by their designs. The only pattern I’ve made so far is a sweatshirt, which is hardly mind-blowing! But, in the September issue from 2021, there was a pair of trousers that caught my eye with its style lines, the Betty Pants. I wanted to make it, that was for sure, but I wasn’t sure of how the drafting would suit me. I’m so used to my trusty Burda patterns! I thought this would be the perfect addition to my Sew Fancy Pants 2023 entry, and it was finished in the nick of time!

Anyway, going by the measurements, I traced the 18, 20 & 22, and toiled the pattern with the 22, thinking I could easily take it in where necessary! I thought I’d try the “top down, centre out” method this time, so only made one leg. As usual, no pockets or extra details, this is just about fit. First off – too wide in the waist, go down a size, second, too baggy in the leg, go down one or two sizes! And the crotch seemed low, but, looking at the examples online, some had this and others didn’t… I left it in place because this is a pattern that’s supposed to be worn on the natural waist, so when sitting, you’ll need space! The length looked fine, no need for shortening.

So I went ahead and made the pants in a rather nice putty coloured needlecord from Croft Mill Fabrics, cutting up another bit of Mr W’s old cotton shirts for the pocket bags. The fabric is lovely, you could use it for a shirt, but it’s not as lightweight as you’d usually use for shirts. It’s soft and has a slight stretch to it, and I love the colour. The pockets were interesting, but look good when done, but – they’re too small!!! I definitely need a deeper pocket than these have – but not as deep as the Worker Trousers! Fibre Mood don’t do written instructions in the magazine, it’s all diagrams – the complete opposite of Burda! But it all went together swimmingly and soon I had a new pair of trousers.

On wearing these pants, I have some alterations to do for the next time – and I think they’re only things I’d normally notice after wearing for a little while. The crotch is low, but only in the back… I find the back dips, so I’ll shorten that by 2cm in the centre, taking out a wedge so the side seam isn’t affected. Pockets! The Worker Trousers had ridiculously deep pockets, these are too short! I’ll add 3-5cm to the depth to they’re easier to shove my hands and key into! Then the legs – when walking and wearing these pants normally, I definitely feel that they’re too short. The photos in the magazine show the pants rolled up, but the models are rather tall (taller than me at any rate), so I don’t know where they get the extra length to roll up!! So I’ll lengthen the leg by 2-3cm, that’ll make them more comfortable to wear.

So the end result is a pattern thats 20 in the waist, until about 10-12cm below the joining seam, where it quickly moves to the 18, and I used the 18 for the inside leg too. The crotch seams are the 20. I’ll have that wedge taken out of the back and the longer leg for the next time too. I got a message on Instagram from another Burda fan and sewing blogger saying that she’d found the leg length too short, and she’s tall! Is the pattern supposed to be short? If I’m lengthening them, they are short!! I do want to make these again, give them another chance, it’s only fair.

Sew Japanese in January 2023

Why do I wait until the last few days in the month to get all my photos and writing done? Making is the easy part, writing a little less so, but photos in January… These are taken on my phone and the qualty of the light wasn’t terribly good. But, needs must! Along with the trouser sewing and the making of the jacket that featured in a Work in Progress post weeks ago, I cut and made another version of Top E from Asuka Hamada’s book, Sweet Clothes. Other versions can be found on the blog by searching “Asuka Hamada”, and there’s a review on the book hidden away somewhere too. I still intend to make at least one other pattern from this book, but I love the sleeves on this one so much!

So yes, it’s a pretty simple top, I’ve added a FBA and altered the neckline slightly, but otherwise it’s the straight size 2. As mentioned before, I haven’t added any more ease, being comofrtable with it as drafted, although someone smaller than me would have a considerably looser top.

The fabric chosen is from Croft Mill Fabrics, part of a large bundle I bought back in July last year. It’s viscose crepe, but very lightweight, and it moves on the draft made by a buterfly’s wing… I cut it to pattern match around the body but didn’t worry about matching the sleeves into the armhole. French seams keep everything on the inside nice a tidy and fray-proof. This fabric does like to fray! Perhaps if you’re a fan of spray starch for viscose, this is the fabric on which to use it!

I altered the neck binding slightly, the instructions have you encase the 5mm seam allowance and turn it in, I find this narrow strip of binding tends to fray, not fold iin properly, and generally need intervention later on. I folded a wider bias strip in half, sewed it onto the neckline and turned the whole thing inside, topstitching on the outside to hold it down and enclose the raw edges. It hasn’t made any more bulk or weight to the neckline, so I’m much happier with the finish.

I think I’ll always return to this pattern for a quick satisfying, big sleeve sew. And for wearability – might be a little too thin for winter wear without something underneath, but it will be worn in the summer!!!

Fancy Pants vol 1

This is a post that’s been a long time coming! Apologies to all those who saw the first posts of the year and thought,” Yay, there’ll be something each week now!” – yeah – sorry! But, nevermind, at least the sewing is happening, even if the recording and photoographing and reporting are on the tortoise side of slow! Without further ado, I’m kicking off the Fancy Pants January this year with the Worker Trousers from the Modern Sewing Company. I’d been after a new pair of trousers with a slightly rounded, cocoon shape for a while and settled on these after looking at the Shop Pants and comparing the two. In the end, the Worker Trousers won out and I purchased the PDF.

The slightly smug look of someone who rather likes her new jeans!

Starting in early December with this, I traced the 16 and 18, knowing I’d need the bigger size for the waistband, but that the smaller would be fine for the hip measurement. I toiled the 18 straight, and made adjustments from there. The waistband ended up staying 18, but the pants graded down to the 16 about 7cm or so down from the waistband. I made them up in a beautiful soft cotton twill in a light putty colour from Croft Mill Fabrics.

The fabric is perfect for these trousers, it has body but is soft and so yummy to wear. The zip and button are from the stash. On wearing them, I realised they were a bit too baggy for me. Also, the pockets are huge! I’d struggle to reach the bottom of them, with the result that if you put something small into these pockets, you will battle (if you have short arms) to get it out in a neat, ladylike way! Now I like a decent sized pocket, but these are just too deep. I’ve enlarged the seam allowance and probably ended up with going down to the 14 now in the outside leg seams, and I’ve adjusted the inside leg seam, taking in an extra 1cm. I’m much happier with the shape and fit now, so it was time to make another!

New Year’s Day was declared a sewing day! I took a length of denim out of the stash, bought from Clothspot when they closed down. I cut the waistband at 16 the legs at 14, grading from the hip to the wasitband to match the sizes. I also shortened the pocket by 5cm. It’s still generously sized, but not ridiculously deep. These adjustments have made the pants just perfect now, I love these pants and am wearing them on constant rotation!

The instructions are pretty clear, there’s plenty of hand holding if you haven’t made trousers before, but I wasn’t impressed with the zip instructions. I suppose I’m so used to the way Burda do their fly zips that the miriad of different ways the Indie pattern companies have to describe how to insert a fly zip bewilders me. I like a centre front line on my pattern, but, saying that, the zip does come together ok, just don’t use your bias binding to bind all the edges of the guard, etc and then still expect to do the snipping in the instructions. I didn’t do any snipping, just sewed a short seam on the crotch line first, then added the zipper and all its gubbins. It’s so much easier!

None-the-less, I like the neat insides with the binding, I cut up an old cotton shirt of Mr W’s for the pocket bags and the bindings, it’s soft and creates no bulk. On the subject of pockets, the back patch pockets are a good size too! I always end up popping my phone into the back pocket, so it’s nice to know it doesn’t fall on its side or stick out of the top.

So, will I be making more? I think so. I fancy a pair or two in linen for the summer, they’ll make a good addition to the wardrobe with the Teddy and Kew Pants. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of the beige pair (I’m lucky to have got these!), but I will endeavour to get some at some point, especially as I’ve made another pair of Fancy Pants and another have been cut out and are awaiting assembly as I type! I have three days of January left, no problem…..

Work in Progress Wednesday 1/23

And sew it begins! My first acutal project of the year was a pair of jeans for myself, but I haven’t got any photos of those to show you yet, so we’ll start the blogging year with something that’s on the cutting table. I really should have made this jacket last year, but things got busy, and there was’t a massive rush anyway. I will be making a 70s jacket for Daughter No 2 in the next week or so. It’s moved to the top of my pile and I have told myself to finish it before I can make anything more for myself. The pattern is Simplicity 5918, dated 1973, which has been in my vintage pattern collection for some time. I’ve always liked this little jacket on this pattern, so when Daughter No 2 said she was keen on a 70’s jacket, this was the first one I thought of.

Simplicity 5918 jacket toile

I toiled the jacket in some old curtain lining without any alterations to see exactly where and what I’d need to do, rather than what I thought I’d have to do. We had a fitting back in October (see how long ago I should have been sewing this?) and made some notes. These are the adjustments that are needed to make this little jacket into what she wants. It’s a lot more loose and boxy in real life!

  • First up, take it in at the side seams and darts, a total of 1cm at the waist on each one. It’s just too loose fitting for her.
  • Second, what’s with the tiny pockets?? They’re going to be made a tad more useful.
  • Third, although a 70s looking collar and rever are relatively cool, they’re just a bit too wide. So the rever and collar are being narrowed. Thankfully that’s just a style line.
  • Fourth, I need a forward shoulder adjustment of around 1-1.5cm.
  • The sleeves are also being lengthened by 5cm. I’m glad the body didn’t need to be lengthened too, it finishes at just the right point.
Alterations on the toile

I’m using a gorgeous chocolate brown needlecord from the stash and a champagne coloured lining, leftover from a previous project. The hope is to get it finished pretty quickly so that she can still have use of it in the cooler weather – especially as it should have been done months ago! I’m not planning to make it too structured, the pattern is for an unlined jacket, so just adding lining will change the way it sits. I’ll try not to over tailor it, just supporting interfacing where it needs it. I am still in two minds about shoulder pads though, they really do make the difference in how a jacket looks. Perhaps I’ll just get small ones – we’ll have to see!!

So – how are your sewing plans? Or is it just way too early into the New Year to ask that question?

Welcome to 2023!

I’m feeling positive! The last three years have been iffy, to be polite, and it’s time things felt a little more normal around here. I haven’t done any New Year’s Resolutions, they never stick, but I have decided to do some things. A while ago I had what I called “My Year of Doing New Things”, and I liked it, so I’ve decided to do it again.

But not just new things – following up on current (old) things too, like keeping this blog up to date. I always struggle with the photo taking part, so will endevour to use my remote on the camera more! This month I’m joining in with the Sew Fancy Pants and Sew Japanese In January challenges. I desperately need new trousers and jeans, so this is the perfect push. I bought a nice pile of fabrics form Croft Mill last year that was supposed to be my autumn/winter wardrobe – I’m still working my way through that!

On the doing things new, I recently joined a friend on a basic book binding workshop, and loved it! I want to take the techniques I learnt and make a series of little books to use to track my allotment planning and planting. I’ve also subscribed to an Instagram account to learn weaving! It’s not willow and large basket weaving, but foraging from your garden and hedgerows and making small things, little grass baskets and bowls, etc. I’m excited to learn all these new things.

I also want to do more with natural plant dyes – I grew a few plants on the allotment last year to use, but didn’t really get stuck in the way I should have. Let’s hope this year will be better! I hope to see you around, I always find reading details about people’s sewing easier on a blog than on an Insagram post – and you get bigger photos!!

Here’s to a successful 2023 sewing (and other craft) year!

It’s the 90s again!

Waistcoats. All the rage in the 90s and now back again, the perfect example of circular fashion. I made two for Daughter no1 back in the summer to wear as tops, and have now made another two for Daughter no 2 to wear over shirts – as a “proper” waistcoat. This is pattern I used for myself “back in the day”, making the waistcoat and trousers. Luckily I never cut off all the un-needed sizes, so everything was there. The pattern is a long out of print Burda 2889. I love the shape of this waistcoat, especially the cut of the armholes.

I started with a toile in the size 10. Thankfully there were no adjustments to be made, we were both happy with the fit and the length was just fine too. I had thought I might need to lengthen it, but not this time! The fabrics chosen were from the stash, leftover from my Assembly Line V-Neck dress and the Sienna Maker Jacket. Linings also came form the stash, and were also leftovers.

The finer, rusty coloured wool waistcoat has a front and back neck facing, as well as armhole facings, which is not the way the waistcoat is drafted. I didn’t have enouth wool to cut four fronts, two of which would be the facings. I like how it’s turned out, the finish is really good and at least the lighter coloured satin lining doesn’t poke out! I kept the faux pockets on this one and found suitable buttons in the stash, again.

The black windowpane wool is much thicker than the other, I used it to make a coat. So this time there are no facings and no faux pockets, it would just add far too much bulk. I was worried cutting this one, there was only a small amount of fabric left and I really wasn’t sure whether I could pattern match properly, but I was lucky and it all only just worked out! There is now so little of this fabric left that it really is scrap and I can happily use it to fill another Closet Core pouf or maybe a draught excluder!

I posted the waistcoats and got promises that photos would be taken soon this time. I had to wait a little while, but the promised photos have arrived and so you get to see them. Daughter No 2 is very happy with her waistcoats and they fit into her 90s feeling wardrobe really well!

I’m still waiting for photos of a pair of Lander Pants also made for Daughter No2, and a pair of wool trousers made for Daughter No1. I also still need to get cracking with the 70 jacket that I toiled at the beginning of November. December is going to be a busy sewing month! I thought I might make some Christmas presents too, if there’s time. Is anyone else making gifts for Christmas?

Making and Books

I like making, and I like books.

The Insouciant Stitcher

Creativity beats Insanity

Fabric Engineering

Creating a well-fitting wardrobe, piece by piece

Yet Another Unfinished Project

Crafting better mental health by sewing myself happy. Slow fashion, conscious consuming and an effort to live a more ethical life.

A Tailored View

The thinking behind a project


a lot of cake and a little frosting

Sew Everything Blog

Always sewing. Sewing Everything. Sharing the Sewing with Everyone

Your Stitches May Vary

sewing, making, and mental health.

sew VeraVenus

"A modern make on vintage style."

The Easy Blues

craft, diy, natural dyeing

Creating in the Gap

Forever sewing

Love, Lucie

Where hands and minds are rarely still


Adventures of a plus size renegade seamstress


Create beautiful bags with confidence!

tales of the sewing city

slow sewing, creativity, and a fabric obsession


Be your own luxury brand !

Marsha Style

PDF sewing patterns & sewing blog

Buttons and Trims

Sewing - Learning - Making

Designed By Danita

"Seams" like I've been sewing forever!

the curious kiwi

Happily immersed in sewing nerdyness…

KJ Sews

Sewing and more


Faith, family and creativity

Sew My Style

Forever sewing


A refashion and sewing blog

Tailored by Kate

My sewing record

The Notions Tin

Forever sewing

Girls in the Garden

Forever sewing

The Savvy Sartorialist

Fashion, Lifestyle & Travel by Trish O'Sullivan


Sewing lessons in Lindfield, West Sussex

Just another blog

Permanently sleep deprived. Trying to make a lot of stuff.

jess sews clothes

blogging my homemade wardrobe


Forever sewing

The German Edge

Forever sewing

Make&Wear - sewing-knitting-making

An Irish sewing, knitting and making Blog