Here we are, almost two weeks into September and I still haven’t shown off the last pair of linen trousers made – last month! I have to admit to being in a bit of a sewing funk, but I hope I’ve turned that corner this week! More on that later, I thought I’d pop in and let you all know that I’m still here, and back to sewing. I suppose I also need to admit that I haven’t made those shorts for the other half. August was not shorts weather – so no need!! I will carry on with the sewing for him though, at some point!!
Right, this is another pair of the trousers from Burda July 2009, number 102. I made a pair in reddish linen back in April that have been on constant rotation this year. I love the leg width and length, they’re just so darned comfy to wear! Anyway, in June I bought 2m of a beautiful silvery blue stretch linen from Rags and Rolls on the Seven Sisters Road in Holloway and knew I’d be making another pair.
This time I’ve not used a contrasting fabric for pocket linings or waistbands. Having a stretch content, I sized down from the hip up because otherwise they’d be sliding down by lunchtime! I acutally could do with nipping them in a little more, or making the belt loops and finding myself a belt to wear with them! Again, so nice to wear!
I guess there’s not much more to say about them really, but try to track down the pattern if you want a comfy pair of trousers for the summer (and winter tbh, I’ve made them in wool and lined them before).
In other news – I made a good start to my Autumn sewing this week!! Since Friday last week I’ve cut out and sewn a pair of jeans, a shirt, two sweatshirts and a top. I suddenly got all inspired and have traced a whole load of stuff too, so tomorrow I’m going to try to get some photos of the stuff made so far and get some toiles done. I’m feeling all seasonal!
Remember weeks ago I said I wanted to add green to my palette? Actually, it might even be a month ago! Back in May I bought a stripe olive and ecru tee, which prompted me to buy a few pieces of olive/khaki fabric to create a mini capsule wardrobe that would also fit in with the greys, black and blues of the existing wardrobe. I got a 2m piece of cotton linen from Truro Fabrics and decided to make a pair of Burda trousers with it.
The pattern is style 107 from Burda March 2021. I started with the size 44, but traced the 42 as well, just in case! Knowing I wanted pockets and to move the zip position, I started with the pockets. I drew up a pattern for inseam pockets that would be supported by the facing seam, I don’t like the way the Teddy Pants have flappy pockets, the one thing I have changed on the pattern. I made them deep and wide enough to fit my phone and other items and not have them fall out when I sit down.
Then I needed to play with the front. I decided to have a front fly zip with fly bearer the way some men’s trousers work. It’s the best way to have a fly zip when there’s no waistband and button. The front detail needed to be operational, rather than purely decorative, so it has working buttonholes for the buttons. It means there are a lot of buttons to faff with when you need to go to the loo, but it works.
To minimise bulk I used some cotton fabric from the scrap box for the facings, reverse side of the front flap detail and one layer of the pocket bags. The toile showed the 44 at the waist was the right size, but I needed to shave off a little at the hip, so I switched to the 42 and followed that down to the hem. I shortened the crotch depth by 2cm and took 3cm off the overall length of the leg as well. Looking back, I could probably have left this last adjustment, or only taken 1-2cm off.
I made the toile “wearable” using a pintucked cotton duvet cover that I’d dyed black. I thought it would give the right amount of body. I actually prefer it to the linen version! And I think it’s because it has more body than the linen. So technically I have two new pairs of trousers, and I haven’t wasted the toile fabric, which is nice.
As you can see, I omitted the buttoned outside leg detail, that wasn’t the look I was going for, so this isn’t a really good review of the pattern! I’ve changed too many things! But I do like the width of the legs, and I don’t think it makes me look too short, which is always an issue with wide leg, cropped trousers.
I’ve worn both pairs quite a lot since making, and I have to say just one thing. As I don’t tuck my tops in, that cross-over detail in the front doesn’t get seen… So if you tuck, you’ll be good! One other thing – with the addition of the side seam pockets, I’ve removed the taughness/stability given to the cross-over pieces and they can get a bit wavey. So maybe the answer is to just have back pockets, but not patch pockets. A welt would work better, neater.
Daughter No 2 sent me a photo on Instagram late last year/early this year of a cute little top made in broiderie anglaise. One look at it told me I could use the Saraste Top from the Named Clothing book, Breaking the Pattern. Going from the measurements I chose to toile the size 2. Usually I make the first toile exactly as the pattern, but I aleady knew that she didn’t want the fullness and flare that the Top has. I used the pattern piece for the Shirt side front instead of the Top one, and removed flare from the side back to match the side front too.
The toile got the thumbs up, with a request to take in at the back waist a little more, it was too baggy, but not awful. So now I needed to make the pieces for the frills for the centre front and collar. I decided to make the pieces half as long again as the measurement of the original pieces. I could possibly have gone for a bit more, but not as much as three quarters, and definitely not double! The front frill is on the right front only, so only this piece needed the grown on facing to be removed and a seperate piece drawn up and cut.
The frills are not double, The finished size is 2cm, with 1cm seam allowance. I added 5mm to the outer edge which I used to create the rolled hem on the overlocker. This worked out so well! I had yet to use the rolled hem on this overlocker, so was very glad it was so easy to do and worked perfectly on the first try!
The pattern was on the sheets in the book, each sheet has a block listing the name of the pattern and the pieces it has on it. I think it would be easier if each sheet was numbered, and the corresponding numers were in the book – but it wasn’t too hard to find the sheets I needed. The pieces were easier to trace than Burda patterns, it really helps when they’re not packed onto the sheets! Seam allowances are included, so nothing more to do.
The insides are just overlocked, broiderie anglaise doesn’t French seam well and I didn’t want to bind seams. This way they are neat and tidy and will do the job just fine. I chose buttons from the stash that had been rescued from one of hubby’s old office shirts, so all this has cost is the price of the fabric, which was £5 a metre end of roll from Rosenberg & Son.
The instructions are clear, with illustrations if you need them. Obviously I needed to deviate a little for the front edge and collar stand, but it really wasn’t tricky. I think I might try making the shirt for Daughter No1, it’s the right shape for her and I already have the majority of the pieces traced! I’m really happy with how this has turned out, and the toile was made as a wearable toile, so that means two projects in one!
I took it down to London and personally delivered it, as you can see, it’s great on! She loves it, it’s just cute and pretty enough!
There’s a new colour in my wardrobe – and I think it’s here to stay. I made my first green item in 2019, a pair of linen Teddy Pants. They were followed by a pale green and white pair of Kana’s Standard pants and an LB Pullover in the same fabric, but that’s as far as that incursion went. Until this year… I fell in love with a Monstera print, olive green and ecru, and just had to have it! What would I make with it? Why another Olya Shirt – of course!
No pattern or fitting adjustments or changes from the last time, I’m pretty happy with the pattern on me. The only thing that would change would be how the fabric altered the finished look and shape of the shirt. So far my favourite is the black and white graphic print Olya, it’s soft but has body. The striped one is a fairly heavy viscose, so it hangs more. This viscose challis is soft and drapey and feels fabulous! I bought it from The Rag Shop at the end of May. Knowing that we’d be away for the last week, I asked that the shipping be held back so that the parcel would arrive after the May Bank Holiday. It worked, and I had pretty fabric to add to my holiday purchases on the wash line!
The fabric was lovely to work with, and I knew just what to pair it with on the bottom half! While in St Ives, I bought 2m of a cotton/linen blend, the colour is a pale beige – the result of two colours woven together, white and beige. It’s got body and no drape, but it is perfect for trousers. I decided on the Kew Pants from Style Arc. I’ve made then only once before and thought that this fabric would be great to hold the shape of the cocoon leg. I made the 14 this time, the waist of the 12 is just too snug.
I altered the angle of the front crotch line and curve, and took the inseam in by an extra cm, made the front look much better. The waist fits properly now and the cropped ankle length and width works better in the bigger size. The curved hem detail can be a little tricky to get nice looking on the inside. The pattern instructions have you simply fold under the seam allowance and topstitch in place, but it really isn’t a nice finish. I cut short pieces of off-white bias binding and used them instead, pressing in a tight curve first.
These are such cool pants, I love that they sit nicely on the waist and the rest is loose. The pockets are a good size, perfect for a phone, mask and card wallet! I rarely use a handbag these days, not needing cash means no need for a proper wallet, all I need is plastic. Pairing the black and white Olya with the black Kew Pants I made last year looks great, so I was keen on repeating that with these two projects.
I love these two items together, tucked in, tied in front or simply left loose, they’re comfy and good looking! Being beigey-cream, the trousers slot into my wardrobe perfectly. I love the addition of green in the wardrobe this summer, I have a RTW green and ecru tee bought in Padstow to add to the mix, and am planning a plain olive tee soon!
We’re 12 days into June and I’m so on my way! I think I may have just found my Sewjo hiding in the cupboard and I’ve taken it out, shaken it down and fully embraced it! Althought the gardening has been calling, I seem to have found enough time to share, and the sewing is getting done. I don’t know how you all feel about repeat sewing, to me it’s a bonus. You’ve already done the toiling and fitting and testing and now there’s a pattern you both like and can sew without instructions to hand! When I find a pattern that really suits me, I can get carried away and make many, but then that’s the advantage of sewing – right? You can make as many versions as you like, in every colour and fabric, and enjoy wearing every last single one of them. Today, that tried and tested formula is for the Basic Instinct Tee from Sasha and the Teddy Designer Pants form Style Arc.
I’m making the large in the tee now (started with the extra large) and find it’s perfect. There’s enough ease in it to be loose and comfy in the summer, I love the body length and that of the sleeves too. But most of all, I love the way Sasha has gone to loads of effort to allow us to match stripes! Because there’s nothing better than matching stripes, and when you’ve planned, cut, basted and then sewn, the feeling of “all conquering hero” when you turn the fabric over and see those beggars all nicely lined up is fantastic! This striped cotton jersey came from Fabworks, the last of the bolt! It came the day before we left for Cornwall, I’d have loved to have made it up before we left. There will always be room in my tee shirt pile for another Basic Instinct tee striped or not.
And that brings me to the next repeat offender. The Teddy Designer pants are now on their 6th version, and I finally have a pair in denim! Well, not quite denim, but close enough. I found some lovely, soft chambray in Cornwall in May and knew immediately it would make another pair of the Teddys. I decided to topstitch in gold thread and eventually decided on my first choice of gold buttons too. I like the “jeans” effect it gives, and it feels a little retro too, especially with the colour of the chambray. This is the size 12, shortened in the leg but otherwise unchanged as far as fitting adjustments go.
Only one thing is different with these pants, and I really wish I’d done it 4 versions ago already! These pants have inseam pockets, which are fine, although after the first pair I make them a bit deeper and wider. The problem is that they are unsupported so they flop around and if you have anything in them, you’ll quickly find that they fold the wrong way, to the back. It’s just annoying. So this time I extended the pocket piece so that it’s caught into the waistline. Oh my goodness, what a difference!! It’s so nice not to have to flip the pocket the right way round before fishing out my phone or mask! This is an adjustment that’s staying!
So there you have it, two items down, and no fabric going into the stash! I’ve already cut and half made my next item, and have cut out another – you’ll have to stay tuned to see what they are, but suffice to say, they’re repeats!
I am late to this particular appreciation society. I have numerous Paper Theory patterns, but only purchased the Olya Shirt in October last year, and only made it up in May! And people, I cannot tell you why I left it so long! I can only say that I thought wearing a “proper” shirt again after living in jersey tops would feel odd. Well – it doesn’t! I bought the pattern after making the blouse with the huge sleeves last year, there was just something about that fabric sitting on the cutting table that made me think of the Olya pattern, and I jumped.
This version was made hot on the heels of the dark navy blue one, as in I cut it out on the Saturday morning after the Friday finishing! No changes to the overall pattern, just the sleeve binding and placket construction. This time I sewed both pieces to the outside and turned them in, instead of sewing to the inside. I just prefer this method. It means I just sew the straight seam and leave out the short sewing line making the “box” at the top, as this would get in the way of getting everything out of the way to the inside. The finish is good and I’m happy with it- having handstitched on the inside again. And guess what – this time I managed to get the pieces on the right side! I have proper cuffs!
What I love is how different this one feels to wear compared to the heavier viscose crepe of the first one. I’m going to be making more of these! The fabric is a cotton/silk voile that I got probably 3 years ago now, and it’s fabulous to work with, even better to wear! Usually I’d French seam this fabric, but opportunities for that finish on this shirt are non existant, so the overlocker had to do. It is still neatly finished on the inside, and there is no visible bulk on the outside. Cuffs and collars and the buttonstand were interfaced with fine sheer fusible. I was lucky to find enough buttons in the stash that worked, I didn’t want solid colour buttons, so these with the fleck of white work really well. I’ve worn this shirt so many times since making it – basically as soon as it’s washed and ironed I make a reason to wear it!
I love it with the trousers in my current wardrobe – particularly the Kew Pants and Teddy Pants from Style Arc, & I can’t wait to try it with the linen trousers in my summer wardrobe, but the weather is seriously messing us around! April was cold and dry (only 9% of the usual rain fell!) and May is making up for that instead of being the glorious introduction to summer that we all love. So for now, I only have winter trousers to try the shirt with, but I’m happy anyway. I have some olive viscose with a leaf print on its way for another shirt, and I might have had to order olive linen for trousers to go with it! It looks like olive will be my new rust.
In the mean time – if you’ve been eyeing out this pattern with an idea of making it, look at the photos on Instagram, #olyashirt, and see how well it suits just about everyone who’s made it! If you’re not into too much ease, go down a size or two when you toile, but give it a try! I really do love this pattern and I can see more in my sewing future – I might even try a colour blocked one!!
Well, here’s the first of what will be many! Finally I have photos of the finished Olya Shirt I started at the beginning of March. With the weather being so rubbish, I had a long time to wait for something decent that did the shirt justice. Of course, this means that in the mean time, I was able to wear the shirt and be even more happy with it!
As described in the work in progress post, I made the 14, with no adjustments. I also changed the constructions of the cuff binding and tower plackets slightly – spending so much time on getting those pieces on nice and straight that I made a rather large mistake… I put them on the wrong sides!!! Nevermind, the shirt still works, but I was annoyed when I finally discovered it when I put on my perfectly made cuffs!
It hasn’t altered my love of the shirt. As previously stated, the instructions are good and clear and leave no doubts as to how to proceed. The fabric is viscose marocaine, which has a crepe-like texture. It’s heavier than regular viscose, not as drapey. It was great to work with as it doesn’t slip around!
I’ve worn this shirt loads and now wonder why I hadn’t got round to making it earlier, I have had the pattern since October! I’ve made a second already, and am planning a third to happen pretty soon!
After making a pair about 2-3 years ago, I’ve finally made another pair of the Lander Pants, pattern by True Bias. It’s not been an intentional delay – I just needed the right fabric! My 3m purchase of the cotton/linen twill from Fabworks back in March was the perfect buy, and I knew I had a candidate for another pair of these trousers.
I’d made the size 12 the last time – but in a stretch denim – so needed to take them in to get the right fit. This time I went with the 12 again, but was prepared to have to possibly tweak in the plus side this time! I cut the pocket linings from a piece of leftover print cotton in the stash, and kept all the topstitching simple and in the same colour as the fabric.
The outer leg seam is the one with the 2.5cm seam allowance, enabling a good chance at getting the fit tweaked over the hip and into the waist. I started with half of that, 1.25cm all the way down and tried the pants on. To my surprise, I realised I could take in the entire seam allowance again, from the top! So I popped it under the needle and stitched the 2.5cm allowance. It still fitted just fine! There was the right amount of snugness over the hip and tummy, the front crotch area had no lines and the back was ok too! Miracles!! So I popped the waistband on and voila!
I honestly expected to need more room than that, but they are comfortably snug, and only slightly loosen during the day with sitting and wandering about the house! (Still not really going anywhere) For the length, I needed to loose 9cm… So I turned up a 4.5cm hem twice – sorted! It gives a nice heavy weight to the hem, keeping the width of the trousers in place.
I’m loving these, definitely needed another pair, and the blue is perfect. These pants are going to be a great addition to the spring/autumn as well as winter wardrobes. Might even keep them out during the summer, for those definitely inclement rainy British “summer” days. And, given how delayed spring has been here in the UK this year, these trousers have been a properly good addition the my wardrobe!
Three minutes left of Wednesday – where did the time go!? I thought I’d show you all my latest sewing project, as I seem to have been sewing in secret lately, and only showing off finished items. Today, I’ve been making the Olya Shirt, pattern by Paper Theory. I bought the pattern in October/November last year but only managed to get it toiled last week!
My measurements suggested I make the 16, but the finished measurements indicated a lot more ease than I’d usually be comfortable with. Yes, I do know this is ssupposed to be an oversized shirt, but there’s baggy and there’s tent. At frst, I thougth I’d toile the 12, but hedged my bets and went with the 14 as a middle ground instead. Perfect choice! I decided it needed no adjustments, sleeves are the right length, cuffs not tight, shirt length fine and just enough “oversize” in the circumference measurements.
My fabric is from Rainbow Fabrics, viscose morrocaine (sadly now sold out). It has a lovely, crepe-like texture, and the dark dark navy and ecru irregular, zebra-ish stripe is right up my street. It is light and drapey, but has good weight and doesn’t slip around like ordinary viscose does. Cuffs, collar pieces and front band are interfaced with a fine sheer polyester interfacing, not adding bulk.
The construction of the shirt is different to your usual shirt, because of the style lines. The front yoke and sleeve are one piece,and the shoulder seam and insertion of the sleeve head happens in the same seam! It looks like it’s going to be clunky, but it’s anything but. Tara’s instructions are clear, unambiguous and direct. Some indie designers get so into the instructions that they get confusing and I ignore them entirely!
One thing I did differently, right at the beginning, was to change the way the sleeve plackets are sewn. I sewed the tower placket piece as described, but the binding I sewed to the right side. This is because I don’t like seeing stitching on binding, and if I’d done it the original way, I’d have to stitch on the front. This way I handstiched the binding on the wrongside and topstitched the placket on the right. Small changes. I also staystitched the neck edges as soon as they were ready. You don’t put the collar on until quite late in the game, and I didn’t want any stretching.
Talking about stretching out, be careful with handling the fabric pieces, the sleeve and shoulders can start to stretch before you get to sew them, so don’t let the pieces hang. I pick up my sewing in a bundle so nothing hangs and drapes and potentially stretches out before I get to sew it up.
So far I’m really happy with my shirt, it’s all going together really nicely and at the end of the day I have the buttonbands, collar, cuff and hem to do. And I need to find buttons. What’s the bet that, even with a drawer full of buttons, I won’t have the “right” buttons?
One more of the presents intended for Christmas – but this one needed to wait a little longer. Three months longer… A friend gave me part of a hide of leather, she’d been given it by a local interior designer, but knew she wouldn’t ever use it. She figured I’d make a skirt or something with it, but I had grander plans! I knew the pouch Daughter No1 was using for her laptop wasn’t the best, it was just a zippered pouch – and she needed something easier to carry it around in, but still keep it safe. So an idea was born, to make a laptop bag. Can’t be that hard, right??
I thought that before I concoct a pattern of my own that I’d check out what sort of patterns were available online, and quickly stumbled across the Laptop Bag pattern from Sew All Petite. It came in two sizes and – best of all – it was free!! Double checking the dimensions of the laptop in question, I realised I was going to have to make the large version (17″). The pattern as a PDF printed out on only a few pages and I was off. But there’s a problem with the pattern and some of the pieces didn’t line up, others were the wrong size to fit together. So I sorted that out in paper before cutting my precious leather!
Now, I have to say this. This is my first time using leather. I started the practice with making a couple of card wallets/holders with the Thread Theory pattern, which gave me an idea of how my machine was going to cope with the thickness of the leather and all the layers. It also let me know that there was no way I’d be able to use topstitching or even denim thread. I was going to have to work with just plain old Gutermann. My old Bernina was fine with one or two layers of leather and a 90 leather needle, but three layers required me to turn the fly wheel by hand. The card holder pattern instructions suggest using a light sandpaper to smooth the cutting marks from the edges and to rub them aftewards with beeswax. This seals the edges, so good idea. I used these tricks on the edges of the handles and long strap on the laptop bag.
Now for the bag. I decided I wanted to quilt the main pieces. This would add padding for the laptop to stop it being bashed about, and also make the outer layer nice and sturdy. For the lining I picked out a piece of doggie print cotton from the stash, and paired it with some of the left-over mustard cotton from my Sienna Maker Jacket for the bias trims. The zip for the inner pocket came from the stash, it didn’t need to be white or cream and the red stands out nicely.
The other notions were part of the reason why the Christmas present turned into a birthday present, 3 months later! I had trouble collecting all the goodies I needed. Either they were out of stock, or I just couldn’t get the right size in the right colour in the right material! In the end I got everything from the following suppliers;
I tried out a couple of quilting designs using some batting I’d got free from a local swap group and in the end chose a basic square pattern stitched on a 45 degree angle with 2.5cm spacing. I used a small amount of leather glue on the underside of the leather and smoothed the batting onto it to hold it together while stitching, drew the lines with tailor’s chalk and got going. It worked pretty well! I quilted the font and back main pieces, as well as the gusset. To give the upper sections of the bag support, I fused some canvas interfacing on (minus the seam allowances). So far so good! I cut the handles and strap in two pieces without seam allowances on the long sides and glued them together before sewing them. Basting was done on the macine and I turned the fly-wheel by hand to get through all three layers of leather. Thankfully the machine handled the topstitching of the handles and strap ok without me resorting to turning the wheel by hand!
I wanted the inside to be soft and safe against bumps too, so decided to interface the cotton with some medium weight weft insertion interfacing. It has made the inside feel rather luxurious! So far everything was going together well, zip was in, snaps were in – all good. But, I had to wait for parts and then other projects got in the way! Queue jumpers! Eventually more metal bits appeared and I cleared my head to finish the project. This started the hard part, putting the layers together, leather, batting, leather, interfacing, cotton… In the end, I used many, many clips to hold it all together and sewed it all together by turning the fly-wheel by hand. Let’s just say that’s no fun at all and it results in a large blister!!
There are things I’d definitely do differently if I make another bag with leather. I hadn’t fully appreciated the resulting bulk in certain areas, and would cut more of the bag without seam allowances – there are places where they aren’t needed and they layers could just be stitched together and the raw edges treated. If I’d thought more about how the bag went together in the beginning, a lot of time and effort could have been saved! In the end there were places that my machine just couldn’t get to, never mind stitch through, so I took it off to a local lady with an industrial machine. She managed some of it, but not all. It was up to me to figure out how to finish the bag!
In the end I used an awl and made holes through the almost 1cm of bulk and threaded a handsewing needle with topstitch thread and sewed those bulky areas by hand! I went backwards and forwards and over and over to make sure it was going to hold and knotted the thread nice and tightly afterwards! I hope I’ve done a good enough job!
Then it was time to attach the bias binding to all the seam allowances, as the lining isn’t separate and bagged out – it’s sewed to the outside pieces. I just did this by hand to save a lot of swearing and broken needles later. It took some time to do, but it was totally worth it! The seams are bulky, I beat them to death with a hammer and tried bevelling the edges and layering the seams, but they’re still chunky. Bound in mustard cotton, they don’t look too wrong though.
I’m really rather chuffed with the result – it looks fabulous from far! Just kidding – it looks good close up too! There’s a nice big outer pocket that closes with a magnetic snap, handles for carrying by hand and a nice long adjustable strap for slinging the bag across the body, or carrying on the shoulder. The long zip ensures plenty of room to slide a laptop and notebook in throught the opening without scratching the edges on the zip (another reason why I chose a plastic or nylon zip over a metal one). Inside, the bag has a zippered pocket for things you’d rather not loose, and two large pockets on the opposite side. These are the perfect size for cables, wires and chargers – keeping them away from the laptop and scratching it!
Daughter No1 was super impressed with her laptop bag, and as soon as offices are open again, it’ll be in constant use! In the meantime though, she can use it at home to store all her computer goodies in one place.
Will I make another?? Let me have a year or so to think that over… !