Stash Busting Tops

I thought I’d get started early on the Autumn and Winter sewing, helped by my purchase of some fabric on Instagram from a sewist who was destashing!  I bought three pieces, two of which were perfect for sweatshirts of some description.  I knew immediately that I’d be making another LB Pullover from Paper Theory with the one piece, a mustard French Terry with a white tulip print.  I have many of these tops now, it’s so quick to make, can be sewn in both woven or knit fabrics and fits over just about any tee or blouse I have.  It’s perfect to go over the Olya Shirt too!

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There was just one metre though, which meant I could either have short, 7/8th length sleeves which would leave my wrists chilly, or make a plan with piecing and have warm arms!  In the end, warmth and comfort won out and I made a plan to lengthen the sleeves.  I cut the full length I was able with the fabric available, and just cut what was left + hem allowance out of left over bits.  It’s worked to make it look like I have a cuff – but if I’d had just a smidge more fabric, I’d have cut that section so that it was doubled, and had a real cuff that I could have folded back if I’d wanted to.

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However – I did not have enough and I am very happy with my new top, already worn on many, many occasions!  I never thought I’d be wearing mustard, never mind a fabric with a print like this, but I like it.  It’s cheerful and bright and works with my colouring despite my initial misgivings! (I thought I would make the top for a daughter – not me…)

The second top is the Fibremood Vera, made from the magazine bought earlier this year as an experiment.  I acutally liked a couple of the patterns, but this is the first one I’ve managed to get made up.  The fabric is a grey sweatshirt fabric, with tiny flecks of colour in it.  It’s warm and snuggly and just the right sort of boxy.  The sleeves are 3/4  in length, next time I’ll lengthen them.  They’re also fairly wide – wider than expected.

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The neck on the Vera is interesting, part of why I decided to make this pattern up.  It is faced  so makes it thicker than the rest of the top, but it would be interesting to use up leftovers or even pipe that joining seam.  One thing I’d change next time with the neckline is to lower the front a bit.  You can see in the photos that it’s too high in the front for me, and it gets more annoying as the day goes on.  Another change would be to shorten the top slightly, only about the depth of the hem.

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I made the Large, based on bust measurements, and for this version did not make an FBA.  I might do one next time, but it doesn’t need much.  The pattern was easy to trace and the instructions are interesting – they’re all diagrams!  You can go online and get more detail if you think you need it, but these were ok for me.

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Style Arc Annika top

One more stash bust – this time a Sewing Leftovers project.  I’d made a Uvita top from some lovely soft stripey jersey and had about half a metre left.  I decided to make the Annika top from Style Arc.  I bought this paper pattern aaaaages ago, on one of their Etsy sales.  It’s one of the mulit-size patterns, they only way I’ll buy a Style Arc pattern.  The top has a jersey top half and woven bottom half, sleeves included.  So, I used the stripey blue an white jersey for the top part and some blue poly georgette that has been in the stash for a very long time for the bottom part.

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I shortened the jersey section because I didn’t like where the join hit me, and removed the shirt hem shape too.  This made the top too long on me and just didn’t work.  I like this top though, might need a small FBA again for another time, but it’s perfectly wearable like this.  Style Arc instructions are brief  but you don’t need too much detail to make this pattern.  I made the 14, but I think the 12 would fit better at the neck and shoulders, so maybe a FBA on the 12 would be a good idea for next time!

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That’s it for stashbusting so far, I’m glad I was able to use up these fabrics and make something useful!

Cheesy Monster

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!

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Olya Shirt and Kew Pants

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Wasting no Time!

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.

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Basic Instinct Tee and Teddy Designer Pants

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. 

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That “YASSSS” moment!

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. 

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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!

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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! 

Terracotta – My New Favourite Colour

I’m a fairly safe person when it comes to my use of colour in my wardrobe.  For years I’ve stuck to blues, grey, black and white, and beige.  With variations, but all fairly neutral and all matching.  However, in the last 2 years, another colour has been creeping in – rusty, cinnamon, paprika, terracotta.  It’s a colour that I’ve always liked, but never considered wearing.  It would clash with my hair and freckly face!  But it doesn’t, and it really makes the blues and the black and white in my wardrobe sing!  It’s my neutral with POP!

I bought this fabulous terracotta brushed cotton twill in October, intending to make a pair of cargo-inspired pants, not unlike the pattern in the Burda of September 2020, but when I finally traced and toiled the pattern, I realised it wasn’t for me.  On the whole, I like wide legged pants, but when they’re combined with a wide pleat and cropped length, it turns out they do me no favours!  Which is a shame really, because I liked the look.  No matter, I then decided that I’d rather use the fabric on a  pattern I already liked, had made many versions of, and knew fitted well.  Then I had second thoughts…

terracotta teddy

And those second thoughts lead me to consider a pattern I’ve already used well since buying it – The Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc.  Yup, I seriously considered making them in this twill.  Then I thought again, what other patterns did I have that I’d like to use?  When none came to mind, and I could see a perfect pair terracotta Teddys in my mind’s eye, I knew it had to be done!

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I placed the pieces so as to use as little fabric as possible (I really wish now that I’d bought more than 2m) and got cracking.  Layers are going to show, especially with washing and ironing, so in a small attempt to reduce bulk, I cut one pair of pocket pieces from some African wax.  I really should have had my thinking cap fully engaged and cut the inner waistband pieces from the cotton too, would have saved a little more fabric!  I plan to make a tote with the left-overs, properly interfaced, because no-one wants a stretchy tote bag!

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Anyway, back to the trousers.  Luckily I had the perfect thread from a project last winter left in the stash so didn’t need to pop out to the shop in the cold, buttons and zip again from the stash, although the zip is beige…  You’ll never see it and I highly doubt there’s a matching colour out there.  Once all the pieces were overlocked I set to work and would have finished in the day if it weren’t for an errant headache that wouldn’t go away.

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I really love the finished result, the colour is just heavenly and the fabric so soft and warm!  I wouldn’t have thought to make this pattern in a heavyweight fabric, but it works and the pleat holds nicely.  I actually think a denim pair would be good……

The Kew Pants

Here I am, still sewing trousers! This is the end of the 3m of black cotton twill I bought in London in October, all that’s left are small pieces that I’ll use for pouches or to patch together for a bag or something. This time, I’ve made the Kew Pants from Style Arc. I chose this pattern because I liked the slightly cocoon shape of the legs, and the interesting dart detail on the hem. According to the size table I should be a 14, but knowing that the Teddy Pants fit really well in a size 12, I went for the 12 again!

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The toile revealed that the size was fine, I just needed to shorten the back crotch curve by 1-1.5cm. That’s all!! I didn’t even need to shorten the leg length, and that’s a miracle in itself! After making all the bits and pieces in the toile material, I knew I would be needing to make a lot less bulk in the pocket area, so cut the bags in a cotton and only did the facing and coin pockets pieces in the cotton twill.

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This pattern sits with the base of the waistband on the natural waist, so I guess people will say they are high waisted. The fit is good, I like not having to hoik them up during the day! I have a pair of Burda trousers that also sit on the natural waist, but the waistband is one long straight piece, unlike the Kew Pants waistband which is curved. It’s still one piece, but that curve means it has a little more give – the Burda one is slightly snug as the day goes on. Also, the Burda pattern I made is the size 44, the biggest in the magazine’s non plus-size range. I am able to make the 42 in patterns that do not sit on my “waist”!

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So, back to the Kew. There are two back trouser pieces, adding to the shape. This means you have extra opportunities for fitting. The pockets in the front look really big in the drawings, but are perfectly sized in real life! I French seamed the bottom pocket seam for neatness – and strength. I really like the pockets, they are great for stuffing a phone and mask and card wallet into, and still have space for hands!

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I changed the fly zip by adding the fly facing to the front piece when cutting out, this eliminated bulk in the zip area. All the pieces were overlocked before I started sewing, I like this done first so there is less fraying going on while I’m trying to sew. I bound the curved section of the front leg at the hem before I sewed the dart, it’s made it a bit bulkier than I’d like, but I didn’t like the idea of just turning the narrow hem inside.

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One thing that has shown up in this fabric is that I need to take in the inside leg seams a bit, and maybe adjust the crotch seam, there are some wrinkles that would indicate that there’s too much fabric there, front and back. Funny how it didn’t show up in the toile! Anyway, it’s not affecting me wearing them everytime they’re back in my wardrobe, so maybe I’ll just leave it….

I have made a start on the gorgeous viscose fabrics I got from Rainbow Fabrics, there’s another Asuka Hamada blouse with the ginormous sleeves on my sewing table!

Black Teddy

Trousers – those most important of items in my wardrobe, all year round! I have two pairs of linen Teddy Designer Pants (Style Arc) and wear them constantly in the summer – so it makes sense to have a winter pair as well, right? When we were in London last month, I bought 3m of black cotton twill from a little fabric shop on the Seven Sister’s Road in Holloway. I could have bought so much more, but we squeezed in 2 minutes before closing time and I had to make a quick decision!! I must remember to go back there when we visit the girls again, I know I will buy more, he had lovely linen for the summer!

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I went with 3m, because my late mother in law always said “If in doubt, and you can afford it, always buy 3m!” Wise words, people, wise words. I knew I wanted trousers, just wasn’t 100% sure which patterns I’d use, but I did already have an idea that the Teddy pants would feature. The fabric has a good twill weave, isn’t nearly as thick as denim, but is sturdy and – most importantly, warm enough for winter use!

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Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc

In the end, I decided I’d have both the Kew Pants and Teddy Pants, both from Style Arc, and cut them out at the same time to ensure there was room for all the bits! As it was, I cut the pocket bags from black cotton lawn to cut down on twill useage. It worked out well, because I only had small scraps left after all the cutting.

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The pants went together pretty quickly once I started them, as I’ve made three pairs already, I remembered the things I like to change and the direction of the pleat… It’s opposite to what’s shown on the drawings! I really like this pattern, it’s so nice to wear, and that long, deep pleat really is the bee’s knees!

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The other half isn’t quite as impressed – he doesn’t like the cocoon shape or the cropped length, but… He’s not wearing them!! Personally, I think this is one of my all-time favourite patterns for pants/trousers, and that’s saying a lot! Stay tuned for the Kew Pants, just need photographs – hopefully before I get to sit for most of the day and get them all creased first.

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Spring sewing that’s perfect for Autumn

Way back in February, I decided I’d make the Grace Trans-Seasonal Coat from Style Arc as part of my Great Module Sew Along.  I had 3m of dark dark navy blue twill bought from Fabworks, and I already had the pattern after buying it on a sale, the paper version!  I traced and toiled the size 14 and decided I didn’t like it, but the girls persuaded me it looked better than I thought, but maybe it was just too roomy.  It is a little oversized, with dropped shoulders and no structure, also unlined.  I traced the size down, shortened the body length by 3cm and decided to just go for it!

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Constantly with the hands in the pockets!

I managed to make about a quarter of it when I had to abandon it early in March and travel to South Africa.  So it was still waiting for me when I got back in June, but I had no inclination to carry on with it immediately, it was summer afterall!!  Some summer, I still think that was the wettest, chilliest, windiest summer I’ve had here since the first one in ’97.  However, finish it, I did!  It’s not quite like the pattern, I’ve made some modifications.

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First off, may I just say that Style Arc instructions, drawings and limited online photographs are all different, so you cannot trust any one of those to be right, because they contradict each other.  The instructions that come with the pattern are limited at best, so don’t go there if you’re a beginner who needs hand holding, because it’s not going to happen.  The Grace Coat is supposed to have bound edges, something I didn’t fancy, so I added seam allowance and made it up in the “normal” way.

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The pocket…  Drawings show it as decorative, the instructions and pattern pieces provided imply it’s to cover the opening.  Online pictures didn’t help, neither did emailing Stye Arc, so I made it to cover the pocket opening.  (They have now changed their line drawings so it’s clear the flap is decorative) The line drawings show it as decorative, which is pointless as far as I’m concerned.  The pocket didn’t get a welt in the end either.  The welt pattern piece is too big for the opening, and unnecessary if you have the flap in that position!  You either need the flap, or the welt, unless the flap is to cover the openng, then the welt goes on the other side.  But it’s still too big!  Anyway, by the time I’d got there, I was just a little fed up!  So I left it out and just topstitched.  You cannot see it anyway, with the flap covering.

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The Grace Coat, from Style Arc

You have extra wide seam allowances of 2cm on this coat, which you’re supposed to topstitch from the outside, after turning under the raw edge.  It does look good on the outside, but what a pain to do all that pressing, and measuring, on the inside!  I managed to steam my fingers a lot doing this.  Maybe next time I’ll do a Hong Kong finish inside, and topstitch outside, might look good with a contrast fabric or something with a pattern.

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I like my finished coat, don’t get me wrong, but will I make another?  I’d have to think about that.  In the meantime, it has come in handy this Autumn, the high turn-up collar keeps the wind out!  Apologies for the creases in the photos, this coat is the one I’m reaching for most at the moment with the windy weather, it’s easy to throw on and the pockets are a good size for mask, keys, wallet, etc.

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Perhaps I’ll make one in a waterproof fabric..

My New Favourite Trousers

It hasn’t taken me long to make another pair of StyleArc’s Teddy Designer Pants.  I had a 3m length of black herringbone linen that I bought from Croft Mill ages ago that had been destined for a jumpsuit, but now has made the perfect pair of black linen Teddy Pants.

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Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc

The fabric is a soft, drapey linen, but has good body.  It also attracts every last bit of fluff, dust and feathers…  It was narrower than linen usually is, so I used more meterage than I had done with the green pants.  I had hoped to get another of the Kana’s Standard jackets I made last year out of the remaining fabric, but it’s looking unlikely.  The pants are pretty much the same as the green ones, apart from an adjustment in the back.  I darted the back waistband in line with the trouser darts to take out 2x 0.75cm and enlarge and extend the darts a centimetre and a bit.  The back fits better now, and has less opportunity to “grow” as the day goes on.  I had noticed with the green pair that I was pulling them up more later in the day, so this little adjustment will sort that out.

 

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I changed the order of work, once the front pleats were constructed and basted in place, the centre front was sewn from the base of the zip approx. 5cm.  I had cut the front trouser pieces with the fly facing “grwon-on”.  Basically, the fly facing pattern piece was taped to the centre front of the trouser piece, marked the centre front line with tailor’s tacks and went from there.  The whole fly zip went in like a breeze and looks better finished too.  Then I attached the pocket bags to the side seams and then sewed the front and back trouser pieces together.  It was a pain in the whatsit trying to do the zip after having sewn the side seams first the last time.

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I didn’t alter the length in the end, I’ve decided I like them as they are and I have enough cropped trousers anyway.  I can imagine this pattern will be fabulous in a wool suiting or crepe for the winter too.  I have a feeling that I’ll be buying something to make another summer pair when on holiday!

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Maybe a patterned pair next time?  Stripes??

Here’s another shot of that pleat, just for luck.

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This pattern’s USP, the pleat and cocoon leg shape

 

Spring Green

With the Equinox on the 21st, it’s finally officially Spring here in the UK, and I’ve got a nice new springy green pair of trousers to show off!  I’d been after an interesting pair of linen trousers for a while, and was thinking of drafting something when I took a quick look at the Style Arc website.  They tend to have interesting designs and I thought I might be inspired somewhere along the line.

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Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc

After a fairly short browse, I’d found 2 patterns I liked, one in particular.  In the end, I just bought the pattern!  Now this is my very first Style Arc pattern, despite them being very popular amongst certain areas of the sewing world, I’ve never bought one.  And here’s why.  Up to now, they’ve only been available in your size, although you get the size above and below your chosen size as well.  But – these are seperate patterns, not nested, so it makes blending between sizes interesting, also, if I’m going to be dropping good money on a pattern, I want to be able to make it for more than just one person.  I want more than 3 sizes.  You could also only get PDF download versions in millions of A4 pages to stick together – something I particularly dislike, or wait for the pattern sheets to be sent from Australia, paying postage & customs charges on the way, making this an expensive pattern that had better be good!  It was a pleasant surprise to find that this particular pattern not only came in multiple sizes, but they were nested and the PDF was available in A4 as well as a copy shop version.  Sold!  Now, if they start doing this with all the other patterns, Burda will have a real run for their money!  I wanted a couple more, but they weren’t available in the same format.  No matter, I’ll keep my eyes peeled and hope I can get them later once the multi-size copy shop versions become more available, here’s the link for all the multi-size patterns currently available.

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So, on to this one, the pattern I’ve been rambling about is the Teddy Designer Pants.  Pants, not pant!  Here goes another rant, why only one?  I have two legs, and want a pair of pants/trousers!  *breathe* I fell for the nice deep, long pleat down the middle of the trouser legs, sewn down from the hem and the waistband for about 20cm, the slight cocoon shape to the outside leg seam, the wide, shaped waistband and narrow hem. Basically, all the design features! 😀  I had some olive (bright) green washed linen in the stash that was begging for an interesting pattern, and I had just enough!

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Now, last time I mentioned there has been a little change of measurements around here.  Earlier in the year the #SewMySize hashtag did the rounds on Instagram, showing “ordinary” sewists with their measurements with the hope that indi pattern companies in particular would recognise the range of body sizes and shapes out there and cater to all.  I posted this photo.

But I’ve changed by eating habits and now I have new measurements, which means making different sizes! Woohoo! However, it also means I have a large pile of clothes that I need to make smaller so they don’t fall off me.  I’ll be adjusting for summer, rather than sewing for summer!  So, in the interest of openess and helping you to choose your size, these are the new measurements.

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I traced the 16 and 14, based on those measurements and toiled the 16 to see where I needed to alter the pattern.  Turns out the fit was pretty solid!  The waistband fits snugly on the waist, with the upper edge on the natural waistline.  There was no pulling around the high hip area, which can happen on some trouser patterns.  All I needed to to was to shorten the leg, brilliant!  I love the shape and the pleat, did a little wiggly dance around the sewing room in delight!

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Making was fairly simple, I know some people have a problem with the instructions, or lack thereof, but being a Burda girl I’m used to sparse instructions.  They did read a little oddly though, like they were written by someone for whom English is not their first language.  The zip instructions were weird though, and for the final garment I ignored them entirely and did it my way.  I cannot get my head round instructions that have you put the zip in backwards.  I’ll be changing the pattern a bit for next time around the zip, basically adding the fly facing to the front trouser pattern, this eliminates bulk and gives me more to work with to sew the zip in from the centre front line.  I might also bring the pockets up 2-3cm, but that’s not critical.  I made the pockets bigger though!  They’re too narrow for me, my phone and hand didn’t fit in, so I widened the curve to make more space.  Three centimetres was taken out of the length of the leg.

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Details

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I put the pants on for photos, and didn’t take them off!  I decided they were so comfy that I’d wear them for the rest of the day.  They really are good to wear, even the hubby likes them!  So, as I have yet to start the next Zadie Jumpsuit – in the black linen from the stash, I think I just might use it for another quick pair of these!  That way I have two pairs of pants to add to my suitcase for my holiday!  And I’d better get something else while I’m away for the jumpsuit…