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!

ted and tee 2

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……

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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Resolve

There are a couple of patterns languishing in my stash that I bought on a whim, in a rush or on impulse just after a release date. Then there are those that I have managed to use – not only once, but a couple of times.  I think one of my resolutions for next year needs to be to make use of all the patterns (excluding vintage patterns!!) I’ve bought, or to give them to better home.

I need my patterns to work for me, and preferably not just for one season, although there are centrainly more than a fair few that are definitely seasonally specific!  The Teddy Designer Pants from StyleArc are not one of those.  I decided, back in August, to make a pair in some pale grey marled wool that I’d got from Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham last year (although it may have been early this year).  It was originally earmarked for a dress for one of the girls, but I found it in the winter fabrics boxes and it whispered to me that if I made a pair of trousers that didn’t need much meterage, there would still be enough for a dress…  Needless to say, I listened to that fabric!

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StyleArc’s Teddy Designer Pants in grey wool

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I decided the Teddy Pants would do the trick, with a wider fabric I can get the trouser legs next to each other, only slightly stepped.  I cut one of the pairs of pocket bags and the inner waistband from a different fabric to save fabric, and to have a non-scratchy fabric around my waist.   I was lucky enough to find the perfect couple of buttons in the button box, along with the last grey zip in the stash.  Total stashbusting!  The two pairs I made in linen over the summer have had to be taken in so much that they are basically a size down, so I traced the 12 and just went for it.  Luckily, they fit!  Phew!

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Although I did make a slight mistake…  I was so keen on getting these made and finished that I carefully marked, pressed and stitched that nice long, deep pleat in place the wrong way round.  I only realised when I put the trousers on once they were finished and got caught up in the pleat when my hand went into the pocket!  Oh dear…  But I had other things to make, so the wool Teddy pants were left on the side for a while until I was in the right mood to unpick everything and re-do.  I’d put the pattern pieces away and forgotten which way to press that pleat, so I checked the pattern envelope for guidance.  And what do you know, the images show the pleat pressed towards the inner leg, so I thought it was right…  But definitely not!  The pleat has to go to the outer leg!  I will remember for next time.  One thing I probably need to go back to is to topstitch the pocket opening on the trouser front.  These pocket bags just hang from the side seam, so they have a tendency to flap around.  Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but with a contrasting pocket fabric, I’d rather the pockets didn’t flap about and show that contrast off.

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The cocoon shape legs and that deep pleat are my favourite details of these trousers.

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Close up…

These trousers were supposed to be worn to Daughter No2’s graduation in the middle of September, but with the backwards pleat and warmer than expected weather, they didn’t get their moment of glory.  But, I’m glad I made a wool version, I’ve already worn these 4 times since the cooler weather started!  And the nice thing about using wool instead of linen is that there is no bagging, that pleat stays nice and sharp and I don’t get those big baggy knees that always turn up in the linen versions.  So, a successful winter project so far.  I might look out for some nice rusty, paprika or chocolate wool and make another pair.  Or maybe denim…  😮

grey teddy 4

By the way, this pattern is available in a multi-size PDF format, so instead of just getting your size and the one above and below, in seperate files, you can get size 4-16 or 18-30 in a nested pdf!  It’s the only way I buy StyleArc patterns.

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.

 

black teddy 1

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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black teddy 2

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.

size for blog

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…