New skirt: The free Peppermint Pocket Skirt in Nani Iro linen

I’ve made a few of the free Peppermint Magazine x collaboration patterns and I’ve had pretty good successes with them. They’re popular for a number of reasons: they’re free* (of course), they’re good basics with a twist, but, most importantly, they’re drafted by good designers. Emily from In the Folds did a ton and this pattern is by Paper Theory, who brought out the Zadie jumpsuit and Olya shirt. I can’t vouch for the early ones, which seem to have much more restricted size ranges, but the ones I’ve made are solid.

The Pocket Skirt is a pretty simple skirt and the principal feature is, of course, the oversized, drapey pockets. There was something about the proportions of the skirt I liked and I saw several great versions on Instagram (check out the #peppermintpocketskirt).

I made the 16, which is a size down for my measurements, but I knew I had quite a bit of leeway because the waist was elasticised and I didn’t want the waistband to be quite so bunched up and bulky as some I saw. I think I made the right choice because I like the way this skirt looks.

The fabric is a beautiful-to-wear Nani Iro linen that I had sitting in my stash from last summer, and I hadn’t found quite the right project for it before. I love the result with this pattern and although there is a whiff of Swiss milkmaid about it, it’s lovely to wear.

Unsurprisingly, it’s very fast to make – just an hour or two and well explained. It’s such a great staple that I’m definitely going to use it again. Perhaps I’ll change up the pockets a bit as they’re so distinctive – but then, maybe not. You can fit some interesting items in them! Overall: a short and sweet success!

*Just recently Peppermint have gently asked for donations, if one is in a position to give something for the pattern, to help through the current challenging conditions. I think this is a very lovely way to do it and was more than happy to do so, but there is no strict requirement.

New skirt: Seamwork Sawyer plus a new Maya top

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I can’t seem to stop making green things, but August has definitely been The Month Of Pink. This weird Covid-19 period has had a whole range of effects on different people, from what I can tell. Talking to my sewing friends, some people haven’t sewn much at all and have found knitting or crocheting to be more soothing during this time. For me, it’s almost the opposite. I’ve had little periods where I couldn’t muster up the creativity for anything at all, but then have almost-manic bursts when I just want to sew 24/7. This has actually proved useful in terms of wardrobe planning, because I’ve ended up making two things that go together, more often than not.

Such is the case for Seamwork’s Sawyer skirt, one of the new September patterns. As I said to Meg at Seamwork when she sent through the previews, I had just pulled out a bunch of midi skirt patterns from my stash as I had exactly this garment in mind for a two-piece late summer outfit and – bam- Seamwork read my mind. I knew exactly which fabric I was using too: this beautiful striped rayon challis I bought from the lovely La Mercerie just before they stopped selling fabric. Can you believe I got both garments comfortably out of 3 yards? Not bad, eh?

The Sawyer Pattern

As I mentioned, the Sawyer is one of two new patterns this month for Seamwork, the other being the Milo cardigan. It’s a midi-length skirt with shaped panels and button plackets. The bonus version omits the front button closure and adds a side zipper. I made the size 16 without any adjustments, although I probably took about an inch off the length.

While grey is not my best colour, this is a deep blue-lilac/grey, which just edges into my preferred colour palette and the bright accent red, pink and tangerine are absolutely great colours for me. I also knew that I wanted to contrast the stripes a little, to avoid looking like a rayon deckchair. I toyed with the idea of cutting the skirt on the bias to get a nice chevron, but since it’s a placket/button front I didn’t think it would be as effective. I settled for a horizontal vs vertical contrast and so cut the skirt on the crossgrain. It was wide enough that I could do that easily. Since the pattern pieces aren’t all straight-edged, it was impossible to get a consistent pattern the entire way round, but it’s still quite pretty.

Construction

The skirt is fairly straightforward to construct – but I did have a few issues with the placket. The challis is a fairly slippery material and I definitely got some slippage when I was topstitching. I would absolutely baste or Wondertape it down another time, because I ended up with two slightly different skirt fronts and had to do a quick fix to make the hem even, which is not the neatest finish.

I haven’t made too many fitted skirts, but, sewing the Sawyer, I came across some of the things that gave me a little headache before. Waistbands and plackets aren’t difficult, but I think I need to hone my skills a bit more in those areas, by making a few more. I still don’t get quite the neat finish I’m looking for, with little raw pieces poking out and not quite catching the waistband evenly on the inside. I didn’t care about it so much when I started sewing, but I’m now somewhere I didn’t anticipate being: I want the insides to look as neat as the outsides. Anyone who is familiar with my housework regime may guffaw freely at that sentence, but, when it comes to sewing, it’s true. Sometimes I get it right and do a good job, but other times I just can’t get it neat enough. I suppose the fact of the matter is that I just don’t do it enough, but I’m going to see if I can find some classes on Craftsy since the last few I watched really helped with finessing intermediate techniques. Any suggestions /recommendations – I’d love to hear!

Looking at the pics, I can see that my lower two buttons are slightly off, so I need to resew them (and I probably should have re-pressed the skirt), but you get the idea of what I was going for.

I feel slightly like a boiled sweet, or Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins, but the great thing is that both these items work really well as separates too and the Maya top is yet another garment I’ve made that matches my recent Dorian trousers, totally unintentionally. Score! Speaking of which, a few words about the top…

Maya top No. 2

This is my second Marilla Walker Maya top and I have waited overly-long to repeat this pattern. The first time I used the “Tessuti hack” that a lot of people go for and added on cuffs and lengthened sleeves, but this time I wanted to try the pattern as intended, which is with short grown-on sleeves. I retraced it and made a couple of other small adjustments from the first time:

First I lengthened the centre front by an inch. As there’s no FBA made on this top I needed to add a little length for my DD bust. The side seams were actually fine, so I curved the adjustment in before hitting them. This also avoided having side seams of different lengths. Normally you can just ease the longer one in, but with stripes you will never match them, so that was another reason to keep the seam length as per the original. It worked fine and appears level from the side.

I also wanted to bring the armhole in slightly, so I traced the 7 at the top, but graded to a 6 as soon as I hit the armhole. This is usually the opposite way to how my adjustments go (I usually have a smaller upper and grade out, but I had already sized down and this top has quite a bit of ease), so I was interested to see how it worked out on this occasion! I knew the rayon challis would have a bit more give than linen as well, so it was a good time to experiment. 🙂 It looks fine, but I’m not sure if I really needed to do it with this top. Keeping the armhole at size 7 might have been just fine (it still represents a size down), so I may revert to the original for the next time.

I matched the stripes at the armhole when cutting (the best place to do this if you haven’t tried before). I used copious amounts of pins when doing the side seams – which are all French seams as per the instructions, making the top all the nicer – and pretty much succeeded in matching this slightly slippery fabric. Finally, I used facings for both the neckline and the armholes as per the pattern and got a great finish on the armholes after I first secured the facing down with Wash Away Wonder Tape (God I love this stuff) and I only wished I’d thought about it for the neckline too.

Overall, the top turned out really great and my love of the Maya pattern continues… next time I really have to make the dress version. The Sawyer skirt is a perfect wardrobe staple of a skirt and I’m sure it won’t be the last time I make it up.

New top: The Cuff Top from The Assembly Line Patterns

You may have seen this top knocking about on Instagram or Facebook, as I have. It’s a simple enough design, but there was something about those cuff sleeves that kept piquing my interest.  Since I have no shortage of simple woven top patterns, I managed to resist until I saw the paper version at Drygoods Design stall at Sew Expo this year (pretty much my last social occasion pre-lockdown) and had a moment of weakness. I’ve made two versions, the second being more of a mash-up with the Maya, and I have some mixed feelings about the project, although mostly positive.

Continue reading “New top: The Cuff Top from The Assembly Line Patterns”

New top: The Friday Pattern Company Adrienne in a Pinterest-inspired outfit

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a subscription to Creativebug and one of my aims this year was to actually use some video classes. I had admired the Friday Pattern Company Adrienne top for a while anyway, so when I saw it was on Creativebug, pattern included, I knew it was time to make me some billowy old pirate wench sleeves.

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I’m sure you might also have seen the Adrienne top around, but, if not, it’s described by the designer as “a fashion forward wardrobe essential. It is a knit top with billowy statement sleeves that are gathered up at the shoulders and hems with elastic. The length is slightly cropped with the hem hitting just below your bellybutton.” Which is all pretty accurate, but I wouldn’t say the top is so cropped on me. More like a regular high hip length. Continue reading “New top: The Friday Pattern Company Adrienne in a Pinterest-inspired outfit”

Working on the bias: Seamwork Dezi skirt and bias Clarke tank

Are you a fabric before pattern person, or a pattern before fabric person? I keep changing my mind as to which I tend more towards, and since I’m trying to pull most fabric from my existing stash, it does blur the lines somewhat. One thing I have discovered recently is that sometimes I know exactly what I’m going to make, whether it’s the pattern or fabric I decide on first, but that I’m also quite happy to allow one or the other to percolate and when the perfect coupling occurs to me, my decision-making is pretty instant.

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Continue reading “Working on the bias: Seamwork Dezi skirt and bias Clarke tank”

New overalls: Seamwork Beckett overalls in the bonus version

As part of the Seamwork Ambassador team, I get to see all the patterns fairly early in the month. I’m not under any obligation to make them, but if one takes my fancy, I have access to it before publication. This month, one of the patterns is the Beckett overalls and I thought they looked like they’d be fun to make!

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Continue reading “New overalls: Seamwork Beckett overalls in the bonus version”

New dress: Cris Wood Envelope dress (Zero Waste)

Something a bit different today, both in terms of style and colour. If you’d asked me 25 years ago if I’d ever wear a caftan, I would have said something along the lines of, “No way! They’re for old ladies” (which was anyone above 30 back then). Fashion is a fickle mistress, however, and that wafting 70s shape is all the rage again (patchouli oil optional). Being older and wiser, I also know that such shapes are often worn by “older ladies” because they are very kind to lumps and bumps and ungroomed Covid legs (who am I kidding – that was de rigeur in my household pre-Covid too), as well as being extremely comfortable and, well… draughty to wear. So I say, hurray! Bring on the caftans! First up:

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Continue reading “New dress: Cris Wood Envelope dress (Zero Waste)”

Seamwork Clarke tank – more adventures in bias and a dress version

I’ve been working on the Seamwork Clarke for some weeks now. So far, I’ve made two tops and two dresses, one of them a fail, which I’ll go into below. There’s a fair bit to talk about: working on the bias vs. cutting on the straight grain, extending to a dress and quite a bit of trial and error, to be honest, so I’m going to split this into two posts. Today, I’m going to write about my first Clarke tank and my two dresses, with a few lessons I learnt about working on the bias. Next week I’ll post my other tank and a bias skirt I’m working on – the Seamwork Dezi – which will hopefully make for a nice duo. Fingers crossed!

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Continue reading “Seamwork Clarke tank – more adventures in bias and a dress version”

New tops: Seamwork Julia tanks with various neckline finishes

Well, it’s been a wee while since my last post! I’ve been working away on various bits and pieces, and they’ve all pretty much been multi-part projects where I’m trying to nail the fit of a wardrobe staple. This post is about my little journey with the knit tank. During this project I had one of those rare golden moments of affirmation that one is not actually bleedin’ crazy, but instead that one has made a very reasonable guesstimate and deduction in the style of, say, Sherlock Holmes perhaps. It doesn’t happen very often.

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Wearing Julia tank No. 2 in the beautiful northern Cascades, WA

Continue reading “New tops: Seamwork Julia tanks with various neckline finishes”

New jumpsuit: Closet Case Patterns Sallie

This was a fun make! I’m on quite a Closet Case Patterns kick right now – I made the Blanca Flight Suit earlier this year and my Carolyn pajamas are alllmmoost done. I cut those out in December! Crazy. Anyway, this jumpsuit is something I chose as part of my loungewear capsule wardrobe, which is slowly nearing completion and coming in even more useful than I anticipated back then! The Sallie is a knit jumpsuit, so it’s extremely comfy for lounging around, but I’m more than happy to wear it out and about too. It’s certainly not a garment that needs to be confined to the house!

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In fact, I wore it to the zoo this week, which reopened at 25% capacity and with full Covid precautions (masks, distancing, etc.), and it made for the perfect exploring outfit. I made my Sallie from this modal knit I got from Lillestoff. I’m a fan of the quality of Lillestoff knits and wanted to try a solid piece after using a patterned length for my Mayfair dress earlier this year. Continue reading “New jumpsuit: Closet Case Patterns Sallie”