A couple of months back I made the Heather Blazer by Friday Pattern Company in wool suiting (that’s the brown blazer in these pictures). I wanted an oversized “dad blazer” and this pattern seemed to tick all the boxes. However, when I had finished making that first version, something felt off. It was, perhaps, too oversized (especially at the shoulders), and I truthfully I think the fabric choice was too much into “dad” territory. That fabric was from Fabworks btw.
However, I felt like this pattern deserved a second chance, and I made it again (with some modifications), this time in a linen/ recycled viscose blend (the blue blazer) from Patterns and Plains (sorry, now sold out). And I am so much happier with this second version, although I will say that I can see from these photos that in both versions the front edges don’t seem to be lying flat: anyone got any suggestions on what to do about that? Should I have taped the edges perhaps? (The blazer fronts and facings are interfaced with a fusible knit interfacing).
I am really glad I gave this blazer a second chance. I wanted a dart-less/ no princess seam front blazer and this one meets that requirement. I already have blazer patterns with princess seams etc. And they are great if you need to do any adjustments. But I specifically didn’t want anything like that on this blazer and the plus size block for this blazer is drafted a D cup so I didn’t need to do a FBA. I like the oversized look, even if it did take me two attempts to get the fit comfortable for me. Check my notes below for full details.
Version one of this blazer was cut as a straight size 2X. I sized down by one size for version two.
Entire separate lining pieces are provided for the (two piece) sleeves, back and side front. Also included is a pattern piece for a back stay. I have never seen a blazer pattern include separate lining pieces for sleeves and I think there is a difference in the way the outer fabric and lining sleeves are drafted possibly to accommodate a shoulder pad? Although the instructions make no mention of adding shoulder pads (but I did).
No lengthen/ shorten lines are printed on the main body pattern pieces, although instructions are included on how to adjust those pieces. Also the bust apex is not marked.
I shortened the body by 2 and 5/8ths inches
I shortened the sleeve by 1 inch. I think I also shortened the sleeve lining by a further 5/8ths inch.
I added welt pockets with flaps to both versions
I swapped the upper and under collar over because the under collar looked bigger to me. I also cut the upper collar on the fold as a single piece.
I added a 1 inch pleat to the back lining
I added extra interfacing to the under collar to shape the collar stand
I used fusible knit interfacing throughout and cut the back stay from muslin. I also extended the length of the back stay on version two so it was below the armholes.
I stayed the shoulders using cotton tape and added shoulder pads
I interfaced all hems
I catch stitched the hem up on the inside
The pattern is designed to have just one button. I added two buttons to both my versions.
For version two I did a 0.5 inch forward shoulder adjustment and a 5/8ths inch small shoulder adjustment
For version two I also bagged the jacket out through the hem rather than the sleeve as in version one so it looks neater when I roll my sleeves up. The pattern has you bag it out through the centre back seam I think, but as I added a pleat to my lining that wasn’t possible.
I got my pattern printed for the first time ever and I used Fabulosew who I recommend. They print on tissue paper which means tissue fitting is possible.
Once you have the fit down this blazer comes together fairly easily and there are not that many separate pieces to cut. I wore the linen one on a recent trip to Slovenia and was very happy with it. I will keep the wool suiting one in my wardrobe for now and see if it gets worn once autumn comes around. Long time readers will know sewing outer wear is something that I love to do and I enjoyed making both of these.
Here’s some fitting/ pattern modification notes on Simplicity 9326 that I recently made. The main thing to note is that I added sleeves to this sleeveless bodice and changed up the skirt. Details below. The fabric is a floral viscose jacquard from Selvedge and Bolts.
I cut a size 18 for the bodice and graded out at the waist
I did a 1 inch FBA
I did a 5/8ths inch forward shoulder adjustment
I did a 0.5 inch sway back adjustment
I did initially also add a little to the back/ side back and side seam allowances but ended up removing that from the side seams
I added puffed sleeves using sleeves from McCalls 7811 (modified to be puffed sleeves), and added 8 rows of shirring to the bottom of the sleeves
I added a gathered skirt from McCalls 7974 but shortened the length of the skirt by 8 inches and added a ruffle to the bottom
I added bra strap carriers to the inside to keep the shoulders secure
Overall this is a well drafted pattern. I’ve been looking for a bra friendly square neck dress pattern and I think this is pretty decent. I did make significant modifications to get the look I wanted but I’m happy with what I got.
Inspite of using the Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress to make tops three times (see here, here and here), I’ve never actually made the dress version. I finally bit the bullet and made it as intended (albeit with the addition of long cuffed sleeves) using some viscose crepe purchased from eBay. Conclusion: love it, and it’s already been worn several times.
This is such an easy to wear dress and I love the adjustable waist. I definitely want to make another version, maybe this time with short sleeves.
This is a size 18 grading out at the waist/ hips
I did a 1 inch FBA
I had previously done a 1 inch full bicep adjustment
I added a 1 inch pleat to the back (had also done that on a previous version)
I removed 7 inches from the length
I made the height of the side vents 10 inches
I added long sleeves with vents and cuffs
I took 2 inches to hem.
Like I say, love this pattern, especially in this drapey viscose crepe (one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear). And the blue animal print feels fresh and fun.
Today’s post features gifted items. Both the fabric and pattern were gifted to me by Sew Essential. If you haven’t come across Sew Essential please do check them out. They are a UK based company that sells not just sewing patterns and fabric, but also a wide range of haberdashery products as well as sewing machines.
I have had my eye on the Closet Core Elodie wrap dress for a while so it was great to have the opportunity to try this pattern out. The fabric I selected is this abstract printed polyester which has great drape and requires zero pressing which means this dress is perfect for travelling and easy care. If you do press, use a medium heat. I do believe that this particular print is also shortly going to be available on a viscose base if that’s your thing. Be warned: this pattern is somewhat of a fabric hog, although you can make the skirt/ sleeves shorter.
Check my pattern notes below, but overall this is a well drafted pattern. The neckline (at least for me) is stable and doesn’t gape, and the skirt affords a good amount of coverage. The only thing I would highlight is that I didn’t like the instruction to hem the centre front of the skirt pieces. My first attempt looked horribly wavy. I unpicked and drafted a facing to finish that area.
Pattern Fitting Notes
I cut a size 18 for the bodice, grading out a size for the waist/ hips. I made view B.
My pattern is from the standard block, but a plus size block is also available with sizes running from 14 – 32 (PDF only). I believe the standard block is drafted for a B cup.
I did a 1 inch FBA and incorporated the dart that arose into the release pleats at the waist. This meant I also had to adjust the waistband and bodice facing to match. I also had to add extra width to the skirt pieces so that matched the bodice.
I did a 0.5 inch forward shoulder adjustment.
I removed 2 inches off the the length of the View B skirt.
I used 5/8ths inch hem for the sleeves.
Thanks to Sew Essential for the opportunity to work with them. This is a great dress moving into Spring.
I’m back sharing a blouse I made using McCalls 8008. This is a bit of a sleeper pattern: it comes with a pattern for overalls/ dungarees/ rompers, but I haven’t seen that many versions of either in the sewing community. I made the blouse and I really like it. But then it’s got ruffles, so what did you expect, lol.
The fabric is a gorgeous ex designer viscose lawn that I purchased from Simply Fabrics Brixton. At the time of writing there were 2 metres left of this fabric on the website. It’s called Mona. I know you perhaps can’t tell, but it has small lame fil coupe accents woven into the fabric. Subtle but glamorous.
This is view A in a size 18. I did grade out at the hem but this was unnecessary. As drafted I found the length of this blouse to be quite long on me. Removing the extra length (maybe 2 or 3 inches?) meant it wasn’t hitting me at my widest point and fitted better.
I did a 0.5 inch FBA.
I removed 3 inches from the length of the sleeves.
I omitted the sleeve tucks and cuffs and instead gathered the sleeve openings to a band.
I had to add a centre back seam to the collar pieces due to fabric limitations.
I used the double yoke burrito method for a clean and stable finish inside.
For next time I would probably extend that front placket to be full length.
I think this is a cute blouse with lots of hacking potential. See you soon.
In an attempt to get up to date with blogging, here goes trying to write and post a blog post from my phone for the first time! (I’m using the WordPress app for anyone interested).
I’ve made this pattern once before (see here), and check below for my modifications to this version. The fabric for this version is a cosy pre-quilted fabric I purchased from eBay. It claims to be waterproof…I would say maybe shower proof. It’s a microfibre fabric quilted to a 135g polyester wadding. I wore this coat for a weekend away last week (sunny but cold Lancaster/ Morecambe Bay – see below for photographic evidence), and it was perfect. Lightweight but warm.
Today I am sharing details of a blouse that I made using a New Look pattern. I just had a look, and I think the last New Look pattern I made was back in 2018. I no longer tend to even consider New Look releases because I find the sizing to be very non-inclusive. That being said, this blouse runs to a UK Size 22, bust measurement 44 inches. Still not very inclusive but was ok for me with minimal alterations.
The fabric is a denim tencel that I purchased some time ago from Just Sew Penrith. This blouse would work best in fabrics with drape. This tencel has plenty of drape but is easy to care for and the denim look keeps things casual.
Overall, I liked how this came together. It’s well drafted and easy to wear. See below for details of pattern alterations.
This is view A, size 18. I did grade out at the hips, but this probably wasn’t necessary after I removed 2.5 inches of length from the body. When the top was longer it was hitting at my widest point.
I did a 5/8ths inch FBA which brought in a bust dart.
I added 0.5 inches at the side seams at the hips but see above – probably wasn’t necessary once I shortened the blouse.
I cut the largest size neck tie and added 5 inches of extra length at either end.
I added a hook and eye at the shoulder opening under the tie. The blouse sits better with the hook and eye holding the shoulder opening closed.
Today I am sharing details of a completely unseasonal sleep set, but one which I am looking forward to wearing when the weather improves. To make this set I used the Helen’s Closet Dressing Robe pattern (pattern no longer available for sale), and the True Bias Ogden Cami, which I have made before (see here for details). The printed fabric is a heavy weight viscose that was in my stash, and the contrast bands were left over scraps from my Hannah dress. I think they work together pretty well.
The Robe has been on my to-sew list for ages. I am very pleased with the outcome but honest opinion: I think there are other robe patterns out there which might be easier to sew. I made the front band as per the instructions to get that squared off corner look, but I’m not sure it’s entirely worth it. If I was making this again I would probably just lengthen the front band to extend all the way down to the hem. I also encountered some issues with the printing of the pattern; things didn’t align and I am just glad the pattern was fairly basic because I had to do some fudging to get things to work. But I do like the finished robe, and the inner ties keep everything secure.
The slip dress underneath is simply a lengthened Ogden Cami. I added 1 inch to the length from my previous versions so check my original blog post for full details of adjustments that I have made to this pattern.
Dressing Robe Fit Details
This is cut at view B. I wish I had kept it at view A. A smidge longer might have been nicer, but it’s still perfectly wearable.
From memory I think maybe I cut the second largest size and graded out over the hips? I didn’t want to have to fiddle with an FBA and I figured just going over sized for a robe would be fine.
I omitted the pockets.
I positioned the waist ties 10 cm down from the arm hole seam. If I was making again I think I would make thread chains or belt loops rather than how the pattern has you do it.
I haven’t sewn the belt in place. I wish I had sewn the belt pieces together before constructing, rather than how the instructions tell you to do it.
I sewed the front band using the “concealed method”, but sewed from the wrong side first, and then topstitched closed from the right side. Next time I would probably just extend that front band all the way down to the hem.
It was Kezia’s 13th birthday this week and after ordering a dress from Zara which just didn’t fit like she wanted it to, I offered to make her one. I made McCalls 8034 (#CoraMcCalls) in a beautiful red jacquard (ex. River Island) from Rainbow Fabrics. The colour is stunning and it washed, pressed and sewed beautifully.
Aside from grading between sizes, I made minimal alterations to the pattern (see notes below). There is boning sewn into the bust and side seams (I used some cotton covered featherlite stuff I had in stash) and the body of the dress is fully lined. All the seams means fitting is easy and small pieces means you can be economical when cutting out fabric. Both Kezia and I were thrilled with the finished garment.
It turns out I could have got away with ordering just two metres of fabric, but I had ordered three metres. So I managed to also cut and sew a bonus pair of lounge wear bottoms from the remaining fabric. I used the free Peppermint Magazine lounge wear pattern which I have made for Kezia before (see here). I didn’t make any alterations from the first pair I made.
I made view B
I cut a size 6 through the bust and sleeves, grading to a size 12 at the waist and a size 14 at the hips
I added 0.25 inches to the seams over the bust and into the top of the front midriff
I did a 0.5 inch sway back adjustment, and added the removed length back at the hem
I shortened the dress by 3.25 inches
I added 0.25 inches to the side seams at the hips
I replaced the ties at the sleeve openings with elastic
I used my machines blind hem foot to hem – first time ever using it!
I did make my own (self fabric) bias binding to form the casing at the top of the sleeves. If I was going to make this again I would narrow that binding down slightly
Kezia had an indulgent birthday celebrating entering her teenage years 🙂 Next big birthday…sweet 16….lol.
Here’s a snap of me and my baby. I am out of order of sharing my makes but the weather just hasn’t let me photograph other makes I have made for myself. Hopefully back soon with those.
Hope you all enjoyed Christmas, if you celebrate. Here’s a quick post to share the last two makes of the year. Is there anything more festive than velvet and sequins? I don’t think so. Let’s dive straight in.
The first item in today’s post is a pair of sequin joggers that I made in the week leading up to Christmas, and which I wore on Christmas day as shown in these photographs. The black sequin fabric (sorry, hard to photograph), has been in my stash for a few years, and I had actually tried to de-stash it with no success. It felt like a challenge to transform it into something that suits my current style but I think I succeeded. I used Simplicity 8389 (modified) to make these pull on sequin jogger bottoms. See my last version of these pants here and the modifications I have made to the pattern (I have made this pattern several times now so search my blog using the pattern number to see all iterations).
Some things that you need to know:
I did not remove any sequins from seam allowances and paid the price with three broken needles. I found switching to a size 100 denim needle helped a lot. It was mainly sewing over intersecting seam allowances which caused issues.
I fully lined the joggers using a knit lining from my stash. I attached the ankle cuffs (heavy weight ribbing from stash) to the sequin leg openings, then sewed the lining over the cuffs and pulled the lining up inside the joggers and basted the lining to the sequin outer before attaching the waistband. This way everything was enclosed with no sequins next to my skin.
When attaching the waistband, I sewed the waistband to the inside first, then brought it to the outside and top stitched it closed. The waistband has a drawstring to secure.
See previous versions for full details of pattern alterations. No adjustments made to this version other than to remove about 1.5 inches from the rise to accommodate the waistband. I also eliminated the pockets to cut down on bulk. I attached a waistband with drawstring closure.
Next up, a cotton velvet top made using McCalls 8040. I have used the bodice and sleeves from this pattern on a couple of dresses, but you can read about the main alterations I made to this pattern here. I didn’t make any other alterations to this version. The cotton velvet was purchased from Simply Fabrics, and appears to still be in stock. I pre-washed my fabric with no issues. It sewed and pressed well. It holds the structure of the sleeves beautifully.
I originally had plans to make a Vampire’s wife inspired midi dress with a pleated trim. I had cut out all the pieces and started sewing it and after the initial try on I just wasn’t feeling it. Right now, I don’t have any formal or even semi-formal occasions to wear such a dress and I decided a top would be easier to wear. So I salvaged what I could and ended up with this top. C’est la vie.
I actually love both pieces. The joggers feel very glam but comfortable. And the top is a good one because it’s dressy but also warm, and I do like the neckline and the sleeves.
So that’s it from me for this year. Thank you dear Readers for your support, likes, comments and advice. Here’s hoping 2022 brings us all prosperity, peace, happiness and much creative joy.