adult's clothing · sewing

A Linden question

Actually, I have more than one question.  How many Linden tops have you sewn?  How many have I sewn?  Will I keep sewing this pattern indefinitely?

Grainline Linden top

The Grainline Linden Sweatshirt pattern has been around for what feels like years now. I first blogged about it back in 2015.  I have found four versions of it on my blog – this is number five.  And I reckon that I’ll continue to come back to it.

Grainline Linden top

I’ve sewn this in fabrics of different weights, but prefer the ones that are more long sleeved tee than sweatshirt. This one is in a knit remnant from Super Cheap Fabrics – I just couldn’t resist those colours and the abstract print!

Grainline Linden top

It’s easy fit and easy sew. The neckline is is a great depth, and finishing the sleeves and hemline with bands is always something I like to do. From the pattern website: The Linden Sweatshirt gives a modern update to the classic sweatshirt. Featuring a relaxed fit, raglan sleeves, and a graceful slightly scooped neckline, this sweatshirt is perfect for fall layering. View A features long sleeves with cuffs and falls to the mid hip with a lower ribbing band while View B hits at the high hip and has short sleeves. You can also mix and match sleeve and body lengths to create multiple versions of this sweatshirt. Techniques involved include sewing with knits, straight seams, and attaching ribbing.

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As you can see, I sewed the long sleeved version with the longer body, and used self-fabric rather than ribbing as bands.  It still worked just fine in this knit, but I might do differently if I was sewing it in something of a sweater knit weight.  Assembly was all on the overlocker, with the machine only used to secure the seam allowance of the neckband.

Grainline Linden top

Definitely a great pattern to have in your collection.

adult's clothing · sewing

Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan

I feel as though I might be one of the last people to sew the Blackwood Cardigan.  There are SO many great examples of this pattern on the internet and instagram!

Helens Closet Blackwood Cardigan

This cardigan is described as follows: The Blackwood Cardigan is a cozy and versatile addition to your wardrobe. Designed with layering in mind, it has minimal excess fabric in the front and a close fit around the neck and shoulders. It’s fitted shape and extra long sleeves make it perfect for wearing under jackets and vests, while also looking stylish over tank tops and dresses. View B ends at the hips, while View A extends down to the mid-thigh and includes patch pockets at hand level. The Blackwood is intended to be worn open and is not designed to close at the front. Recommended Fabrics: Light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least 40% stretch widthwise and 20% stretch lengthwise. Try a cozy sweater knit or french terry for a warm layer or make it in jersey for a lightweight cover-up. blackwood_front-1 This cardigan delivers everythng that it promises.  Firstly, there is no hemming involved.  Sleeves, front edges and the bottom hem are all finished with bands.  If you left off the pockets you could sew the entire garment on the overlocker and not even need to thread the regular sewing machine.  I find that bands give a really nice finish, as there is a double layer of fabric that provides stability and a tad of structure.

Helens Closet Blackwood Cardigan

That said, I did thread up the machine because not only did I add the pockets, but I topstitched down the seam allowance of the front bands.  The topstitching decision really would depend on the type of fabric that I was using. In this example I was sewing in ponte from Eliza Fabrics.

Helens Closet Blackwood Cardigan

Unfortunately I didn’t have any matching overlocker thread in my stash. My new Juki really doesn’t like the cheaper Birch thread that I tended to use in the old one when I needed ‘unusual’ colours. It wants quality cones of thread! I need to head into M. Recht and purchase some overlocker thread in a khaki green, because it’s not actually an unusual colour in my sewing! Some orange might be a good idea too. Anyway, in the end I used grey. It’s the only thing that I am disappointed with in regard to this cardigan – when it flaps open, you can see that the thread doesn’t match. Dammit.

Helens Closet Blackwood Cardigan

Otherwise, this is a wonderful addition to my wardrobe! Size wise I think that I sewed size 14 in the B cup option. This pattern comes in a signifance range of sizes, from 0 to 30, with a B or D cup draft depending on which end of the size range it is. It’s a few months since I sewed this, but I also think that I shortened the sleeve length a couple of inches.

Helens Closet Blackwood Cardigan

I’ll definitely sew this pattern again. I really like a long-line cardigan, and the slimmer sleeves of this one make it extremely wearable. No accidental dipping of sleeves into your food! I would also like to give the shorter cardigan a try. Some clothes combinations look better with a shorter overlayer rather than a longer one. And obviously I could try it in different knits rather than sticking to the ponte that has worked so well here.

Helens Closet Blackwood Cardigan

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Shrinking the Aeolian tee

A few years ago I sewed Clare a loose tee in a neutral striped viscose knit.  She wore it over and over and over – so much that it’s actually completely worn out (let alone grown out).  She’s been asking for something similar to replace it – something neutral that would go with lots of clothes, a bit boxy with a sleeve, and in a comfortable viscose knit.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian tee at 90 percent

I chanced upon this fabric on the remnants table in Tessuti back on AFL grand final day, and was certain that it would tick the appropriate boxes. Unsurprisingly, the tee pattern that came to mine was the Aeolian tee, by Pattern Fantastique. I have sewed this tee many times for myself (always in knits, although Anna tends to sew hers in wovens) and thought that it would work well for Clare too. But, Clare is rather small. Her shoulders/chest/bust are really a women’s size 6. Size Small in the Aeolian was likely to be too big for her. What to do?

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian tee at 90 percent

Another light bulb moment! Print the pattern at 90%! That would make it a bit smaller all over (Clare is about 160cm tall – yes, a couple of centimetres taller than me) and hopefully give her the boxy but not way oversized fit that she was after. And as you can see, it worked perfectly. This is the size Small, but printed at 90% of actual size.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian tee at 90 percent

I really do love the deep sleeve and body hems of the Aeolian. They give it structure and support. Very nice. There is also a facing like piece on the back body that gives a nice topstitched detail. If you look closely you can see the twin needle topstitching.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian tee at 90 percent

It’s not possibly to stripe match across both the front and back raglan sleeves. I’ve stripe matched the side seams and almost the back raglan sleeves (not perfect, but adequate). I cut the pieces so that the finished edges would have a fine black stripe running along them, and highlighted some of the seamlines and the neckband with twin needle stitching.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian tee at 90 percent

Pattern Fantastique says: The Aeolian is the perfect boxy cotton tee, as tall as it is wide. It has a square shaped sleeve, strategically inserted to the armhole for maximum 3D body. Sized down, it makes a perfect sheath. Neat, but not tight. Excellent in a glamour knit for a super clean, mini, cocktail dress. Sized up it responds with mega drapes and kaftan-esque volume.

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I have a very strong feeling that I’ll be sewing this pattern for years and years to come, both for me and for my daughters.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian tee at 90 percent

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Hilary top

When I bought the Tessuti Hilary top pattern I was thinking of my teenager.  After all, I’m not likely to wear a peplum top.  But she wasn’t keen on it.  Then I spotted a version sewn without elastic in the waist, and a light bulb went off in my head. Just lengthen the body and leave off the peplum and waist elastic!

Tessuti Hilary top

I cannot say just how much I LOVE this top.  It’s just what I envisaged!  It has the fun shoulder and sleeve hem treatment, and my preferred silhouette. This version isn’t perfect – but I’m not going to point out the imperfections at this stage!

Tessuti Hilary top

Tessuti describe the pattern as follows: this pretty, peasant style top features a bloused bodice, pleated peplum, boat neckline, gathered waist and sleeves with gathered wrists. The perfect item to up, it can be worn with pants, shorts or skirts. Recommended fabrics: Suitable for woven fabrics such as lightweight linen, cotton poplin, cotton voile, cotton eyelet, silk crepe de chine and viscose.

Tessuti Hilary top line drawing

I made life ever so slightly more difficult for myself by choosing to sew it in silk.  Yes, that scrumptiously beautiful fabric is silk, and it’s as delightful to wear as it looks.  All my colours, and the type of bold print that I prefer.  So many thanks to the generous friend who knew that I would adore it!  There was just enough fabric to squeeze out the top – the finished body length was entirely dictated by the amout of fabric available.  As well as lengthening the body I widened it into a slight A-line shape (also entirely dictated by the available amount of fabric).

Tessuti Hilary top

There really wasn’t much to the construction! Front, back, raglan sleeves, front and back neckline facings. The elastic at the top of the shoulder was easy to insert and gives lovely gathers. I used french seams for the body and sleeve seams. The sleeve hems are finished with a casing for elastic. Easy peasy! The only thing that I would do differently next time is to lower the front neckline a couple of inches. It feels a fraction too high during wear.

Tessuti Hilary top

I may also consider sewing a size smaller next time. I have a feeling that I sewed size Large, but the Medium would have been okay. Maybe. The hem was secured by machine with a narrow double fold. Given that this is a special fabric, I could have considered a hand-rolled hem. Maybe I would if I were sewing it from a similarly luxurious fabric in future.

Tessuti Hilary top

It’s worth doing a trawl of the Instagram tag for this pattern or of the internet in general to see the different versions that are popping up. It’s lovely as designed, and is also easy to sew with variations to the body – like mine – or with altered sleeve length. I do rather fancy trying a linen or a voile version with a shorter sleeve for summer.

Tessuti Hilary top

This top is definitely on my top ten – maybe my top five – list of finished garments for this year.  I feel absolutely fabulous every time that I wear it.

Tessuti Hilary top

adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Sunny – this time in animal print

Style Arc Sunny top

Hello there! I’ve sewm the Style Arc Sunny top before, and I bet that I will sew it up again. This time I used double brushed poly knit that I found at Rathdowne Fabrics.

Style Arc Sunny top

That’s quite an amazing print! I find the variation in ‘big cat’ prints really quite astounding. This one seems to combine the usual replication of the spots found on the coat in a way that makes it look like there are folds in the fabric. Very clever.

Style Arc Sunny top

This fabric is very soft and comfortable to wear, although I find that it sticks to itself a bit when being sewn. Construction on the overlocker, as usual, with the machine being used to twin needle the hems and to secure the neckband seam allowances. From the pattern website: This is a new shape for a knit top. The oversized look becomes very flattering because of pattern drafting and the cocoon shape which is the new on trend look. Try it, you will love it!! FABRIC SUGGESTION Slinky knit, any drapey knit.  

sunny-top

In my experience you do need a knit with plenty of stretch for this top, probably four way stretch, because the sleeves are very fitted (to balance the rounded body shape).

Style Arc Sunny top

I’ve also seen this sewn without the sleeves to wear in warmer weather.  Must give that a shot at some stage!

adult's clothing · sewing

MIY Collection Kinder Cardigan

I bought the book Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics by Wendy Ward a little while ago.  It’s a terrific book full of basics that can be sewn in a number of variations.  I’ve already sewn the Derwent Trousers.  Now it was time to give the Kinder Cardigan a go.

Wendy Ward Kinder cardigan

Oh, it’s that wool blend knit from Clear It again! I think that I have now used up every last scrap. The patterns from the book need to be traced before use, but the Kinder Cardigan is now available as a stand alone pdf.  From the website: The Kinder Cardigan is easy to wear, easy and quick to sew and is a great “between seasons” garment. Make yourself one and it will quickly earn its place in your wardrobe as one of your go-to pieces.  You can make the cardigan in three lengths; short, which just skims the hip bone; mid-length, which comes to just below hip; or full length, which is just below knee length and looks great with more fitted styles such as skinny jeans. There is also a choice of short or long sleeves, both finished with a cuff, and for the two longer versions you can add roomy patch pockets. Once you’ve tackled some basic versions, have a go at mixing and matching fabrics with some color-blocked panel details.

As you can see, I chose to sew a long version, with long sleeves and a cuff.  I considered adding the patch pockets, but didn’t.  Maybe I was just being lazy?  All construction was on the overlocker, with topstitching in machine to secure and stabilise the seam allowances and add a touch of detail.

Wendy Ward Kinder cardigan

My one regret with this cardigan is that I didn’t have overlocker thread in a matching colour. I used grey, which seems to be a good default when you don’t have something the same but the non-closure nature of this cardigan means that it easy flaps open and the overlocker thread colour can be spotted.

Wendy Ward Kinder cardigan

It definitely meets the warm and snuggly brief. Actually, I feel a bit like I’m wearing a dressing gown…maybe it’s a garment that will do double duty? I think that next time I use this pattern I should probably sew a size smaller than I did this time (not that I can remember off hand what size that was).

Wendy Ward Kinder cardigan

This pattern can also be sewn in woven fabrics, and looks quite different depending on the fabric it’s sewn in and the choice of sleeve and body lengths. Very handy to have in your pattern arsenal.

adult's clothing · sewing

The unmodelled

I’ve been trying to use up odd sized fabric leftovers this year.  It is a great way to try out new patterns and sew maybe wearable muslins, and it pushes me creatively.  I thought it was better that I get them blogged than wait until I get modelled photos (which might never happen).  For instance, this top was sewn in January!

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This is the Pattern Emporium Crush On Me tee in the scoop neck version.  Isn’t that fish fabric fabulous!  It came from Clear It a couple of years ago.  I think that I only have the smallest of scraps left.  I didn’t have enough to use the same fabric on the back, or for the bands, so found other small pieces of knits that coordinated to use instead. I had to add a seam down the centre back.

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As you can see, this is a very simple top pattern.  There really isn’t much to it!  The pattern website describes it as follows: The Crush On Me Tee is going to be your new best friend. Oversized to perfection with just the right amount of slouch and some subtle shaping to have you looking feminine, relaxed and cool as a cucumber!  STYLE OPTIONS: Choose from tee, tunic or dress, scoop or boat neck, hi-lo or even hem, plain or pleat detail back. FABRIC SUGGESTIONS: Designed for stretch knit fabrics. The best fabrics to use are knits with drape & fluidity in both 2-way & 4-way knits. Options include rayon elastane jersey, polyester spandex, poly/rayon spandex, ITY jersey, wool jersey, rayon/bamboo elastane knit, rayon jersey, Boo! spandex. COTTON LYCRA IS NOT SUITABLE for the main part of this top but is suitable for the arm & neck bands because it tends to make an oversized garment look bulky. 

Now what amuses me is that of course despite the fabric suggestions, that fish fabric that I used on the front IS cotton lycra.  Whoops!  And the top did feel about a size too big on me.  It’s been given away now.

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Now, this tunic really did take some pattern tetris to cut from the small amount of quilted knit that was available! It’s Vogue 9275, and you can see my previous rendition of this pattern here. The cowl neckline is in striped ponte; I had just enough of it from a previous project.  This tunic adds some warmth at those times when I don’t want two lots of sleeves.  Unfortunately I did have to shorten the cap sleeves a little to fit the pattern pieces on to my fabric, and this tunic doesn’t sit quite as comfortably in wear as the first one that I made.  I’ll use this pattern again; I’d like to try this tunic in a lighter, softer, drapier knit, and try it without the cowl. The pattern also includes a jacket, leggings and pants – it’s very good value.

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And here we have a Cashmerette Washington dress!  I really wasn’t convinced that this pattern would work for me (and to tell you the truth, I’m still not convinced – although I reckon that if I got the proportions just right for me it would be something that I could sew over and over).  But it’s certainly a great pattern for using up smaller pieces of fabric!  The jacquard ponte-type embossed knit that I used for the top was left over from a friend’s Sewjourn project one year; the waist inset is ponte, and the skirt is woven wool remnant (possibly from Rathdowne Fabrics).  I sewed size 12 C/D bodice, grading to 14 through the waist.  And yes, it fits me, but no, I’m not thrilled.  All. That. Black.  I think that I need to raise the waist inset.  Anyway, it’s still in my wardrobe, and I might take it to Sewjourn and ask my sewing mates to repin the waist seam to a better position for me then reassess.   The upper bodice fit is lovely.

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This tunic is made from what it looks like it was made from – a blanket!  It’s soft and definitely garment weight.  I picked it up at Restash; the colours and just perfect for me.  I used Lekala 4610 for the general shaping, especially the neckline and associated facing, and adapted it a little to have all the hems end on the fringe.  This tunic has been very warm and fun to wear.

I’ve actually got about five warmer weather tops to share that are currently only modelled on Ada, but I might make a concerted effort to get photos of those.  The year is not yet over!