sewing

Lekala 5088 – the free three seam skirt pattern

I recently made a Lekala jacket that is absolutely FANTASTIC!  And I will blog about it – but it is a blog post that will take thought and effort and consideration because it took quite a while to figure out the lining.  Feeling rather emboldened by my jacket success, I quickly moved on to Lekala’s three seam skirt pattern, number 5088.  This pattern is free, by the way.

Lekala 5088 three seam skirt

The reason I was so keen to give this pattern a go was because of that “full hip” (aka pot gut) measurement that is part of Lekala’s measurement system nowadays. My body shape is short waisted and thick waisted with a definite pot gut. This makes fitted woven skirts quite challenging to fit. The fabric was wool scraps from stash, left over from this shrug. I had nothing to lose by giving it a go!

Lekala 5088 three seam skirt

Considering that I made this skirt from scrap fabric, and stash lining, and a stash button, and a stash zip that didn’t actually match, can you believe that I actually hand-picked the centred zip? I can’t! I started off by sewing it in by machine, but it looked terrible. I wasn’t prepared to leave it as it was considering that the rest of the skirt was coming along so nicely. So I sat down with my unpicker, unpicked the zip, then set it in by hand. It was surprisingly fast to do and way more accurate, giving a much nicer finish overall. Which is a bit funny, because no-one will ever see it other than in these photos. I never tuck my tops in!

Lekala 5088 three seam skirt

So, now you can see how it fits! I delayed this blog post because I wanted better photos, ones taken at the beginning of the day instead of at the end of the day when there were wrinkles from wear. Then I realised that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, so to speak, and decided to just go ahead with the photos that I had. You can see the fit from the front in the photo above. From the back in the photo below:

Lekala 5088 three seam skirt

And from the side:

Lekala 5088 three seam skirt

Now I am of course sucking my gut in for these photos, but I have to say that this is the best fitting straight woven skirt that I have made for an extremely long time. Possibly ever.  It was incredibly comfortable to wear at work all day, and none of the creases in the photo are fitting problem wrinkles, believe me. I left out the centre back slit as the skirt length didn’t necessitate it. The instructions are typical Lekala, so are all written and translated and can be confusing, but any good dressmaking book can help you with the construction of a skirt like this one if you need assistance.

Lekala 5088 three seam skirt

If you haven’t sewn from Lekala patterns before, this free pattern could definitely be the gateway drug – especially if you have a shape that isn’t quite “typical”. Go on, give it a go!  If I can make a skirt like this one as a wearable muslin, imagine what else you could make!

Sydney in green

I think that most of us have an affinity for particular pattern lines, especially when it comes to independent pattern lines.  The large companies like Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, Kwik Sew, Simplicity, Burda and New Look tend to cover lots of bases in terms of style and aesthetics, although they definitely not exactly the same as one another.  In fact, they do have different tag lines to differentiate themselves.  Vogue’s is “the exclusive source for designer sewing patterns”, Butterick are “the world’s first name in sewing patterns” and McCalls claim to be “sewing patterns for today’s fashion trends” and Kwik Sew have “making sewing a success”.  This all says a little about how they position themselves in the sewing pattern market.  Independent pattern companies position themselves in different ways.  Some design for a particular shape, like Sewaholic who design for a pear shaped figure and SBCC who designs for short women.  Others design particular types of clothes, like Jalie who specialise in sports wear.  Ottobre have what appears to me to be a distinctly European aesthetic.  Style Arc say they are “the fashion industry secret that keeps you ahead of the rest”.  You could go through a huge list of companies and work out who they are primarily designing for.

So the point of this?  I think that Tessuti design patterns for people like me.  They don’t explicitly state it, but they design simple shapes with nice details that appear to be drafted for – dare I say it – an Australian middle-aged woman’s body.  Their styles don’t look remiss on younger women or older women, as they are fairly classic but are not staid and traditional and they definitely have a modern, inner-city vibe (whatever that really means!).  I really, really like most of what they design. Which brings me to the Sydney jacket!

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

First, the description from their website. This oversized, draped jacket features a relaxed collar, back yoke, extended cropped raglan sleeves and side pockets. This jacket is ideal for layering over garments and is the perfect cover-up for the autumn/winter months. Ideal made up in boiled wool knits, ponti knits, boiled felted wools and neoprene fabrics. IMPORTANT: Not suitable for woven fabrics that fray when cut.

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

As the description says, this jacket is constructed without edge finishes. The seams are overlapped rather than sewn right sides together (except for the side seams).  That’s why they recommend fabrics that don’t fray when cut. However, I’ve now seen some wonderful versions in other wovens; the fraying just needs to be taken into account when they are constructed, and either used as a feature on some seams or the construction methods need to be varied. Anyway, I used a fabric that doesn’t fray. Despite owning and sewing many garments from Tessuti patterns, I don’t actually use a lot of Tessuti fabric – way out of my budget most of the time! This fabric is a beautiful wool/cashmere blend that I actually found in my stash! I think it was a gift from Jodie one Sewjourn a very ong time ago – and unsurprisingly I was thrilled that there was enough of it when I went stash diving for this jacket.

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

After considerable deliberations I made a straight size Medium. Although it’s an oversized style, I needed to make certain that it would fit well across the shoulders. I could possibly have made the Small, but feel that the Medium doesn’t look too big.

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

Construction was simpler than I had anticipated. You definitely need to get that chalk pencil out and mark a big cross on all the wrong sides of the fabric pieces, and take things one step at a time in order to jigsaw all the pieces together. I’d have liked a few more markings on the pattern pieces to let me know what edge went with what, but figured it all out without much difficulty. Just don’t rush!

Tessuti Sydney jacket in wool cashmere from deep stash

Like others, I had wondered what the point was in a winter jacket with short sleeves and no lining or closure – but it’s actually been very warm and snug to wear, especially given that Melbourne is so well heated indoors during winter. Thumbs up for this pattern! If it wasn’t such a distinctive style (and if I didn’t have about 497 jacket and coat patterns in stash) I’d even make it again.

Which pattern lines do you have a particular affinity for – and do you know why?

yet another Finlayson sweater

I promise that this is the last Finlayson sweater that I will make and blog until at least next year!

Thread Theory Finlayson sweater in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This time I used a cotton sweater knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I took a long time to cut this out, taking care to match all the stripes. Except – there is always an except, isn’t there? – I didn’t realise that there was actually a fault in the fabric and one of the grey and white stripes was narrower than the others. This made it absolutely impossible for me to match the fabric at the side seams. Bummer! However, if I hadn’t told you, I doubt you would notice. If you look carefully at this next photo you can see the problem. The rest of the fabric was fine, and it only affected the front piece.

Thread Theory Finlayson sweater in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Once again this was constructed almost entirely on the overlocker. I made sure to interface the collar piece, and it sits beautifully as a result. I also used the machine to topstitch around the edge, and to sew the collar pieces to the body before overlocking the edges. This fabric started to ravel as soon as it was cut into, unsurprisingly, so the overlocker was a must for the rest of the seams.

Thread Theory Finlayson sweater in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Blog posts and details on the other Thread Theory Finlayson sweaters that I have made are here, here and here.

Thread Theory Finlayson sweater in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape

I have had the Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape pattern in my stash for a little while, but I think that it was seeing Sarah’s lovely version that pushed me over the edge into making it.

Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape

The pattern description is as follows: Take a little stroll in this simple, chic, fully-lined cape. With buttons (or snaps) at the sides and the front, it’s easy on and off, and comfortable to wear when there’s a little chill in the air.

I sewed mine in vintage wool from deep stash; a lovely soft fabric that originally belonged to the mother of a friend. I wish I had paid more attention to stripe matching when I cut it out; although I managed to line up the blue stripes I failed to realise that it was an assymetrical stripe and didn’t align the black or white.

Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape in vintage wool

I lined the cape with a slippery poly satin from stash. Because this jacket is lined edge to edge with the outer it’s important to understitch carefully to stop the lining from showing. I also topstitched around the entire hem edges for extra security.

Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape in vintage wool

There is a facing at the back neck edge, but that is all. It wouldn’t be difficult to draft facings for all the hem edges if you were so inclined, however. The buttons are vintage, also from deep stash.

Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape

One of the problems created by letting blog posts lag so far behind the actual time of garment construction is that I tend to forget some of the details. I think that I made this in size 12 throughout, although it could have been a 10. My measurements are closer to the 14 at the moment. I’m pretty happy with the overall fit – although fit is clearly not a big deal in a garment such as this.

Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape

This turned out to be a much more pleasing garment than I had originally anticipated. It was an impulse sew one evening after seeing Sarah’s cape, and I’m very glad that I took the time to give it a go. There is also a kid-sized version of this pattern for those who want to wear a bit of “mommy and me”.

Simplicity 1366 as a jumper yet again

Simplicity 1366 is really doing the rounds of the sewing blogosphere at the moment.  Anna has just blogged a beautiful version (that I was very tempted to steal when we were at Sewjourn until I remembered that she sews a smaller size than me) and I have made it twice before.  I really like the jumper version that I made, so when I came across some scraps of this unusual green/black/metallic gold knit in my stash that were just enough for another 1366, I decided that it was destiny.

Simplicity 1366

Once again the length of the sleeves was rather random. I just cut another four inches or so – maybe it was five – then did a simple turn and zig zag hem. I sewed a straight size 12 otherwise. Unlike many I have left the length as per the pattern. I’m still getting used to letting contrasting layers peek out underneath.

Simplicity 1366

I suspect that this is actually the “wrong” side of this fabric. The other side is much greener, but also much more metallic. For this top I was aiming at something a little more subtle. You can see the other side in the Vogue jacket that I blogged here. I used a strip of the same fabric like a bias facing around the neckline, stitching it to the right side then turning it to the inside and top stitching.

Simplicity 1366

I suspect that without the sewing blogosphere many would have overlooked this top pattern, instead focusing on the rather dramatic skirt that is included in Simplicity 1366. There are still many more renditions of this in my future, including in woven with shorter sleeves for summer. Highly recommended.

and another Molly

Yes, it’s yet another repeat pattern.  Style Arc Molly.

Style Arc Molly top

This time it’s in a stretch poly/spandex crepe, possibly from Spotlight. Size 12, no alterations other than leaving the front tuck off. And on me instead of Ada who has a whole lot less of a winter coat:

Style Arc Molly top

The pants are Style Arc Barb in Style Arc bengaline. I wore this to work with a jacket over the top. Draws less attention to the muffin top.  These are end of the work day photos so you get the see the garments at their most worn.

Style Arc Molly top

The amount of ease in this top is perfect for me for work. Not oversized, not skin tight. If you have more waist and less stomach than I do – but more hip – you might want to shape it a bit more. The slight cowl is highly wearable.

Style Arc Molly top

Details of my first Molly top are here.

Another Plantain

Remember, this blog is a sewing journal – so it’s not all about the readers!  I am compelled to record that I made yet another Deer & Doe Plantain tee.

Deer & Doe Plantain tee in poly crepe knit

Essentially the same as every other Plantain I have made; a blend of sizes from bust to waist to hip (essentially removing all waist shaping). I really like the scoop of the neckline on this tee. Fabric is a teal stretch poly/spandex crepe, possibly from Spotlight? A terrific layering piece as it is fitted but skims rather than clings.