sewing

winter Aeolian

The Aeolian tee is not just for summer!

Aeolian tee in wool jersey

I had some dark brown Gorman wool knit from Clear It left over after making a Harper jacket. I wore the jacket quite a bit last winter/spring, and knew that it was a warm fabric. There was just enough left for an Aeolian tee for winter layering.

Aeolian tee in wool jersey

I sewed size Medium, as per usual. The deep hems are secured with a twin needle, as is the neckband.

Aeolian tee in wool jersey

I nearly ruined this with a too-hot iron. There is clearly a synthetic component to the fabric. I thought I realised just in the nick of time, but in these photos can still see some slightly shiny patches. Aargh!

Sea Change Top

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer:  I pattern tested this top.  Which means that I didn’t pay for the pattern.  I provided the fabric and my time free of charge.  This was all done willingly because I liked the style of the pattern and I also like the designer.  I think that I’m still able to give an unbiased review, but according to research the simple act of being given something does influence you, whether you think it does or not, so take this blog post as you will.  There’s a well researched and thought-provoking series about this and how it applies to sewing blogging over on Zoopolis here, here, here, here and here.  Anyway, I’ll let the photos tell the story!

Test sew - Sea Change top by Lily Sage and Co ini viscose jersey from Tessuti

I love a knit top. I love a loose knit top. And I love a top that can be constructed entirely on the overlocker.  In around an hour.

Test sew - Sea Change top by Lily Sage and Co ini viscose jersey from Tessuti

Debbie of Lily Sage & Co, who designed this top, is very tall and very slim, so I was curious to see how it would work on 158cm plumpish me. I have to say that I think that it works very well! I sewed a straight size Large as per my measurements and made no alterations at all. That’s how I usually do things if I am pattern testing – I think that feedback on the pattern exactly as it stands is important.  From the pattern page:


The Sea Change top is loosely fitted, with wide kimono sleeves. The hem is designed to fall just below the natural waist for a modest, cropped look that will both complement and showcase high waist pants and skirts.  The top length can easily be lengthened through the top. The armbands and bottom hem band can also be altered in length for different looks.

Recommended fabrics
Light to medium weight, drapey fabrics will be the most flattering choices for this top. Options include knit fabrics like jersey, viscose, and rayon. Woven fabrics like silk satin, silk crepe de chine, and habutai will also suit this pattern. Extra fabric may be needed to match plaids, stripes or directional prints.

Test sew - Sea Change top by Lily Sage and Co ini viscose jersey from Tessuti

This is definitely loosely fitted, and I could possibly have made the size Medium, but I think that the Large is absolutely fine. I used one fabric throughout, but the arm and bottom bands can be made in a contrast. The pdf pattern went together well, and the instructions were very thorough.

Test sew - Sea Change top by Lily Sage and Co ini viscose jersey from Tessuti

The fabric is a rayon/lycra jersey remnant from Tessuti. I pre-washed it (as I do most garment fabrics) and I have a very strong suspicion that it is going to fade and pill very quickly. I love the colours and the drape but am quite uncertain about the quality of this fabric. I won’t be happy if it deteriorates after just a couple of wears!

Test sew - Sea Change top by Lily Sage and Co ini viscose jersey from Tessuti

There is a discount code for Lily Sage & Co at the moment. It also applies to the Twirl To Me dress, which I pattern tested as well. I’ll get it up on the blog once I have some better photos.  This is a top pattern that I will definitely use again.  I’ll be interested to try it in a woven.

Test sew - Sea Change top by Lily Sage and Co ini viscose jersey from Tessuti
My husband has named this my “woman on fire” top!  The rest of my outfit is all from warehouse outlets: skirt from Mesop; necklace from Elk; tights from Mesop; shoes from Diana Ferrari.

Tessuti Mandy boat tee

Now first of all – I didn’t actually make this tee!  I was going to, I have the (free) Tessuti Mandy boat tee pattern, but when my friend Karen offered it to me because she thought it would suit me better than her, I wasn’t going to say no.

Tessuti Mandy boat necked tee

This tee has definite similarities to the Grainline Hemlock tee (also a free pattern), but there are some subtle differences. The Mandy has a boat neckline that is turned and stitched, whereas the hemlock has a straightforward round neckline with a band. The Mandy also has tighter sleeves, which balance the large boxy shape of the body. The Hemlock is oversized and boxy through the body as well, but not quite as much as this – and the sleeves are not quite as fitted.  Both patterns are one size only.

Tessuti Mandy boat necked tee

So yes, they are same same – but different. I rather like the Mandy boat neckline, that is turned and twin needle stitched before the shoulder seams are sewn. I did actually do a very small amount of the sewing on this tee – I hemmed it, so maybe I do have some small claim to it being of my own making. The fabric is a beautiful quality cotton/lycra that Karen found somewhere and I’ve used before for a Renfrew top. Isn’t it great when friends share their stash and their sewing?

Tessuti Mandy boat necked tee

By the way, the skirt in these photos is the reverse side of the handbag printed skirt by Ngati Fifi that I mentioned a couple of blog posts ago.

Lunch Box tee and culottes

The Oliver + S Lunch Box tee and culottes pattern really appealed to me when it was first released.  Despite culottes being fashionable at the moment, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to make a pair for me.  Being 158cm tall, thick around the middle and middle-aged could have something to do with that – as well as having worn them the last time around (which reminds me of knickerbockers…who else had corduroy knickerbockers, worn with a checked ruffled shirt some time around the early 80s…anyway, I digress).  So when I spotted the Lunch Box pattern, I thought that I could make some for my kids!  For Clare, to be precise.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics with Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

I’d better get things straight from the outset – this pattern was my choice, not Clare’s. I really, really wanted to make some culottes. So it’s probably not surprising that although Clare has said “it looks good” she has also said “but I’m not sure that it’s really my style”.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

The Oliver + S pattern description says this pattern features wide, pleated culottes that look like a full skirt but can be worn for activities from biking to climbing on the monkey bars. The knit top can be sewn up as a T-shirt with cute cuffed sleeves or a sweatshirt with pockets. As always, it was a pleasure to sew. In my experience Oliver + S patterns are consistently excellent, both in terms of the pattern drafting and the instructions. No criticisms there! I sewed size 10 for both the top and the culottes.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

The fabric for the culottes came from Rathdowne Fabrics. It was describe on the roll as 100% cotton, but it certainly didn’t feel like it. In fact, it felt like it had a large rayon or viscose content. A burn test in the shop supported my theory, and the saleswoman agreed. It is a twill with a super soft washed finish, and sewed beautifully. It also feels lovely against the skin. The elastic is just in the back of the waistband of the culottes, and it is pulled rather tight for Clare. This is reflected in how the back really does look like a skirt, whereas you can more easily tell from the front that it is divided into culottes. Can I mention how peeved I am getting at the moment with wide legged pants being called culottes? They aren’t! They’re palazzo pants, or wide-legged pants, or gauchos. But they are NOT culottes, which really are divided skirts.  (I do think that these DO meet the definition of culottes, by the way).
Okay, rant over.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The top is made from what I think is a cotton/lycra (although it may also involve viscose) knit from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. I really, really like this knit, and am glad that I have quite a bit left! It’s lovely quality and the colours go perfectly with the culottes. They will also work well with jeans, and I suspect that I will most often see them worn in that combination. The pattern is a great one for playing with stripe direction. Because the fabric has a fair lycra content it was also okay to cut the neckband on the cross grain.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics with Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

There are little pockets in the front, tucked into the seam between the upper front and the lower band. Potentially useless, but really cute. That seam was sewn on the sewing machine, but everything else was done on the overlocker.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Would it be really bad if I used the same fabric and the Bento Tee pattern to make myself the same top as Clare? I’m sure that my younger girl would be thrilled if I did that, but I’m not so certain that my tween would agree.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics with Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

Simplicity 1366

It seems as though most of the sewing blogosphere has already made Simplicity 1366.  I now understand why this has been such a popular pattern.

Simplicity 1366 top in size 12

Simplicity describe this as a “loose fitting short sleeve top”. Well yes, it is. But they don’t say that it is dartless, with elbow length sleeves, and a slightly cropped length. Or that it has dropped shoulders that set in beautifully and seem to sit well on everyone.

Simplicity 1366 top in size 12

Yes, there’s a fair bit of fabric pooling there – I should have shortened the back waist. But otherwise, it fits as an oversized woven top should. I made size 12 without alteration. Remember that I’m only 158cm tall, so this would be slightly cropped on lots of people. I finished the neckline with contrasting bias binding, but no-one can see that when I’m wearing it. So here is photographic proof.

Simplicity 1366 bias binding detail

This is very easy to construct and doesn’t take a great deal of fabric. From what I’ve seen elsewhere it can be made successfully from knits or wovens, and it’s easy enough to alter the sleeve length. Those dropped shoulders are in just the right spot.

Simplicity 1366 top in size 12

I actually made this top so that I would have something to wear with this skirt that I recently – gasp! – bought. I find it so hard to buy things that I feel I could make myself, but this skirt really called to me. I adore the African wax cotton print. And it’s bags! How could I resist! The skirt comes from Ngati Fifi. It’s a wrap skirt with poppers that make it highly adjustable, and it’s reversible! I’ll show you the other side in another blog post soon.

Simplicity 1366 top in size 12The yellow cotton I used for the top was originally in Anna’s stash – it’s lightweight and has a shot appearance.  Although I love mustard, I don’t generally wear yellow – in fact, it’s only been in the last year or two that I’ve come around to giving it a go.  As long as I accessorise with colour and wear lipstick, I think it’s okay.  I’ll definitely be using this pattern again to make some more simple tops that will work with this skirt.

another Perri Pullover

Clare has worn the Perri Pullover I made her last May quite often.  During my March sewing spree I made her a second version.

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

I used the size 8 pattern, exactly the same as last time. Clare has grown taller but this pattern runs HUGE! I know that it is meant to be, but wow, this has to be as oversized as things come. Especially in this softer, lighter weight fabric.

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

The jacquard jersey knit came from Super Cheap Fabrics in Sydney Road. You’ve seen it before in a pink colourway – I made Stella a dress from it. Now I wish that I’d bought more. The striped fabric used for the bands (and pockets) is from Tessuti – it’s the viscose/lycra stripe that was part of their Jaywalk competition last year. Wish I’d bought more of that too!

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

This time I really did have to follow the instructions and double over the neckband. As per the pattern it is cut the same width as the cuffs and bottom band. But when folded in half and attached to the wide neckline, it rippled and flopped, much more than last time. That was probably because the fabric was much softer. I did what the instructions said and folded it to the inside again, and stitched that in place with a zig zag along the overlocked edge. This has made the neckband sit much better, but also means that it is four layers thick. I would recommend that you halve the width of the neckband when cutting out rather than dealing with this level of bulk, especially in thicker fabrics. Or else embrace the floppy/loose neckband look.

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

Most construction was on the overlocker, although the pocket bags and side seams were attached with the sewing machine. I anticipate that this top will get as much wear as the other one, especially with leggings for lounging.

yet more Seraphic raglans

Yes, I’ve been on a roll.  It’s all been about the Figgy’s Seraphic raglan for Clare.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

A few weeks back I had a cutting out, and then a sewing up, spree on basic garments for Clare. The weather has cooled down and is doing what Autumn does in Melbourne, so she really did need a few warmer tops. And after the success of the last Seraphic raglan I made – the one in yellow with a lace front overlay – it was really a no-brainer to make some more.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

For this one I used some light weight printed ponte scraps from Super Cheap Fabrics in Sydney Rd (must pay them another visit at some stage soon) for the front and back, combined with lovely soft stripes for the sleeves and bands. The bottom band isn’t part of the pattern – I just cut a long strip the same width as the neck and cuff bands and that seems to work fine. Actually, I think I cut it wider…must check.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

It’s size 8-9 without any alterations. Loose enough to layer over other garments for warmth, but still fitted enough to get a coat or jacket over it easily. And yes, she likes it. So, on to the next one…

Figgys Seraphic raglan

This time I used some coral stretch mesh as the overlay (I used this mesh before in a summer dress). I happened to coordinate perfectly with some mid-weight cotton jersey that was in stash. It’s interesting to see how the variety in fabrics affect the fit and how the bands sit. It’s not a lot, but I can tell the differences between the raglans. This one has no lycra in it. The floral & stripe version has looser sleeves, as the knit seems to be a viscose blend. Working with knits can really be a matter of trial and error, but the more that you do it the more that you get a feel for the knit and it’s recovery properties and what changes you might need to make as you go along.  For both of these the neckband could have been pulled a little tighter as I attached it so that it would lay a little flatter – but you also have to be careful that you don’t pull it too tight and get puckers.  This is an okay compromise.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

These are the perfect project when you’re looking for a quick sewing fix. The cutting out is fast, and the sewing up seems even faster as it’s all on the overlocker. Too easy.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

I have just discovered that this pattern also comes in a larger tween size range option of sizes 10-16. Hooray! Looks like she’s not going to grow out of it after all.