Traditional Summer Sewing

The first few weeks of 2019 have swept me along in a flurry of wedding related business, but all of that is finished now, and I’ve got some space to think of other things! Our wedding on the 10th was perfect. It threatened to rain on us, but managed to hold off, and we were able to have the ceremony outside on the lawn overlooking the farm, which I was very glad about! The venue we picked has a beautiful outlook, it would have been a bummer not to get to see it. I managed to get my wedding sewing finished in plenty of time, and I was really happy with how everything turned out, and the whole day was just really happy and relaxed and full of our favourite people. I’ll do a post about my wedding sewing when we get some photos back!

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But first, I have a traditional first-post-of-the-year post, new shorts and a tee shirt! I’ve been meaning to make a pair of Lander Shorts since I made my linen Lander Pants, and I finally dug out the scraps of cotton drill left over from my black Ginger Jeans and just managed squeezed the pieces on. They went together really easily, I used the whole 1” seam allowance down the side seams as this fabric has 2% stretch, and they’re very comfortable!

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I swapped out the button fly for a standard zip fly, as I really dislike the pulling I get at the buttons on my linen pair and I was concerned that the drag lines would be even more apparent in a stretch fabric! I swapped in the instructions from the Grainline sewalong for the Maritime Shorts, and it worked really well. I had intended to play with the pockets too, I thought maybe I would flip the patch pockets on the front to the inside and turn them into standard slash pockets, but I decided not to in the end. I think the pocket bags would have shown through really obviously in this fabric, and with the black topstitching I used the patch pockets blend in so well that I’m glad I didn’t fluff around with them! Unfortunately the fabric is an absolute cat-fur magnet, I’ve basically given up trying to de-fluff both these shorts and my jeans…

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I made the shorts up between Christmas and New Year, and was wearing them a lot with my cropped paprika linen tee. I had the Maya Tee pattern from Marilla Walker on my #2019make9 list, so after New Year I thought I should make a cropped version to give the harvest tee a break! I used more leftover fabric from my stash, this time some super soft double gauze left over from my Myosotis dress. I didn’t have quite as much fabric left as I remembered, so I ended up cropping it by about 2” from the ‘cropped’ tee line of the pattern. On my short torso the ‘cropped’ length would be mid hip, so it all worked out pretty well!

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This is the basic tee version of the Maya pattern, with the plain front and straight hem, no buttons or pockets or anything flash. I top stitched the facings around the neck and sleeves, and remembered to pop a label in the back neckline so I can tell the front from the back! Aside from cropping the length, I also took an inch or so out of the side seams at the hem, tapering up to nothing at the bust. It was just a bit too bell shaped in this double gauze, which has quite a lot of body, and that adjustment helped to tame that fullness a bit! It’s lovely and breezy as it is now though. I really love the ikat-style print on this fabric, so I’m glad to have it as a slightly more wearable garment than my full and floaty dress! I’m definitely planning another one or two of these, and I’d love to try the cuff variation I’ve seen people make on instagram too…

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I’m pretty chuffed that my first two garments posted this year are both made from leftover fabric, and that I’ve already ticked off one of my Make9! I’ve set myself a challenge to not buy any fabric between the first of January and Easter this year, so expect to see more sewing up of remnants and stash fabric in the next few months…

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Miss Fisher goes to Hogwarts

Happy New Year everyone! I’m writing this in a few stolen minutes between wedding prep and heading away to spend New Years Eve at the beach with some friends, so forgive any typos! I’m not on the cocktails yet, I promise…I’m also not parading around in silk velvet, but I really wanted to get this final post for 2018 up! This was my second garment made for the #sewfrosting challenge over on instagram, and I’ve finally got some halfway decent photos. Silk velvet isn’t so easy to photograph, it tends to look like a big navy black hole, so I’ve had to do some fiddling with the contrast etc. Hopefully you can still get the idea!

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This is one of the more ridiculously luxurious things I’ve ever made! When a 3 metre remnant of navy silk velvet popped up on the Drapers Fabrics Instagram page I bought it without much of a plan for it. I was initially thinking it would be a dress of some sort, but then I kept thinking it might be more practical as a piece of outerwear (I’m using practical in a relative sense here, obviously). I nearly made it into a Kochi kimono, but then when I made my first Sapporo Coat I thought it would be very lush as one of those…

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…and I was right! It’s so soft and heavy and slippery, it feels like sometimes if I move too fast I’ll leave it behind like a cartoon character, but it feels lovely to wear and I feel very dramatic and elegant in it. I thought cutting it out would be a major pain, but it was actually very well behaved throughout the cutting and sewing process! I wrapped my tailors ham in a big scrap of velvet and used that when I was pressing the seams so I didn’t crush the pile, but for the most part I managed to get away with blasting it with steam and finger pressing the seams open. The lining was almost more trouble to sew than the velvet, I used a heavy viscose satin twill from The Fabric Store and it kept trying to escape. It’s navy with violet threads streaked through it, which I utterly failed to capture in these photographs but which looks pretty in person!

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This version is obviously much less structured than my wool version, and I made a couple of changes to account for that. I hand sewed some tape along the diagonal seams on the fronts, which runs along the open edge of the pocket bags. They still drape open, which I quite like the look of in the velvet, but hopefully that’ll help them to keep their shape a bit more and not stretch out. I also substituted all iron on interfacing for sewn in silk organza, which was a bit of a faff but seems to have worked ok. I do wonder if I should have used more, or doubled it up in some places, as the collar and the front edges still collapse under the weight of that velvet draping. But then, I think any more structure might have looked strange with the velvet? I’m not sure, and I’m definitely not going back in to add more!

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I think it had a very art deco-ish cocoon coat vibe in the velvet, especially from the back! When I showed it to Hamish he said it was a bit Hogwarts-y, so not quite the Phryne Fisher look I was aiming for, but I think art deco witch works quite well! I also think Phryne Fisher and Minerva McGongall would have had excellent adventures together, I would definitely watch that show…

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Funnily enough, this isn’t my first silk velvet coat NYE post on this blog, I posted about my velvet Tessuti Tokyo jacket way back on my first blogging New Years Eve! I had hair! and I had only been sewing for a year or so, and had no idea what I was getting into with silk velvet. It turned out alright though, all things considered…

A little bit of Frosting

I follow Drapers Fabrics in Auckland on Instagram, and every so often they post a remnant for sale in their insta-stories. Usually I manage to resist, but when I saw this delicious blush and mustard abstract silk crepe de chine pop up I messaged them and bought it without a second thought! I’m obsessed with this colour combination at the moment (see also: my Wiksten Kimono), and I’ve been in desperate need of some ‘nice’ tops to wear when I don’t want to be full on dresses up but also don’t want to just be in a tee shirt (any one else struggle with that in-between dress code?).

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I waffled a bit about what pattern to pick for this fabric, but then I remembered seeing Chloe (@faburikku_) post about her Papercut Patterns Kyoto tee which she made in a woven. I thought the ruffled sleeves would be lovely and floaty in this silk, so I threw caution to the wind and cut it out…

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And it worked! I didn’t make any changes to the size, as it’s a pretty loose fit (and my knit version had plenty of negative ease through the bust), but I did draft a facing for the neckline. I also had to crop it by several inches, as the hem wouldn’t fit over my hips with no stretch, but I think the cropped length really suits the shape of the pattern. It balances out those ruffles a little bit!

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I used French seams throughout, remembering too late (as I always do) that Papercut uses a 1cm seam allowance. That means my French seams are lovely and small, but does add to the fiddle factor! I rolled the edges of the ruffles and the sleeves on my machine, but I did the hem with the blind hem stitch, as I wanted a bit more heft to the bottom edge.

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I also got a bit fancy with my facing. The silk is so fine that I didn’t want a rolled seam or an overlooked edge showing though where the edge of the facing was finished, so I sewed the facing and some super lightweight fusible interfacing with the wrong sides together, then trimmed the seam allowance, flipped them right sides out, and pressed to fuse the interfacing to the facing. It’s not invisible, but it has a much softer edge than if I had finished it another way.

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I’m so happy with how this top turned out! I think it fills the gap in my wardrobe perfectly, and I love the way the silk feels. In fact, it turns out that this is really pretty fancy silk, because I spotted a whole rack of garments made out of it when I walked past the Juliette Hogan store in Wellington a few weeks ago! Juliette Hogan makes gorgeous but eye watering-ly expensive clothes, and the ones made out of this silk seem to be priced at upwards of $400. I wonder if I would have chopped into my remnant so happily without making a muslin if I had known? Just as well it worked out so well… I’m considering this top the first garment for my entry into the #sewfrosting challenge, because the fabric is apparently so fancy and because a silk tee seems pretty frosting-like! I’m still up to my elbows in velvet dust working on my other garment, so stay tuned…

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I’ll also talk briefly about my trousers in these photos, they’re a pair of Named Alexandria Peg Trousers in a linen chambray from The Fabric Store. I’ve made this pattern twice before (here and here) but neither pair is still in my wardrobe, for one reason or another. I really love this pair though! The linen is soft and cool, and I think it suits the pattern really well. I can see them getting so much wear over the summer!

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The fit on these trousers is great, I should use the crotch curve to adjust less well fitting patterns! I also love the pleat-and-pocket combo. And elastic waists are always a good thing. I did the two rows of top stitching around the elastic waistband, but just looped the twill tape through the two buttonholes and tied it in a bow instead of threading it around the whole waistband.

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Is anyone else furiously sewing up their #sewfrosting entries? The end of November seems to have crept up super fast!

Floral Meridian Dress

I always love it when Papercut Patterns release a new collection, even though it means I have to immediately re-arrange my entire sewing list to accommodate the new patterns that jump to the top of my queue! This time I was lucky to get a sneak peek of the patterns- I responded to an Instagram tester call, and made up the Sierra Jumpsuit. It’s a super cool pattern, but that’s not what I’m posting about today! I haven’t moved past the muslin stage with the jumpsuit yet, but once the collection was released I nabbed myself a copy of the beautiful Meridian Dress and immediately sewed it up for my upcoming work Christmas party.

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The dress came together really easily, but has some clever techniques and drafting to make the front wrap portions of the dress. I did have a bit of trouble figuring out how to shorten the bodice, as the front pattern piece is a pretty weird shape, and I probably didn’t do the best job, but when it’s all wrapped up it’s hard to tell if there’s anything amiss! I considered using french seams to sew this up, but in the end I just went with overlocking them and pressing them open. I wouldn’t have been able to use a french seam for the centre front or back seams, so I figured I might as well treat them all the same! I did the hems with a blind hem stitch on my machine, I love that finish.

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I think the back is just as pretty as the front! The invisible zipper finished half way up the back bodice, leaving a keyhole and button and loop to close the top of the dress. I used a small fabric covered button, and I think it’s turned out pretty cute! I really like the length of the ties as well, they’re really well proportioned with the length of the skirt. The pleats on the front and back skirt help to give it enough wearing ease and swishy-ness to be comfortable, but the skirt still feels slim and modern to me.

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Before I saw the patterns I had bought myself a length of this gorgeous Atelier Brunette viscose pique from Miss Maude Fabrics, and once I saw the patterns I knew it would be a perfect match for the Meridian dress! It was lovely to sew with, it’s really light and floaty but also fairly stable. It didn’t seem to want to slip off the table or out from under my pins like some silky fabrics do! I do wonder if it camouflages the details of the pattern a bit though, the wrap front and the pleats in the skirt aren’t as obvious as they would be in a smaller print or a plain fabric. And I’ve only just noticed that I’ve cut the front skirt piece upside down to the rest of the pieces, I didn’t think the print was directional but those big pale pink loopy flowers are definitely up the other way on the rest of the dress!

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I’ve been playing around with different ways to wear the wrap front, the top picture is just wrapped around my waist as shown in the sample photos, but the second picture is the ties knotted together in the front and then tied in the back. I really like the second way as well, it’s hard to tell in the photos but it gives the bodice a slightly looser, more blousy fit and changes the overall silhouette of the dress.

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I love this dress! I love the shape and the length and the sleeves, I love the weight of the fabric and the print and the colours. I feel really good in it, and I know I’m going to get a bunch of wear out of it! Now I’ve just got to get going with my Sierra Jumpsuit, and also the Palisade Pants…and maybe the Pinnacle top too…

 

Denim Fiona Dress

Is anyone else struggling to get their head around the fact that it’s November? I’m not ready for there to be Christmas displays in the shops! This year just seems to have disappeared, I’m not sure what I’ve done with it. I mean, I did hand in my research project last week, which means that I’ve finally finished my Masters of Information Studies (provided I pass, of course, though I would be a bit salty if my supervisor had let me hand in something below a pass level!). I don’t think I realised how much space it had been occupying in my mind this year until it was all handed in and no longer in my control, and I’ve been enjoying daydreaming about all of my summer sewing plans rather than musing about my data matrix or something equally dull.

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This dress is one which I sewed up in tiny chunks in between writing up my results and discussion sections. It’s the Fiona Sundress from Closet Case Patterns, and it was a good one to sew in drips and drabs! I could sew the front princess seams, then write a couple of paragraphs, then sew the back princess seams, then draw up some figures and charts, then sew the side seams…you get the picture!

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I really loved the 90’s style of the longer version, and I loved the drama of the low backed version, but I decided to be very sensible and make up the mini-length with the high back! I just really hate not wearing a bra, and I wanted to be able to wear it without a tee shirt underneath when we get further into the summer. I do wish I had made the below-knee version rather than the mini length, but I think this length will be good with tights when I’m layering it for cooler weather too.

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Fiona was a fun wee pattern to sew up, and came together with minimal fuss or changes! I took a centimeter off the bottom of the bodice to account for my short waist, and possibly could have taken a sliver more off at the centre back for my sway back, but I’m not too bothered. I did have to shorten the straps considerably, but that’s easy enough! The instructions even remind you to wait until you get to the point you can try the dress on before securing the straps at the back, in case they need to be altered. I do wonder if I should have taken it in a bit through the bodice, there’s a bit of extra ease under my arms and around my waist, but I really didn’t want a tight dress so I’m not overly bothered!

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I used a lovely stretch denim from The Fabric Store, it was marked as Marc Jacobs and was on special for something crazy cheap so I bought a bit of it! I’ve got enough for another pair of Ginger Jeans, which is timely as my first blue pair are getting pretty ratty now. I think denim works really well for this pattern, especially for the shorter versions, but I wish I had used a lighter fabric for the strap and top band facings. I cottoned on in time to use a chambray for the pocket facings, and I think it would have worked better to reduce the bulk at the top of the button bank especially. Having a rigid fabric facing at the top there might also have helped to combat the slight gape I get under my arms too (seriously exaggerated in the above photo!).

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All those lovely copper buttons came from Miss Maude Fabrics, and yes, making 14 buttonholes and whacking in 14 buttons was a bit of a chore! Honestly, getting in and out of this dress is a bit of a chore too, even though I only have to undo the top 6 buttons. If I was going to make it again, especially in a lighter fabric like linen, I think I would stick a long invisible zip in the side seam, just to make it easier to get in and out of! I would probably still make the buttonholes, but at least it would make getting dressed in the dark at 6am before work easier.

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I am really happy with it though, I’m looking forward to getting to wear it with bare shoulders and sandals like this! It looks cute over my striped tee shirts too though, so I’ll be able to wear it no matter what Wellington decided to do with the weather…

Linen and Lawn: Wiksten Kimono

I’ll admit, I didn’t really get the huge love the Wiksten Kimono Jacket was receiving when it was first released and was suddenly all over my Instagram feed. It looked like a nice top layer, but it also looked pretty over-sized and I wasn’t that sold on the big shawl-like collar. Then they released it as a multi sized pattern, and I was slightly more interested, but I figured that I really liked the Kochi Kimono, and how many kimono patterns did I need? Even when I tried on Emma’s beautiful double gauze version, I didn’t feel the need to make one. Then, two days before my trip to Melbourne last weekend, I decided that I really really needed a lightweight jacket. Lighter weight than my Kelly anorak, as the weather over the ditch looked like it was going to be pretty warm. And suddenly, I had to have a linen Wiksten Kimono. Funny how that happens…

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I made this up in a morning, it’s a nice quick one to sew! I chose the shortest length, and I halved the width of the collar as I’m still not sold on the huge width of the original. I also didn’t interface it, which is something I’ve seen debated over on Instagram! I like the softer look of the uninterfaced linen. I’ve popped a couple of hand stitches at the centre back, shoulder seams and the hem to keep it folded over neatly though. As I was doing pre-trip panic sewing, I had to use stuff from my stash, which is always a good thing! I love this ochre/mustard coloured linen, so I was really glad to get to use it for this project. It’s beautifully soft, but is also a bit slubby and textured, which is lovely.

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For the lining I used a length of Atelier Brunette cotton lawn which I bought at Sew Over It in London last year. I love the pink and mustard and turquoise colour combination, but the lawn was so fine and transparent that I was really struggling to think of a pattern for it. I’m really loving pink and mustard together at the moment though, and the mustard splodges on the lawn are almost exactly the same colour as the linen so I figured it was meant to be!

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Unfortunately, the colour of the linen showed through the pink and made it quite dull and dirty looking, so I had to underline it with another pale pink cotton which was also languishing in my stash. That was easy enough to do, but it did add a few more steps when I was already feeling the time pressure! I’m really glad I did it though, it makes the pink look much fresher. The three layers of fabric also give the jacket a lovely weight, I think it’ll be the perfect layering piece for this spring!

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So it is over-sized, but I think picking the shortest length and reducing the width of the collar means that I don’t feel swamped in it. Sewing it up in soft, unstructured fabrics helps too! I feel like it’s different enough to my Kochi kimono that they both have a place in my wardrobe. The sleeves on the Wiksten are definitely more practical than the huge sleeves on the Kochi, and I feel like I could probably squeeze this underneath one of my coats if I wanted to. I can only fit my Kochi sleeves inside the equally huge sleeves of my Sapporo coat!

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I’m going to do a brief two-for-one in this post and talk about one of my favourite makes this winter, a Sew Over It Molly tee (from their first e-book, City Break). I made it up in the most beautiful remnant of Atelier Brunette french terry from Miss Maude Sewing. I was waffling about whether or not to buy some when I saw she had listed a remnant piece, and I’m so glad I bought it! It’s so soft and snuggly.

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Initially I was planning to make a sweatshirt out of it, but when it arrived it was much thinner and drapier than I expected and I decided it would be a lovely long sleeved tee shirt instead. I picked the Molly Tee because I couldn’t fit a traditional set-in sleeve onto the length of fabric that I had, but the pretty extreme drop shoulder of the Molly means that the sleeve pieces are a lot shorter and fitted on my fabric perfectly! I’ve worn this top so much over the winter, it was a great layering piece, and I think it’ll be good on its own into the spring as well. The metallic gold pattern on the navy makes it a little bit fancier than my other long sleeved tee’s as well!

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I look like such a dork in this photo that I thought I should definitely include it!

I’m really glad I got the Wiksten Kimono jacket completed for my trip to Australia, it was a very useful layer to have with me and got loads of wear! I asked Hamish what he thought of it, and he said he liked that it was special sauce coloured- ”like mustard with some tomato sauce mixed in”. Ok then…

A Pair of Toasters

Last winter I bought the Toaster Sweater pattern, expecting to make and wear the toaster 2 variation heaps during the cold weather. I did wear the striped version I made a bit, but there was something about it that I didn’t love. But during a bout of particularly feral weather this winter I pulled the pattern out again and decided I was going to make the first version in a boiled merino knit I had in my stash.

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I know that its hard to see what’s going on here, it being a black knit and all, but I really love the shape of this one. The wide cuffs and hem band and the shape of the wide turtleneck make it really comfortable and snuggly, especially in this thick squashy merino. I really like the proportions of it, it’s slightly cropped and hits me at about my mid-hip, which I find a really flattering length on me. One of the things I found I disliked about my Toaster 2 sweater was that I always thought it was a bit big, so this time I sized down from a medium to a small, despite my measurements indicating I should be in a medium. I think the size is spot on this time, so I’m happy with that decision!

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I feel like I wore this thing a couple of times a week during the cold parts of winter! It’s so warm, and the neckline is wide enough that I can tuck my chin into it like a turtle if I feel the need. I even found it was a good thing to layer over my Rise turtleneck that was giving me trouble with what to wear over it. Double turtleneck, double warmth! I liked the shape of the raglan sleeves and the general proportions of it so much that I decided to make a warmer weather version of it in a gorgeous cotton sweatshirting I got from the Fabric Store last month.

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I made a few changes for this one, the most obvious being cutting down the turtleneck to a standard sized neckband. I also halved the width of the cuffs and hem ribbing, because I thought the super wide cuffs would look a bit weird in a rib. I basically turned it into the Linden Sweatshirt, but I think this one fits much better than the Linden’s I’ve made in the past. I prefer the higher crew neck, and the raglan sleeves fit better around the bottom of the armscye.

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To compensate for using a rib for the neckband rather than self fabric, I trimmed two inches from the length before sewing it up. I probably could have taken off a bit more, it doesn’t sit as flat as I’d like, but I’m not keen on unpicking it to make it shorter! I left the cuffs and hem bands the drafted length, I don’t love tight ribbing cinching in my sleeves. I do love this sweatshirt though! I’m really happy with how my ‘sweatshirtifying’ mods worked out, it’s kept all the proportions and fit from the original which I really liked but has made a nice casual top for spring.

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I really love this fabric and ribbing combination, I love a matching ribbing! I find it really hard to find any good rib knit for cuffs and neckbands, so when I saw this coordinating sweatshirting/ribbing at The Fabric Store I was all over it. They’re both organic fair trade cotton, just to make things even better! I’m not usually that fond of polka dots, but these random, abstract paint-y dots are really nice. I feel like I should go back and buy some of the navy and white colourway, but I’m really trying not to stash fabric at the moment, things are getting a bit out of hand… The boiled merino for my first version was from The Fabric Store too, and both fabrics have worn really well so far. I think the wool might pill after a few more washes, but I’ll run the de-piller over it and I’m sure it’ll be fine! Now I just need to not spill anything on my cream sweatshirt…