Spring-ish Lander Pants

Hi team, happy spring/autumn! Not that it feels like spring in Wellington at the moment, my weather app tells me it feel like 4 degrees outside currently, and I believe it…though we have had some absolutely beautiful spring-like days recently, so I’m not going to complain. I’m definitely looking forward to some consistently warm weather though! I’ve been planning out some sewing to get me through this transitional period, and top of my list was some new trousers. I love my Ginger Jeans and my Safran Jeans, but by the end of winter I am genuinely sick of seeing them. I had plans to make the Closet Case Pietra Pants, but I needed to prewash the fabric, and it took a couple of days to get dry this week as it’s been so cold (the lesson here is to prewash and dry your fabric as soon as you get it, not just before you want to use it…). As it was hanging in the laundry, I pulled out some already pre-washed denim and decided to make the 1970’s inspired Lander jeans that I’d been thinking about all winter.


I’m not sure where this denim came from, it’s been sitting in my stash for years! I had about 3.5m of it, so I suspect it may have been from one of The Fabric Warehouse’s sales. Its a nice weight, on the heavy side of medium, and I love the mid-indigo blue. It has a little bit of stretch, so I suspect it was bought for another pair of Ginger Jeans! I have plenty left over, so that may still happen. I think it’ll age nicely, it feels like it should soften up and wear in like the other denims I’ve bought from TFW. All of the fabric and hardwear for these came from my stash, which is awesome. I despair at the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years sometimes, but other times I love that I generally have everything i need for a project on hand!


Obviously I’ve made a few changes to the Lander pattern, I’ve got rid of the exposed button fly and swapped the patch pockets for internal pockets with a pocket stay. I love the look of the exposed button fly, but I hated the way it pulled on my first pair of linen Landers. It was also a pain to get in and out of! I think a zip fly is more practical, and also sits nice and flat which I prefer. I didn’t buy the zip fly expansion pack, I just used the fly pieces from the pattern and subbed in the instructions from a fly zip tutorial and it’s turned out great. The pockets were a bit more of a fiddle to hack, I copied the general shape of the pocket pieces from the Ginger jeans to get the pocket stay (the Curvy Sewing Collective have a tutorial on how to do it here!), and then cut the shape of the pocket opening from the front piece. I also added a piece of denim to the top of the pocket piece rather than having the whole piece cut from denim to minimise the bulk. Both pieces of the pocket bag are made from a scrap of rigid cotton chambray, its lovely and soft across my tummy!


I really love these pockets, the pocket stay makes it feel like there isn’t too much stress on the zip (these are drafted to fit  pretty tight across the hips!), and it also means that the pockets are big enough to fit my phone and my hands in at the same time! The holy grail of pockets, in my opinion. The back pockets on the Landers are also huge, giving me so many options for places to stash things. They’re basically like the Mary Poppins carpet bag of trousers! I slipped another one of my favourite Kylie and the Machine labels into the topstitching of one of the pockets, I love it…


It’s funny, until I saw pictures of my in these I thought they were so much wider than they actually are! I think I must be so used to skinny jeans that anything else feels very breezy. I think these will be a great option to get me through until the warm weather arrives, the slightly cropped length (I took an inch off the full length version and then turned the hem up 3 inches) means I won’t feel silly wearing socks with them but can also wear them without if its not too cold!


I’ll also briefly talk about my top, I’ve finally climbed aboard the Mandy Boat Tee train! Actually this is my second attempt at this pattern, I tried it a few years ago when it was a single size, and it was hugely too big for me. When Tessuti re-released it with 4 size options I thought I should try it again! This is the size 2, with a few inches off the bottom so that I could fit it onto an odd length of jersey knit from the stash. I love this yarn dyed stripe, its lovely and drapey and soft, and I think it works well with this pattern! I’m glad I gave it another go, it was a really quick sew, even with stripe matching. And it’s a free pattern! I am glad I remembered to put a ‘This is the Back’ label into the back neckline before cover stitching it down, otherwise I’d be getting it wrong constantly…


Well there we go, the first of my spring sewing! Hopefully I’ll get those Pietra Pants sewn up soon…



Green Berlin

Tessuti released their Berlin Jacket a while ago, and I remember liking it when it came out but I couldn’t really see myself wearing it. Then I kept seeing Ruby’s awesome versons, and I started to re-think…I mean, I live in my Driftless Cardigans, and I was thinking of making a Blackwood Cardi in a hefty merino knit anyway…suddenly the Berlin seemed like a great option for in-between a cardigan and a coat. So when I saw this dark green boiled wool on the Drapers website I bought it and the pattern and got working on it!



This pattern was great to sew, and it came together so quickly! I think it went from cutting out to completed in less than 3 hours. The pattern has you overlap the raw edges and then topstitch the pieces together, so there is a raw edge on the outside of each seam. I definitely struggled to get those seams looking nice and even, and the boiled wool made it super hard to unpick, so after a couple of goes I decided that close enough was good enough! It passes the 3ft test, so I’m happy enough. The side seams and sleeve seams are just sewn wrong sides together as usual, which let me take a good 2” out of the sleeve width at the cuff to slim down the arms a bit.


I changed up a couple of things as I was sewing, I had seen a RTW garment similar to the Berlin that had a really clean finish around the neck/front edge, so I wanted to copy that. I sewed the neck facing wrong sides together, and then under stitched it and turned and hand stitched it to the wrong side. I did the same for the sleeve cuffs as well, but I flipped them to the outside to keep the turn-up look. I’ve been folding the cuffs back a second time to get a bracelet length sleeve, but its good to know I can turn them down when it gets really cold. I’m really happy with the way both changes turned out!


Boiled wool is so warm! I’ve had a tonne of wear out of this jacket already, its been so useful for these kinda random late autumn days we’ve been having. It was a really good layer to take down to Wanaka last weekend for a wedding we were invited to, it was significantly colder down there but this kept me toasty!


I love the length of this one, but next time I’ll lift the pockets up a bit, I can’t touch the bottoms of these ones! If it wasn’t such a pain to unpick this fabric I would move these ones, but I’ll just deal with it… I am thinking about making a hip length version out of some pale pink boiled wool I saw at The Fabric Store, but maybe I’ll wait until spring for that! So many things to make, so little time…


Zelda approves!



Gingham Claudia

Its getting to that awkward time of the year in Wellington where it can be really cold and wet, but can also be quite mild and spring like (often within the same half hour), and I’m itching to get into some warmer weather clothes! I pulled a black and fawn gingham linen out of my stash a couple of weeks ago, but couldn’t settle on a pattern. My printer is out of ink, and I wanted to get started, so I decided I should use a pattern I had already printed and stuck together! I was flicking back through past posts for ideas (anyone else read their own archives sometimes?), and I spotted a note I made on the bottom of my post about my pink Claudia Sundress at the end of summer. Apparently I had already thought about making a shortened version in the same gingham linen I had just pulled off the washing line! It was just what I was looking for, so I duly got underway…


I made it the same size as my original, but I extended the side seams straight down another 4ish inches past the start of the shaping for the side split, to give me enough length for a wide hem. That was my only change! It was such a quick, simple sew, even with some attempts at matching the gingham.


I love the pockets, they’re at a really good height and are the perfect shape. Because they’re top stitched onto the front of the dress they don’t bunch or get rumpled of add bulk, which is great! The method of sewing the facing to get a clean opening is really neat too, I’ve been impressed with it both times I’ve sewn this dress.


I really like it over my merino Rise Turtleneck and tights, but I think it’ll be a really nice breezy summer dress on its own too. I initially put this outfit on with my black funkis clogs, but then I thought it was a bit like sewing blogger bingo! Oversized gingham, sack dress, linen, turtleneck, clogs, tick tick tick! It did make me laugh, but I switched them out for my boots anyway…


The only thing I wish I had done differently was right at the beginning when I was cutting it out, I aligned the centre front and back of the pattern along the edge of a black stripe, when I should have centered it on the stripe to make the front look balanced. Its a small thing, but now the straps don’t attach at symmetrical points on the gingham. Not that anyone will notice, I hope!

Thanks to the lovely Gabrielle for taking these photos, this was a good outfit to wear out for a big lunch!



Squeezing in one last sundress

When the latest Tessuti pattern popped up on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago I bought it before I even considered that the end of February might not be the best time to be making sundresses! Our summer has been absolutely spectacular though (best one in Wellington for 60 years, apparently), so I thought I would bump it up to the top of my queue and hope I’d get the chance to wear it.

I used a length of milled linen from The Fabric Store (I’m sure you’re all shocked by that choice) which has been in my stash since last summer, just waiting for the right pattern. I love the colour, but I was slightly alarmed when I tried the dress on to check the strap length and realised that it was almost an exact match for my skin! I didn’t realise that I was ‘vintage blush’… Hopefully it doesn’t disappear too much against my torso.

There are some lovely details in this pattern, the top-stitched pockets are very neatly finished, and I love the split hem with its mitred corners! I shortened this pattern in a couple of places, I took an inch off at the waist and another inch half way down the side splits, and then I ended up taking an inch off the upper edge of the front neckline too to compensate for my short upper torso. I also shortened the straps, but I did that by pinning them while I was wearing it so I’m not sure how much I took off them.

I also took it in 1/2” at the top of each of the side seams, but I still have a bit of gaping under the arms. If it fitted any closer I think I would need to add a zip to get in and out of it and I like that it’s an easy pull on style, so I’m just ignoring it! I might try taking a narrow wedge out of the CF on the fold next time too, to see if that helps it sit more snugly in the upper chest.

I made a long skinny fabric tie for a belt, I just cut a 2” length right along the selvage and sewed it into a tube. I was very glad to have my loop tuner when I was trying to get that right side out! Even then it was a bit of a struggle getting all 2m onto the length of the turner, I should have left the opening half way along rather than at the end. I really like it belted, but I’m surprised how much I like it just hanging straight too. I thought it might be too shapeless, especially with the length, but I think it looks pretty stylish really!

I wore it out to the Newtown Festival yesterday, hot off the machine! I stuck a tee shirt under it as it was so sunny and I didn’t want to worry about reapplying that much sunblock, and I think it looks ok layered too. I should maybe stick to plain white tee shirts though, as the striped one definitely shows through the linen. I have plans to make another one (with a few changes) for layering in autumn out of some gingham linen, and I’d love to make a fancy version out of some lush mustard silk CDC that I’ve been hoarding. And maybe another one for next summer, in Caper linen from TFS…

Oslo Coat

I’ve got my laptop back! It only took six weeks… Happily it seems to be fixed, my tracking pad isn’t freaking out and opening random windows or menus or zooming instead of moving the cursor, so that’s a definite improvement! I have quite the backlog of projects to blog, including a bunch of sewing I’ve done for our upcoming trip (than you to everyone who has given me trip suggestions, either here or on Instagram, I really appreciate it!), but I’m hoping to get a lot of those projects photographed and blogged while we’re away. but first, I’m going to show you my end-of-winter coat, before it gets to unseasonable!


This is the Oslo coat, a recent release from Tessuti. Emma and I were messaging about winter coat patterns the day this was released, and we both decided it was the one to make! it was nice to have a sewing buddy to troubleshoot with! Emma also took these photos, we visited the Parkin Drawing Exhibiton at the Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, and got some photos. The piece I’m standing in front of was my favourite, it’s by Jae Kang and is called 4000 Stains of Breath.



I really like the silhouette of this coat, I don’t have anything like it in my wardrobe. I was a bit worried about the size of the shawl collar, I thought it made my head look disproportionately small, but it looks ok in these pictures! I used a reasonably fine wool in an interesting not-quite-black colour for the outer, and a blush pink silk/cotton blend for the lining, both from The Fabric Warehouse. The coat looks black in these pictures, but against a true black or grey it looks deepest green, or even inky navy in some lights. Whatever colour it looks, it’s a nice neutral. I really struggled to find a button I liked, until I had a good rummage through the stash and came up with this geometric wooden one. I think the matte black stain on the wood looks really nice against the wool, and it suits the modern, minimalist look of the coat. Unfortunately, being black on black, it was really hard to photograph!


I have to admit, I was a bit confused about some of the instructions for the Oslo. I’ve made a couple of Tessuti patterns in the past, so I was prepared for photos instead of illustrations, but I did struggle a bit with the fabrics they had chosen for the sample. the right and wrong sides of the fabric were very similar, and the lining fabric was a similar colour too, and I just found that I had to concentrate a bit more than usual to get through this one without unpicking too much! It was good to be able to message Emma to see if she had any insight into the bits that tripped me up. The pattern itself is really nicely drafted, it all fits together beautifully and the shaping in those raglan sleeves is particularly nice. I was also worried that it might swamp me a bit, as it has no shaping in the back or sides, but I like the oversized, nearly cocoon shape that it has. My measurements put me in a couple of sizes, but based on the finished garment measurements I went with a straight size 10, which I think was a good choice. The main thing I would change if I was to make it again would be to raise the pockets by a couple of inches. It was really stupid of me not to check the height before sewing up most of the coat, and they’re low enough and deep enough that my arms are pretty much straight when my hands are in them!


I made this coat as part of my #summerofbasics entry (obviously mine is a Winter edition) over on Instagram. The challenge was to make three basic pieces which could be worn together for the appropriate season, so my pieces were this coat, my Ginger jeans, and the as-yet-unblogged Melilot shirt that you can see peeking out of my jumper in these pictures. I’m really pleased with all three garments, and I think they work nicely together. I’ll certainly get plenty of wear out of the jeans and shirt, but I don’t really want to hope for lots of opportunities to wear the coat! There have been some hints of Spring around Wellington this week, I can’t wait…

New Years Eve in Tokyo

Sadly, not Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo, the pattern from Tessuti!


I love the kimono jackets that are fashionable at the moment, and I spent all of the southern hemisphere winter lusting after the amazing summer versions I kept seeing popping up on everyones blogs. I promised myself I would make myself one for our summer! Unfortunately, summer in Wellington is somewhat unpredictable, and a light silky jacket would get next to no wear. I really wanted a lightweight wool crepe, or a medium weight rayon crepe or something similar, but I just couldn’t find the fabric I wanted. Then, this month, I kept seeing beautiful festive dresses being made up in velvet. Suddenly, all I could think of was a silk velvet Tokyo, preferably in a rich, jewel tone like forest green or goldenrod yellow.


Now in hindsight, this is the point when I really should have taken a step back and examined my mental state, because I had clearly lost the plot. But my head was too full of dizzying mental images of me swanning around a glamorous New Years Eve party in my yellow velvet jacket, drinking gin and generally doing my best Zelda Fitzgerald impression. The only snag was that I couldn’t find yellow velvet anywhere. I should have stopped then, but instead I bought this lovely deep purple/blue silk velvet from The Fabric Store. Still drunk on the idea of all of the 1920’s glamour that would soon be mine, I took it home and started to cut the Tokyo jacket out of it. This was the point when the first few doubts began to trickle into my mind. Turns out silk velvet is just as shifty and slippery and tricky as normal silk, but with the added difficulty of having a nap. I cut everything out in a single layer with the nap running down the jacket, and hoped that things hadn’t shifted too far off grain.


Turns out, the cutting out was the easy part! I must have used every single one of my pins trying to put the pocket bags and bands onto the jacket fronts, and they still slid around all over the place. I wanted to cry, or hurl it out of the window. I really wanted to jam it back into the bag and stick it in the corner. The dream was well and truly over by this point! Instead I unpicked and restitched and unpicked and restitched until I reached the point where I decided it was good enough. The side seams and shoulder seams were easier to sew, though just as pin heavy, but the neckband gave me similar issues. I hand stitched the neckband to the inside, as the idea of topstitching made me feel physically ill, and did the same for the hem.


The worst part is, after all that struggle, I don’t really like it. I was hoping to have a jacket that I could wear with all of my vintage dresses, but also with trousers or something if I was going out in the evening. It looks ok with my vintage gear, and I’m sure it’ll get worn at Art Deco Weekend in February, but I’m not sure if it’ll get worn many other times. Its also finished terribly, because I was so disheartened with the whole thing. Originally I was going to try to finish the seams with binding, but I just couldn’t be bothered once I realised that the finished garment wasn’t going to live up to my mental picture of it. I like the pattern, and I’m sure it would have worked much better in a lightweight, drapey fabric, but I just feel frumpy in it. When I showed it to Monsieur, he said it looked like a wizards outfit, but without the benefit of the giant sleeves. And I think he’s kinda right…


I did learn some things about working with velvet though:

– If you have to iron it (which I did, because it had been crushed on the bolt), fold it in half with the fuzzy sides together, and iron in the direction of the nap. Use lots of steam, and minimal pressure. I found that I was mostly just steaming mine, and it came up fine, no crushing of the pile. For the seam allowances I used lots of steam and very light pressure, moving the iron in the direction of the nap.

– Use all of your pins, or baste things together, because velvet is shifty and not to be trusted.

– Velvet dust will trigger your hayfever, beware!

So there we go, my last post for the year and the garment which concludes my 52 week creative challenge. I wish it was a winner, but never mind! I’m still unbelievably proud of myself for achieving the goal I set for myself this time last year. And I’m pretty damn proud of nearly everything I’ve made this year, so thats a win, over all. I’ll be back tomorrow with my last Top 5 Post, and with a some number crunching from 2014. Hope you all have a good New Years Eve, whatever you have planned!


It does go beautifully with the lovely fan I was given for Christmas, and with the marcasite art deco cocktail ring I was given by Monsieur, I was very lucky this Christmas!

Can’t touch this…

Two posts in two days, oh my! Thats what happens when the end of the month lands in the middle of the week, I suppose…

This weekend I whipped up a pair of Tessuti Suzy Pants in an awesome mystery (I suspect polyester) crepe fabric from The Fabric Warehouse. I decided to try something different with my pattern printing, and took the file to the Stationary Warehouse. It was so much easier than printing out and taping together hundreds of A4 pages!


Look at how much easier that makes things! My only issue arose when the shop assistant asked me what size page I was printing, and I had no idea. She looked at me like I was a total moron, but we figured out it was an A0 sized sheet. Does anyone know how I can figure that out to avoid looking stupid in future? I can’t tell when its a PDF!


I REALLY like these pants! I’ve been looking at similar slouchy pyjama style trousers on northern hemisphere blogs all winter, and so I took my first chance to make some up. They’re just as comfortable as I hoped, and they’ll be awesome for when it heats up. I like the fabric as well, even though I suspect its polyester. The crepe is gorgeously drapey, and I love the abstract navy print. I’m trying to be a bit more bold with my fabric choices, both with colour and print. Really I’m just worried that I’ll end up with a whole wardrobe of polka dots and stripes in navy and grey…


I did make some fairly major alterations to the waistband, mostly as I sewed and tried on and sewed some more. The pattern has a strip of 1/2″ wide elastic right around the top of the ~4″ wide waistband. I hate tight elastic around my waist, so I decided before I started that I would cut doubles of the waistband pieces and use one pair as facings, and just put elastic in the back half. Once I sewed the waistband on (before I added the facing) I realised that it was miles too wide, it reached up to the bottom of my ribcage! So I ditched the facing, and just folded the waistband in half and put 1″ wide elastic in the back. It all worked out fine, and they’re very comfortable, but I do wish that I had sat down and thought through what I was doing a bit more. I should have interfaced the front waistband piece, to stop it sagging over time. I also should have cut the front waistband a bit shorter, as you can see in the photo above that the pockets and side seams are pulled around towards the back of the pants. But neither of these things are major issues, I’m still going to wear the hell out of these this summer!

(Please excuse the wrinkles!)

I feel very on trend in these trousers, which is funny. I’m not usually overly fussed by whats fashionable! It is nice when what I want to wear lines up with what is in the shops. My bubble was slightly burst when I paraded into the living room wearing them after finishing the hems, and Monsieur just raised an eyebrow and said “…are those hammer pants?” He insists on calling them my outside pyjama pants. I guess I can’t really object too much, they are like PJs which are acceptable to wear in public. My ideal clothes!
Also, yay for outdoors photos! I couldn’t resist getting some photos in the park over the road, I even managed to take these without any other people catching me. It does seem a bit narcisistic, taking photos of yourself in public…

…I’ll just leave this here.