Linen and Lawn: Wiksten Haori

I’ll admit, I didn’t really get the huge love the Wiksten Haori 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 Haori. 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…

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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…

Marshmallow Coat

Hi team! I’m having a bit of a sewing hiatus at the moment, aside from finishing a few bits off. I really need to put my head down and get some solid work done on my research project, I need to hand it in next month! I’ve finished the data collection phase, and I’ll hopefully be done with my data analysis this weekend…then I just need to finish writing the damn thing. I’m really looking forward to mid October! But in the meantime I have a few new things to post to keep things ticking over here.

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This is what I’m affectionately calling my marshmallow coat, which I’m sure doesn’t need explaining! It’s the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat, a pattern which I had admired on Instagram (where there are some amazing versions!), but had never really felt the need to make. I was sure it would look too oversized and daft on me, and the fact that it has no front closures made me think it would have limited wear-ability in Wellington. Then I got the opportunity to try on the beautiful grey wool version made by Gabrielle, and I flat out fell in love with it! It is huge and oversized, but in a dramatic and elegant way, and I had bought the pattern and was cutting it out before I knew it.

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Look at those beautiful swooshing seams! I had a lot of fun sewing this coat up. It’s a big but pretty simple project, as far as coats go. The sewing is all simple, with it’s dropped sleeves and grown-on facings and pocket bags, but each seam seems to go on forever! I made a couple of simple alterations, based on what Gabrielle had done with hers. I made the smallest size, and took an inch off the top of the sleeve and from the armscye, to shorten the sleeve by 2 inches total. I wanted the bracelet length sleeves from the sample photo, and they would have covered my wrists as drafted. I also opted to line the sleeves with my lining fabric rather than the wool I used for the outer, which cut down on bulk and made the coat feel lighter overall. Finally, I ran some seam tape along the diagonal front seam, which will hopefully help the pockets retain their shape.

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I used a blush pink wool/cashmere blend which I’ve had in my stash for over a year, it originally came from The Fabric Warehouse. I really love the colour, but I struggled a bit to match it to a pattern. I was seriously planning to use it to make a Gerard Coat from Republique du Chiffon, but in the end I’m glad I went with Sapporo! The wool behaved beautifully, of course, it sews and presses like a dream. It does crease a bit, as you can see in these pictures after a day of wear, but I can live with that!

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I lined it with another stash fabric, a Liberty Tana Lawn from The Fabric Store. It’s so smooth and lovely! I’m glad I finally used it for something, and I think it looks really pretty with this pink. And how nice are those mitered corners? This really is a lovely pattern to sew. Because I was having such a nice time sewing this I decided to pull out all of the stops and use one of the beautiful “HANDMADE” labels that I bought from Arrow Mountain to finish it off. It’s subtle, but I love it!

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I’m not going to lie, when I finished it and put it on for the first time I was worried that I just looked like a big pink lump. But after wearing it for a day (and getting a few complements from strangers on it!) I decided I really loved it. Funny how that happens sometimes! I’ve only managed to wear it out a few times since I finished it a couple of weeks age, the weather has been less than ideal recently, but I think it’ll be perfect for Spring and for Summer mornings. I’m looking forward to getting out and about in it!

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2018 Winter Jumper

I keep saying I probably don’t need any more hand knitted jumpers, but I don’t seem to be able to stop myself knitting them… I’m averaging one per winter, so I suppose that rate of output isn’t too radical. And I gave my Lila Sweater to my sister earlier in the year because the alpaca blend yarn I used made me really itchy, so I had a space for a simple jumper in my wardrobe. Have I justified myself enough yet?

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This is the Mossbank Sweater by Kerry Robb, published by Brooklyn Tweed. It’s a really simple pattern, but it has a lovely shape. I love the set in sleeves and the little bit of shaping through the front and back waist so that it isn’t just straight up and down. The sample is knitted using a marled yarn for the body with contrast bands and cuffs, and to be honest I bought it thinking that there was some special trick to knitting a marl sweater(any yes, I realise how stupid that sounds now!). I was pretty disappointed to realise that it was just knitted with a Brooklyn Tweed marled yarn! I can’t have been thinking clearly when I hit purchase… I decided to knit it anyway, because it’s the shape I prefer in my jumpers.

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I knitted this in my favourite yarn, Zealana Heron in Bottle Green. The dark green is beautiful, I’m so into dark green at the moment. I’ve waxed lyrical about this wool/possum blend before, I used it for my Bronwyn Sweater and also for the scarf I knitted Hamish for his birthday one year. It’s so soft and warm, I love it! It also works really well in the reverse stockinette stitch that the pattern calls for, the nubbly purl stitches and the slightly fuzzy yarn gives it a lovely texture. It also blooms wonderfully with wet-blocking, and just made everything look even and really nice.

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I’m not that great at seaming my hand knits, I never do it tightly or evenly enough, but I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out, especially the armscye seams. My Aunt mentioned that she used to seam her hand knits using her sewing machine, which blew my mind a little bit! Has anyone tried that? I’m also really happy with how my tubular cast on hems worked, even though I haaate knitting them. I find it really counter-intuitive, and I’m always convinced it’s going to fall apart when I remove my waste yarn! It hasn’t happened yet though, so it obviously works…

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Something I’ve noticed with my older hand knit jumpers is that the neckband tends to stretch out over time, and I hate the way they sag at the nape of my neck. I’ve ripped back and re-knitted some of my older neckbands recently, and I’ve just done a basic rigid bind off instead of a special stretchy bind off. It seems to do a better job at stabilising the neck, and I haven’t had any trouble getting them over my head, so that’s what I did here instead of the tubular cast off recommended for the pattern. For further stability, I also hand sewed a length of Liberty bias tape (from The Fabric Store) along the shoulder seams and across the back neckline. I’m hopeful that this’ll help to stop any stretching, and I also think it looks really pretty!

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I’ve worn this jumper a heap since I finished it last month! It’s super warm, and is great for layering. It took me way longer than I expected to knit (I started it at Easter!), those rows and rows of stockinette were pretty dull…worth it in the end though! I’ve already started a 4ply spring/summer jumper, I think I might need to find some more storage for my growing collection…

(See it on my Ravelry page here)

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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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Persephone Pants

Does anyone else find the fashion trends that sweep the sewing community online interesting? I try not to jump on the newest, shiniest, most popular patterns on Instagram, so I’m a little late to the Persephone Party, but I’ve been planning these since I started seeing them popping up all over my feed! I do love the cropped-wide-leg silhouette, and the Persephone Pants by Anna Allen seemed to fit everyone who made them beautifully, so I decided to give them a crack. I have to admit that I had never heard of the Kamm Pant that these are modeled on, but 1940’s sailor style trousers are definitely something I’m in to…

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I sewed these up using a bottle green wool twill that I picked up cheaply at one of The Fabric Warehouse’s pop up sales. It’s completely rigid, but is reasonably lightweight and I thought it would be a good alternative for the canvas that is recommended for the pattern. the buttons for the fly and waistband and the cotton for the pocket bags all came from my stash too, pleasingly. I’m trying to ‘shop my stash’ as much as possible, so it’s nice to have used up some random bits and bobs! I was especially glad to find a button for the waistband which is a pretty close match for the wool, I really like the way it looks.

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The buttons for the fly are not quite such a good colour match, but as they’re hidden I thought they’d be ok. I secured the piece of the fly with the buttonholes to the fly facing with a row of horizontal stitches between each buttonhole before topstitching it down, as suggested on the Tessuti blog, and it’s really helped to keep the fly sitting flat and covering the buttons, rather than pulling away at the centre front. The only other place I deviated from the instructions was when I was cutting out the pocket bags. I thought I was being really clever and saving on bulk by cutting all four pocket bags from the Liberty scraps I was using, but I didn’t think about the fact that there is no pocket facing or anything to camouflage the opening of the pockets under the waistband. If I had followed the instructions and used the main fabric for the back piece of each pocket the opening wouldn’t have been so obvious! I thought I might get away with it, but when I put them on for the first time I realised that the peek of pale cotton at the waistband made it look like the waistband was pulling away from the trouser legs and exposing my knickers! Not quite what I was going for… I wasn’t game to unpick everything to fix my mistake though, so I cheated and just slip-stitched the pockets closed. I wasn’t likely to use them anyway…

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For a pattern with no side seams, I think the fit across the front is really pretty good. I was a bit disheartened to see those wrinkles across the front of my hips, but I think that’s just a hazard of trousers in a non-stretch woven. Looking at the photos of the back though I think I need to make some adjustments before I use this pattern again. Maybe some more length in the back crotch curve? I’ll need to compare it to my adjusted Maritime Shorts pattern so see how different the shape is. I’ve seen similar wrinkles on other versions on Instagram, but haven’t seen anyone talking about how to fix them!

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Look at that lack of side seams! This was a really fun pattern to put together, there were some really nice details included in the pattern and instructions, though I did have to pay a bit more attention to the seam allowances than usual as they change depending on the area under construction. The required seam allowances were well documented on both the pattern pieces and at each step in the instructions, but I do tend to go onto autopilot sometimes! It’s nice to sew something that kept me on my toes. I do wish that the PDF pattern had been slightly more user friendly, there is no page printing guide to help with printing only one view, and the way that it’s laid out meant that there was no way to print only the pieces for the size 6 trousers that I was sewing instead of the fly pieces and waistbands for every size. But at least I’ve already got the pattern all printed and stuck together for the shorts as well, which I’m definitely planning to sew for summer!

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I am going to have to sew some body suits or some full bum high waisted knickers to wear under these to cut down on the wrinkles and bumps left by tucking things in. In the summer at least I can just wear cropped tops with them and cut down on the tucking in! I also might add some back pockets to the shorts when I make them, just to break up the back view a little bit. The true high waist on this pattern means that there is a large expanse of unbroken fabric for the back view… I’m not sure if patch pockets like the ones from the Lander Pants or mock welt pockets would look best.

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All in all I’m really happy with these trousers, I love the 70’s feel they have with the cropped length, and I think they look pretty cute with my clogs! I took 2 inches off the hem to make them a bit more cropped, they were sitting at that slightly awkward ”just on the top of my shoe” length as drafted and it didn’t look quite right. A longer, full length pair would look good though…

Rise and Fall

An alternative title for this post could be “Sewing clothes I hate wearing to see if I like them more once I’ve made them myself”, but I thought that was a bit of a mouthful. See, I have a bit of a conundrum, I hate having a cold neck (or even worse, having a cold breeze blowing down my back!), but I also hate having things tight around my neck or across my throat. Generally, turtlenecks make me feel claustrophobic and a bit panic-y, but I keep seeing all these stylish ladies wearing them and I was jealous of how warm and toasty they must be! So I thought I would have a go at making my own, using the Papercut Rise and Fall Turtleneck patterns.

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I made both versions, to see if I preferred one over the other. Rise is a classic turtleneck, with set sleeves and a short, close fitting turtleneck. Fall is looser, with a drop shoulder and a much longer, looser turtleneck which can either be folded over on itself or left scrunched down like in these photos. My Rise version is a black merino/lycra blend, and the Fall turtleneck is made out of a dusty rose coloured merino, both from the stash. I sewed both up with my overlocker, and used my coverstitch for the hems, so they’re looking nice and neat! I used a standard two needle stitch for the hems on the black one, as I have lots of spools of black thread, but I had to use a single needle chain stitch for the pink one because I only had a tiny bit of matching thread left, nowhere near enough for two rows of stitching!

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I cut a size XS in both tops, which is my standard size when I’m sewing Papercut Patterns. I was slightly surprised by how short both tops came up, both in the body and the sleeves. The sleeves on the black version in particular are bordering on too short, but I don’t want to add cuffs! I find them a bit fussy, and I like how simple the lines on the Rise turtleneck are. I’ll just need to remember to add a couple of centimeters to the length of  them if i made it again! The sleeves on the Fall turtleneck are a better length, I think I might have turned up a smaller hem since I was using chain stitch to sew the hem.

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I’m surprised I like them both as much as I do, but I’m even more surprised that I prefer the Rise version to the Fall! I assumed that the looser neck on the Fall would be more comfortable to me, but the turtleneck on the Rise is loose enough that it isn’t pressing on my throat, and because it’s short and light it doesn’t collapse against my neck like the Fall version. I also prefer the slim set in sleeves over the dropped shoulders on the Fall, I keep feeling the dropped shoulder seam rubbing on my upper arm and thinking it’s my bra strap slipping off my shoulder! Either way, they’re both stopping the Wellington southerly gales from getting down the neck of my tops, which I’m appreciating at the moment.

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One thing I haven’t figured out yet is quite how to wear either top when I need layers. They look ridiculously preppy if I wear them under my Driftless Cardi’s, like I’m in costume as a stereotypical librarian or something. Any suggestions? Maybe I just need to wear them over a superfine thermal layer or something. I would like to have a go at layering them under some dresses, I can’t stop thinking how cute the Rise would be under a pinafore style dress like the Tessuti Claudia or the Closet Case Patterns Fiona