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…

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York Pinafore

I often buy patterns when they’re first released, intending to make them up pretty quickly, and then my tendency to procrastinate and inability to settle on a fabric kick in and I rarely make them up as rapidly as I intended. The York Pinafore by Helen’s Closet is one of the few which I printed and made up within a week of buying the pattern! I think it helped that I was primed for it’s release, I had seen Emma’s tester version and loved it immediately, and I knew it would be perfect in a few fabrics I had in my stash.

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I was a little bit wary of the cocoon shaped skirt on the York, so I decided to make it up in some fabric that I wouldn’t mind losing if it didn’t work out. This is a lightweight stretch denim from the Fabric Store that they were selling cheap because it was massively overdyed. I washed it a couple of times, and it came right though! It’s indigo on one side and black on the other, and I used the black side (which I think is the wrong side, but I wanted it to be really neutral so I used it anyway!). Because it’s winter, and I wanted to be able to wear it comfortably with tights, I lined it with a stretch poly lining from my stash. I have no idea where that came from, but it was perfect for this project! I used some vintage turquoise bias tape around the arms and neckline, and had just enough to do the hem as well. So satisfying to use up so many bits from the stash in one project!

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I cut a size small, which was a little smaller than my measurements but I thought there was enough ease that it’d be ok, and would tone down the cocoon shape that I was a bit worried about! I shortened it an inch at the lower lengthen shorten line, and and half an inch at the upper lengthen/shorten line on both the front and back. I wanted the bottom of the scooped sides to hit at the smallest part of my waist, as I thought that would look best. I cut the length half way  between the long and short hem lengths, and I love where it’s sitting.

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Initially I was a bit worried that the bib was too narrow, I was concerned that it would look like my boobs were making a break for it out either side! I think the proportions are just right though, now that I’ve worn it a couple of times. If I widened it I think I would need to add a little dart to stop it gaping over my bust, and I think that would start to look a bit fussy…

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I used the patch pockets, which are awesomely huge and deep! I saw a version where the patch pockets had been turned into welt pockets, and I would love to try that on another version. They looked really sleek and modern with the rest of the silhouette. And it turns out I really like the silhouette! The cocoon shape is way more flattering than I thought it would be, and its a really easy and comfortable dress to wear. I can imagine wearing it over nearly all of the tee shirts in my wardrobe (I love it over all my stripes!), and I think it would look cute over my shirts as well. I’m wearing it here with my latest Lark Tee, a boat neck version made up in a rayon stripe that I bought at Fabricabrac a few weeks ago. Its lovely and soft, and I love the navy and white! I do need to go back and add a label into the back neckline though, I thought I would be able to tell them apart but I’ve just realised that I put it on back to front when I was getting dressed this afternoon (after trying on some wedding dresses, so much fun!). Clearly not so easy to tell the back from the front as I thought!

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I’m leaving you with this gem of a picture, because I think it shows the outfit really well, but it also shows what happens when I ask my sister to take some pictures for me and I just talk the whole way through the ‘shoot’! Thanks for thanks for taking the photos Abby, and for dodging the group of tweens who wanted to take photos against the same patch of wall…

90’s throwback

*edit to add: for some reason the pictures failed to upload properly for the first version of this post, which is the one that was emailed out if you follow me via email. I’m sorry about that!*

This revival of 90’s fashion is weirding me out a little bit, it’s the first time clothing I remember wearing when I was a kid is back in the shops! I vividly remember having a slip dress when I was 8 or 9, it was chocolate brown and had a cream ditzy floral print. I wore it over one of those white ribbed tee shirts that everyone had, probably with jelly sandals, and I thought I was so cool. And now, 20 years later, I’ve cycled back around to the cami-dress and tee shirt combo! I’m not doing jellies again though, those things gave me wicked blisters…


This is the Mito Cami/Dress from Papercut Patterns. I admit, I passed over this one when it was first released, it looked a bit too cleavage-y and the low back makes wearing a bra hard. Then I started seeing the whole slip and tee shirt combo coming back, and I changed my mind about it! I really like the shape of this pattern, the triangular bodice pieces and the scooped back are so pretty. I chose my usual Papercut size of XS, which is a size down from where my measurements put me, but which seems to fit best! 


I chose a very drapey dark teal rayon crepe from deep in my stash to try this out. I love how flowy the crepe is with this pattern, but it does hang very heavily from that central point where the skirt and bodice pieces meet. Something with a bit more structure (or less weight) would sit more smoothly there I think! I debated about whether I should sew fixed length straps, but in the end I followed the instructions and used lingerie sliders to make them adjustable. If I shorten the straps heaps I can hike the back of the dress up high enough to cover my bra band, though I doubt I’ll be wearing it alone! It’s a good option for a slip though…

I did make my life slightly more complicated by changing the order of construction so that I could line the bodice cleanly. I sewed the skirt pieces to just the outer bodice pieces, and then hand sewed the lining pieces over the seam so that it’s all nice and tidy inside. 


The tee shirt I’m wearing here is also a new one, it’s a crew neck Lark tee made in some more of the striped cotton/Lycra knit that I made a long sleeved version out of last year. I’ve used every version of the Lark pattern now! I used the short sleeve piece here, but I prefer the cap sleeve I think. Something to remember for next time! 

Waverly and Lark

Well, I’m still without my laptop! It’s such a pain, I’ve got three biggish projects photographed and ready to blog, but I can’t edit my photos until I get it back. First world blogging issues for sure! In the meantime, here is a quick little post to show off a recently finished knitting project and (another) Lark tee.


Apparently I was feeling very stern when I took these photos…

Knitting first! This is the Waverly Scarf pattern from Knitbot, which came as a free download with her latest book, Texture (though I see you can now buy it on Ravelry). I really love a lot of the patterns in Texture, I’m currently knitting the Eventide Cardi, but I was especially taken with the basket weave texture of this scarf so I knitted it first!


I used Quince and Co Osprey in the Canvas colourway, which is exactly the same as the sample. Such originality! I wanted another neutral scarf that wasn’t grey, and this cream/beige/nude colour is perfect. It goes with everything, but I think it looks especially nice with navy! Because it’s a 12 ply yarn it knitted up pretty quickly, though I have found that the resulting fabric is really dense and sometimes sits away from my neck if I don’t get it sitting just right when I put it on. I haven’t blocked it yet, because it’s been cold and I’ve been wearing it, but once the weather warms up I’ll wet block it and hopefully that’ll relax the stitches a bit.


Another thing that I think adds to it’s stiffness is the way the edges roll in, it just makes it a bit more bulky instead of draping around my neck. Again, hopefully blocking will sort that out! Regardless, it’s a lovely scarf and it’s kept me super warm this winter. I find that the loose ends of my Guernsey Wrap blow around (and off, sometimes), but obviously that isn’t a problem with Waverly!



I’ve finally photographed this merino Lark tee! Instagram tells me I made it last August, and I’ve worn it lots in the last year. It’s the long sleeved boat neck version, obviously. Because I had a bit of trouble with the neckline sagging on my previous version, I used a self fabric facing instead of turning and stitching. It’s worked really well, the neckline is still sitting perfectly.


The Fabric is a lovely fine merino from Drapers Fabrics in Auckland, I was so happy to see a nice striped merino! I’ve found that a lot of the striped merino around tends to be light colours or really narrow stripes, but this one is perfect. 


Hopefully I won’t be needing all of my winter woolies for too much longer, but I’m glad to have these ones in my wardrobe!

Rocky Bottoms

I often buy patterns that take my fancy as soon as I see them, but I don’t often bump them up to the top of my sewing queue. The Named Minttu Swing Top was one example of a pattern I bought and made immediately, and apparently the Megan Nielsen Flint Pants are another!

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I have to admit, these trousers are pretty far outside my usual comfort zone! I tend to go for close fitting garments on my bottom half, skinny jeans and pegged trousers are my standard fare. Cropped wide leg trousers are definitely an anomaly in my wardrobe, I still think they’re probably too fashionable and “cool girl” for me! I loved the samples and the line drawings though, and then I found this slate grey crepe for $3 p/m at The Fabric Warehouse sale and thought I should push myself and give them a go (also, slate+flint=rocky bottoms! Terrible pun, but I’m not deleting it…).

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The pattern sewed up really quickly and easily, the lack of zipper or complicated closure definitely helped to speed things up! Instead, the waistband opens at the left pocket, with the pocket itself acting as a kind of gusset to let you in and out of the trousers, and is held closed by two buttons (or by really cute ties, which I am definitely going to try when I make the shorts version next summer!). I made up a straight size small, and I think the fit is really good. I did have to take an inch off the bottom, and I used a 2 inch hem allowance, but I’m only 158cm tall (5’2″ ish), so that’s to be expected. I considered taking a bit more off the hem, but I couldn’t decide if they looked funny shorter or not. What do you think of the length?

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This crepe fabric was a pretty good pick for these trousers I think! Its lovely and heavy and swishy, which I think helps them not look too overwhelming or clownish. It’s pretty thick, so I did have to grade the seams at the waistband pretty enthusiastically, especially around the pleats and pockets. It’s also polyester (I know, I know, but it’s so drapey and nice, and it was so cheap!), so it doesn’t crease or press very well, so the front pleats aren’t exactly crisp, but that’s ok. it also means they won’t wrinkle with wear, which is a win!

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As usual, I didn’t exactly make things easy for myself. I somehow managed to snip a hole right in the middle of the right front piece as I was cutting it out. I don’t know how I managed it, I must have been waving my scissors around like a maniac, but it was instant panic stations because I definitely didn’t have enough fabric to cut out another leg! In the end, I fused a scrap of interfacing to the hole, and then hand mended it. Thank god it’s mostly hidden in the pleat, because it’s far from an invisible mend! Hopefully most people shouldn’t be looking too closely at my pleats…

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Realistically this is probably how I’ll be wearing my Flint Trousers most of the time, with a tee shirt and flats (the tee shirt is a long sleeved Lark Tee, in a lovely cotton/lycra from Tessuti. I’ve made a few Larks which haven’t made it to the blog yet, I’ll try to sneak them into other posts!), but I think they look nice dressed up with heels and a cami or other fancy top too. Once I have a job which requires grown up clothing rather than pyjamas scrubs, I think they’d be a good addition to a work wardrobe! I think I’ll make another Nettie Bodysuit to wear with these, anything to stop my top wrinkling up underneath them.

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Apologies for these pictures being a bit dark, it’s so gloomy today! The clocks went back for winter in New Zealand overnight, so while I was pleased to get a bonus hour, I’m also bummed that now its going to be getting dark by 5.30-6pm! I need to get a brighter lightbulb for the lamp in my sewing room so that I can do stuff in the evenings…

What’s black and white and black and white and black and white?

I seem to have come over all monochromatic recently. I’ve barely worn black clothes for nearly ten years, since I emerged from my mopey teenage goth years, and I can probably count on one hand the number of black clothes I’ve sewn for myself. But in the last few months I’ve bought several lengths of black fabric, and this is my second monochrome post in a row! Maybe I’ve finally got over the traumatic memories of those goth outfits…

  

This is another two for one post, because I’ve made and blogged both patterns before. The top is (of course) another Grainline Studio Lark tee, this time with cap sleeves and a boat neck. I used some 100% cotton that I picked up at Drapers Fabrics in Auckland when I was up there at the end of last year, and it is so soft and lovely! Being pure cotton it is starting to pill a little bit on one hip, where my bag rubs against it, which is a shame. I have enough fabric to make another one though, so if this one gets too shabby looking I’ll just replace it. Can’t just give up on my perfect striped tee!  
 
I took about 2″ off the length off this tee, at the lengthen/shorten line, and then took a deep hem, so I think its probably been shortened by at least 3″. I love the length it is now, just right for wearing untucked. The only thing I would change for next time would be to consider making a facing for the neckline. Turning and stitching would probably be fine for fabric with good recovery, but the 100% cotton does get a bit saggy with wear. I think a facing with some light knit interfacing would help it to hold its lovely shape.
  

So, onto the trousers! These are the Named Alexandria Peg Trousers, made up in a lovely wool crepe from The Fabric Store. I really wanted a ‘winter weight’ pair of these trousers, but realistically there are more spring/autumn weight and the Wellington wind cuts straight through the crepe! We’ve had some lovely fine weather here this autumn though, so they’ve been getting some decent wear.
  

I made them exactly the same as my rayon pair, except this time I used two gold eyelets at the centre front and ran some black grosgrain ribbon through the waistband. I didn’t pick very good elastic to use, it is very soft and I had a terrible time trying to keep it flat inside the waistband as I was topstitching it!
  

I made the pocket bags out of some scraps of black linen to help stabilise the stretchier crepe at the front pockets, and it seems to have worked really well, they aren’t bagging out or anything. I added the patch pockets on the back too, as they actually show up on this plain fabric! I loved sewing with the wool crepe, its so lovely and malleable. It is a tiny bit rough, but nothing major. The biggest downside to these pants is how much fluff sticks to them! Cat fur, thread, lint…its like wool crepe is a fluff magnet. I might have to buy shares in whichever company makes those sticky lint rollers. 
 
I got my little sister to take these photos after we had been out for lunch with Mum, its so nice to get some pictures away from my teal wall! She’s a very good photographer, but I still managed to be pulling terrible faces in about 75% of the photos. Then there are some gems like the one above… I do like this little side alleyway though, with pretty street art and trees growing out of the bricks. I really like this outfit too! Just goofy grins all round, really.
(As for what is black and white and black and white and black and white, its a penguin rolling down a hill. Obviously.)

Back in Black

This is not the post I was hoping to write this weekend! I had really hoped that I’d have my Republique du Chiffon Madeleine Dress finished for my friends 30th birthday party last night, but last weekend I was struck down with some god awful bug so I never made it past the muslin stage. I definitely did not trust myself with my gorgeous fabric and scissors when my head was so wooly and I was sneezing with such alarming force. I’m still not 100% better (I’ve still got sinus pain and a cough like a seal with a furball), but I’m functioning well enough that I managed to whip up this simple skirt on Saturday in time to be worn to the party that night. 

I am having a terrible hair day in these pictures, I have no idea what’s going on with it. It looked fine from the front!

This is the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt, made up in a cotton blend from The Fabric Store. It was super quick and simple to make, even in my less than sharp mental state. I’ve made the mini version here, though there is also a knee length version. I’d like to have a go at making one in the longer length for summer in linen or something similar. I think it probably needs to be made in a fabric with some body to hold the pleats, this cotton works really well to hold the pretty shape of the skirt.
  
The fabric is very silver on the reverse, it would be fun to use in a garment where both sides could be seen!  I’ve only used one other Sew Over It pattern (the Vintage Shirt Dress), but in both cases they are excelent patterns. The skirt went together so easily, it was lovely to sew. Unfortunately, its turned out a bit small in the waistband (as you can probably tell in these pictures), its cutting in at the top edge. I’m pretty sure this is down to my body shape rather than the pattern or sizing though! Curved waistbands often don’t sit right on my super short waist, I just don’t think there is room between the top of my hips and the bottom of my ribcage for a wide curved waistband. I might try a slightly thinner straight waistband if I make it again.
 

 

I do like this skirt though, even if it is slightly less confortable than it could be! Its cute and looks good with tights and boots or with heels for a slightly more formal look. And it has pockets! Always a big plus.

I also made my top, its another Lark tee in fine black merino ( I’ve been making a few Larks recently, but I’ll try to add them into other posts. There are only so many tee shirt posts you can read!). I chose the scoop neck and 3/4 sleeve combo this time, and added a keyhole and shell button to the back neckline because I can’t help meddling with patterns. 

  
It was a very mathematical and carefully thought out addition (not). After cutting out the back but before unfolding it, I drew around a whiskey tumbler to get a half circle centred on the fold so that the bottom of the circle was roughly level with the bottom of the armscye. Then I drew a straight line from the edge of the circle up to the central point of the neckline, then cut it out. I overlocked the edge, then ironed it under and topstitched it down with a twin needle. Then I assembled the rest of the top as usual. I sewed the neckband on flat rather than in the round, and then overlapped it slightly at the centre back and sewed the button through both layers of neckband. I was inspired by this Anthropologie top, and I think it turned out pretty well! 

 

Camilla Tee, Anthropologie. Found via pinterest.
 
Its getting to the time of year when merino tee shirts make a perfect layering item, so I’m glad to have another one in my wardrobe!