Happy half-decade blog!

As of today, I've been keeping this corner of the internet alive for half a decade - happy birthday blog! I wanted to mark this not-quite-momentous occasion with a small post, but the inspiration hasn't really struck me. What I can say is how proud I am that sewing has gone from my small-time hobby to a full blown lifestyle choice, and I'm glad I've stuck to writing about it for so long. I'm so very thankful to the people, pattern companies fellow sewists and sewing businesses who've supported this small personal venture of mine. The encouragement, advice and friendship I've been fortunate enough to receive over the years is more than I could have ever dreamed of when I started writing in 2014.

Pondering blogging, sewing, life...
Whilst blogs were rumoured to be on the out while mine was on the in, I still have the hope and stubborn belief that The Magnificent Thread will live on beyond and outside of scroll city and the Instagram algorithm/like circus. I still like reading long format reviews and I hope you do too! And audience aside, my own reviews have proven to be useful reference points for charting my evolving style, growing skill set, previous pattern iterations and notes for next time. This blog and my clothes have been my rather public diary for the past 5 years and long may it continue.

I've been pondering some of these things over the weekend wearing my latest make: the Vogue V9218 robe in View B. It's been nice to take a step back and invest my sewing time in something that's not for my wardrobe or any particular 'look', but entirely for me - a piece that almost no one would have ever seen until I went and put it on the internet (of course)! I'd definitely recommend a similar make if you need to press pause on your sewing plans and regroup.

I'll wind up this little stream of consciousness now by saying thank you again for taking the time to stop by my blog, whether that's been in the past, the present or maybe even in the future. If you're a fellow blog-advocate, I'd be grateful if you could let me know some of your favourites (and yours!) below so I can keep following and supporting as many as possible.

Lots of love,

Ready to Sew Julien Jacket

It's been a while, but I always love the opportunity to pattern test for Ready to Sew, and the Julien might be one of my favourites yet! The weather is just making a change for the better over here and the Julien Chore Jacket is the perfect spring layer to throw on with just about anything, apart from animal print in my case, as let's just say I went a bit... wild with my fabric choice!

The Ready to Sew Julien
Julien is a simple boxy jacket, inspired by vintage French workwear, with a few neat bits of detailing to keep things interesting, along with French seams and (my favourite) plenty of topstitching! It's not too dissimilar from the RTW styles you might see at Everlane, Toast or even Topshop at the minute. The sizing runs from 32-52 (it's the second Ready to Sew pattern available in an extended size range) and the pattern offers half sizes, along with links to extra tutorials on grading between sizes, lengthening or shortening, enlarging the sleeves and doing an FBA. 

Julien line drawings
My finished Julien!
My measurements set me between a 38 at the hips, 39 at the waist and a 40 at the bust, so not a huge difference on the sizing scale. I always love that Ready to Sew PDFs are layered, allowing you to just print the pattern lines for the size(s) you want to make. This would've made it really easy to grade if I wanted to, but I decided to go with a straight size 39, which has turned out to be a great fit.

There's a whole range of fabrics that would be suitable for Julien - everything from linen for a lighter more shirt-like look, to quite heavy denims for a more durable finish - but I think this might just be my defining moment in fabric selection. I'd planned to go for an on-trend khaki, until I came across this incredible snakeskin print cotton drill from Fabric Godmother and the make turned fully 'on safari'. (It's still available here and I can't tell you how tempted I am by the matching cotton and silk mix too)!
Yes - you may notice that I did change my tights halfway through picture taking!
I used just under 1.6m for the size 39 with a bit of shuffling to the cutting layout (the recommended fabric requirements are 1.85m for sizes 32-44 and 2.4m for sizes 45-52). I bought a 2m length of my fabric so I should have some enough left for some excellent #sewingleftovers - I think it's finally time to make that Fennel Fanny Pack!

The pattern is intermediate level, but I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a challenge too. I found it really easy and enjoyable to make, particularly as it employs a simple approach to the construction of some ordinarily quite challenging elements of a jacket/shirt.

Back view
The back vent is constructed using a clever bit of folding, rather than being made up of multiple pattern pieces. The button placket and sleeve openings are also really simple to construct, and nowhere near as challenging as a regular shirt, yet still have every bit a professional finish, inside and out. The sleeve opening equally saves on pattern pieces, as you just use the seam allowances to create it, and it looks great!

Sleeve/cuff detailing
Pocket detail!
The jacket is unlined, but the inside finish is well considered too, with French seams employed for most edges. A lot of the seams are also topstitched, partly as a design feature, but also for extra durability. The only thing that's a shame about this particular fabric is that it's glowing white on the underside - I wish it was snakeskin print all the way through!

Neat inside and out!

The only thing I changed with mine was to interface the upper collar piece and the cuffs. The instructions don't suggest doing so (the interfacing is just for the button placket), and with a lot of heavier fabrics it's probably not needed, but I thought it would improve the structure of my jacket. Other than that, its spot on and I'd make it exactly the same next time.

Lovely Julien!
I can't recommend the Julien enough, and whilst it might take me a while to get round to it (I've had the Ready to Sew Joe Blazer queued up for about a year!) I'd definitely like to make another, probably in a plain block colour. Thanks to Raph for letting me test yet another fantastic pattern :)

For more inspiration check out #julienreadytosew
The Julien pattern is available now from here

Stay in touch!

Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit

I can be guilty of shying away from intricacies of shirt making, but when I go for it, I definitely don't do things by halves! I combined the opportunity to test some lovely fabric with putting my shirt sewing skills (and more) to the test for my first post as a part of the Minerva Crafts Maker Team!
Finished Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit
You can read all about my experience sewing the Fibre Mood Carmella Jumpsuit over on the Minerva blog now! Check it out here.

Hope you like the finished thing as much as I do! Thanks Minerva Crafts for providing the fabric for this project.

Stay in touch!

Paper Theory Olya Shirt

Has it really been over a month since I last sat at the machine? Life (lots of the good bits and some of the not so good) just got in the way in February, so it was quite a challenge to get back to sewing, and the project I chose was a bit of a challenge in itself! Whilst I probably should've picked a make that would ease me back in, the Paper Theory Olya Shirt contains all the things that excite me about a pattern - precision, top stitching and insanely clever and unusual construction - and it was worth tackling!

Paper Theory Olya Shirt
Tara kindly sent me a PDF copy of the Olya after I posted Insta-musings of what I might make with this amazing fabric. It's rare that I buy a fabric without specific plans in mind, and maybe even rarer that I buy patterned fabric, but I was just so drawn to this very cheap (£2p/m) cotton/viscose/lurex woven mix when I saw it in Liverpool's Abakhan.

At first glance, the pattern could be mistaken for a fairly classic shirt, but inspect the line drawing more closely and you'll see some subtle quirks that make it quite the opposite - mainly the geometric cut of the front yoke and sleeve, and the fact that there's actually no front armhole! It's a crazy design that's quite hard to explain - I had to make it to understand it myself!

Olya Shirt and Shirt Dress line drawings

The construction notes are seriously thorough and quite refreshing in that they actually acknowledge the steps of the project that are challenging. This was a real reassurance when I did come into difficulty during the make, and I must stress that it was through no fault in instructions - this was just one of those projects where everything went wrong for me before it went right! There's also a super comprehensive online sewalong available here, which makes each step really clear.

Finished Olya!
The make throws you straight in at the first step with constructing the sleeve plackets. Despite accidentally sewing things the wrong way round, so my cuff opens the opposite way to what it's meant to, they're probably some of my finest plackets - they're just a little more awkward to fasten when wearing!

Backwards sleeve plackets

A full page of instructions is dedicated to producing the pockets that sit within the the seam joining the front yoke and body. I stupidly overlooked a step and sewed them in a funny way so I couldn't turn my pocket bags through properly. A quick bit of unpicking and a *proper* read of the instructions meant they were easy enough to fix!

Little flash of the very neat inside pocket
Topstitching the pockets down seemed to be more of a design feature so I opted not to as my fabric was already a bit fussy, but in hindsight, I think it would have been beneficial in holding everything neatly in place. I'm quite full busted so in this fairly fluid fabric, the pockets were destined to gape open over my boobs - not quite the 'eye-catching' look I intended! - so I've tacked them closed for now. I'm pretty confident they'll work out better in a plain and heavier fabric next time, with the addition of the topstitching and button closures.

Back view
The sleeve/yoke construction is really exciting to make. The pattern offers a full page of in-depth instructions on just creating the square corner that joins the front yoke/sleeve to the back body - something I was very grateful for because this is really some never-seen-before sewing stuff! The finished join creates a really cool silhouette and cleverly shapes the front - which I found to be quite accommodating for my bust.

Geometric seaming joining the back/arm/front yoke
Size wise, I sat in the middle of a 10 and a 12 for the bust and waist (smaller at the hips) but I opted for the size 10 based on the finished measurements and knowing that the style is a bit oversized. I like the fit of the 10 but think I think it would be equally great being slightly more oversized too.

I only spotted one thing to really watch out for... The shirt requires 11 buttons rather than the suggested 9 if you intend to use matching buttons for the pocket closures too! Luckily I didn't this time, but definitely something to be aware of for next!

It took a bit of effort to style the Olya in a way I felt comfortable with, and I now realise it's because I don't really have many (any?) proper shirts in my wardrobe - am I unconsciously identifying gaps now?! I think it has a real 70s vibe to it in these pictures (worn with Lander Pants), which I'm totally into, though I'm still undecided as to how I like it best, worn open as an extra layer, or buttoned closed... what do you think?

No way am I finished with this pattern just yet, especially now I've spotted a wardrobe gap to fill. I have a plain grey flannel lined up for version two, which I can definitely see becoming a layering staple - and a bit more in keeping with some of that Berlin style inspo I was gushing over last month. A block colour will be perfect for really showing off the cool style lines too. This time, let's see if I can get everything right...

Stay in touch!

I went to Berlin and all I got was more sewing inspiration...

A weekend in Berlin has left my head is spinning with ideas of the sewing variety - I knew it was only a matter of time before something threw off my seemingly good progress with my #2019makenine. The effortlessly cool style of the native Berlin crowd is truly something to be admired, whether out and about in the day, or enjoying the latest of late nightlife the city has to offer. Whilst making conscious plans to dress like a Berlin-er is the exact opposite of effortless and discounts all cool points, I can't help but want to draw inspiration from the city's style and impart it into my sewing.
Berlin style
So here are my Berlin basics. Loose ideas, some already in the works, some already there and some potential future sewing plans. Let's call it a 'thoughtful effortlessness' for those of us who it doesn't always come naturally to...

The trousers:
I never thought I'd wear flares again after the teenage discovery of skinny jeans, but now I'm talking about sewing a pair, who'd have thought it? After my success with the Trend Patterns Utility Trousers - which could also be pretty 'Berlin' in a more neutral fabric/colour - I'm encouraged to try out the TPC10 Wide Leg Flare. Other flares suggestions welcome!

Style notes: The coolest of casual looks paired black flares with DMs not too dissimilar to the ones below.
The trousers
To make: Trend Patterns Flares

The shoes:
Some things from the 90s should not have been resurrected in my opinion, including clompy Sketchers and Spice Girl shoes, but 'ugly trainers' are where it's at. I've never been a big trainer fan, but the shoe I definitely can do is also a Berlin staple: a solid Doc Marten Boot. I already have a pair like the ones below (the Jadon I think?) and always feel 10x cooler the minute I put them on.

Style notes: To wear with anything and everything (especially flares), day or night.

The shoes

The (bum) bag:
I'm torn by my interest in the bum bag - is it just too fashion?! Nevertheless, a modern-times version of the accessory of my childhood was on my #2019makenine in the form of the Fennel Fanny Pack, and across the body of every other young Berlin-er we saw.

Style notes: the bum bag is no longer just for bums or waists and should now be formally recognised in it's primary function as an 'under armpit bag'.

The bag
To make: Sarah Kirsten Fennel Fanny Pack

The coat:
Long, bold in silhouette, yet neutral in colour and design: the people of Berlin really do love an ankle-skimming, oversized jacket. Whilst I could always be tempted to make more jackets (I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to coat inspo) in this case, I think my Named Clothing Isla Trench is already pretty perfect. Now just to work on some toned down styling.

Style notes: to be worn open, and layered - Fall Turtlenecks and Paper Theory Olya Shirts could work!

The coat
To re-style: Isla Trench 

The shop (if I shopped):
My boyfriend said 'they're your kind of clothes' as we passed the window of the Corvera Vargas shop in Kreuzberg and he was absolutely right. I went in to admire them and spoke to one of the members of staff who told me that all garments were designed locally and produced in Poland using only production leftovers and remnants - my kind of brand! - with the aim of reducing waste from the fashion industry.

Corvera Vargas, Pflügerstraße 70, 12047 Berlin
I particularly liked their Tanger Jumpsuit, which I think draws some similarities to the Fibre Mood Carmella that I recently finished (coming soon to the Minerva Crafts Blog). There are definitely a few hacking opportunities to be had with this pattern in the future!

The Tanger Jumpsuit
So... fanny pack and flares... do you think it's a look?

We've been to Berlin before and will definitely go again - the fashion inspiration is just a fun aside to such a great city (which also has a Stoff & Stil if you needed any more encouragement)! But for now and before next time, it's back to sewing, with a few new plans. 

Stay in touch!

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