Purple Power Pair ft. Simplicity 8609

Here's an outfit for the days when I'm feeling bold, or the days when I'm not quite there yet, but bold is what I'm aiming for! The colour scheming wasn't intentional, but these two garments are such a perfect match that they couldn't not be blogged as a pair. The new Simplicity Patterns 8609 top meets a pair of vintage pattern 'palazzos' to make (in my opinion) one hell of a strong look!

A purple pair!
I'm writing this on a day where I don't feel so bold at all, but even just looking at these pictures is making me feel colourful/fun/happy - the power of clothes eh? The current UK heatwave is pushing me towards styles I might not normally try, namely View B of the Simplicity 8609... a crop top (because who needs the extra bother of top tucking in in this heat)! I bought this pattern solely for the top (and possibly the long sleeved version) and in all honesty hate the other designs included.

Simplicity 8609
I used a good quality purple jersey from my stash that I'd bought to make a t-shirt, but the fabric requirements for this pattern are so little that I think I might have enough left for some #sewingleftovers. I made a size 12 and used only 0.5m (the pattern suggests a still measly 0.7m). My bust measurement aligned more closely with the size 14, but I downsized as I wanted a close fit without the infamous Big 4 ease.

Simplicity 8609 and vintage pattern trouser co-ords
I'm glad I opted for the smaller size, as the arm holes really gaped and took some adjusting. This involved some frustrating unpicking as I'd attached the arm bands and done all the topstitching before I realised it wasn't just a little gape I could live with. I managed to get it to wearable by taking a wider side seam at the under arm, easing it out to the regular side seam at the waist. In future though, I'll probably redraw the curve of the arm holes to avoid this!

Purple on purple (and even purple nails)!

I really like the finished top and it pairs well with a lot of my current wardrobe favourites. This is probably the most naked my stomach's been in public since I wore a Spice Girls crop top in 1996, and I actually feel pretty great about it! Paired with high waisted bottoms like these and my M7661 culottes, it shows just the right amount of midriff without feeling too revealing - and this pairing in particular does have a bit of a 'Girl Power' vibe to it, don't you think?

Now onto what might just be my dream trousers! This pair are an updated version of the vintage Me Magazine Palazzo Pants Pattern from 1993. I'd just perfected the fit of them after a number of attempts before I got ill and lost weight, rendering the hard work I'd put into them pretty pointless! Whilst I've been able to adjust and take in some clothes now my weight's pretty stable, I'm slowly revisiting some of my favourite patterns to make updated versions. I downsized from a 14 to a 12 with these, but what I didn't anticipate was the effect this would have on the rise/crotch depth (should have known better after my long-crotch-Lander discoveries)! I salvaged them by sewing the crotch seams at 0.5cm to offer a bit more ease.

The original pattern from June 1993
Other than that small blip, the fit turned out close but comfortable, and I'm thrilled with them! The fabric is a bit lighter than I'd normally go for with trousers (maybe it's viscose?), but it has a really nice drape that works well with the pleats and wide legs. It was a Hebden Bridge Rag Market special for only a few pounds, and I already know I'll just have to make a #sewingleftovers Reeta Shirt with what's left - can't get enough of the faux jumpsuit look at the minute!

Back view
Detail - super shiny silver button from Duttons for Buttons in York
Maybe my sewing choices are subconsciously leaning towards creating a more cohesive wardrobe, or maybe this was a fluke match. Either way I totally love both garments worn together and as separates, and I'm encouraged to consider more conscious 'outfit' sewing in future. Jess (of Jess Sews Clothes) seems to have been doing quite a bit of this lately and producing some amazing results!

I'm curious to know, do other sewers approach making separates with an outfit in mind?

For now, catch me flashing my midriff and giving the peace sign around town - girl power!

Stay in touch!

M7661 Culottes

After the success of my first attempt with the McCall's M7661 (View A - the tie front, contrast side panel trousers, which I blogged about here) it was only right that I should test out View C, a pair of wide legged, high-waisted culottes. I love culottes. They're pretty much my go-to bottoms for work and play all summer, and as predicted, this version might just have bumped the Butterick B6178 off the top spot for my favourite culotte pattern!

M7661 in View C
I used fabric dug up from deep within my stash - clearly a forgotten gem as I'm sure I would've used it sooner had I remembered it. I bought a good chunk of it for just a couple of pounds from a Hebden Bridge Rag Market last year. It's a lightish weight cotton mix that makes for a lovely, airy wide-legged  trouser.

The fit through the waist and hip of View C is very similar to that of the trousers I made originally. This version is simplified slightly by skipping the contrast side panel, so I didn't have many excuses not to pattern match, particularly with the check of the fabric being quite large scale/bold too. The outcome is mostly good, and I'm not asking you to check out my bum, but check out that pattern match...!
Check that pattern match!
Pattern match perfection (on this side at least)!
Like my last version, I made a size 12 and the fit is on the comfortable side of spot on. I really haven't got much more to say about the construction or pattern that I didn't say last time other than how impressed I am with both versions! The silhouette is really easy to wear - the culottes are probably a bit more casual then the trousers. Below you can see them with the tie belts open - these are sewn into the side seams so can be fastened as loosely or tight as you like around the front.
Tie belts
I'm feeling a real increase in confidence and interest in 'Big 4' patterns at the moment and my results with the M7661 have been a real influencing factor in this (please someone else make a pair so it's not just me singing the pattern's praises)! I've just bought a couple of Simplicity patterns (the S8608 for the jumpsuit and the S8609 for the tops) so I'm hoping I'll have similar success with those!

Does anyone else have any favourite 'Big 4' patterns of the moment?

Stay in touch!

Stitcher's Brew Podcast - Episode 18!

I had the absolute pleasure of popping down to London to be on Stitcher's Brew Podcast, chatting personal style and sewing the trends with the lovely Dominique Major! We recorded it way back in April and I'm pleased to be able to say that our episode (number 18) it's out now!

It was great fun talking to Gabby and Megan about our sewing stories, style influences and when you should wear socks and when not! If you fancy putting a voice to a face, then do give it a listen! I didn't quite realise quite how strong my Yorkshire accent was until I listened back to the episode... here's hoping everyone can understand me haha.

A bit of behind the scenes, with tea and cake of course!
If you've not given Stitcher's Brew a try yet then I'd totally recommend delving into the archives for some great chats with lots of inspiring makers. (Our episode is the follow up to Heather Lou's of Closet Case Patterns... no pressure/no big deal)!

Me and Dominique!
Catch all the episodes at http://www.stitchersbrewpodcast.co.uk 
And all the info about episode 18 is here

Thanks Gabby and Megan for inviting me to take part :)

Stay in touch!

Sewing Leftovers: Reeta Shirts

I have a trio of totally game changing shirts to show you today, all made and worn aplenty during (Me Made) May - if you caught my round up posts then you'll have already seen them pop up a number of times. As ever, I realised my desperate lack of tops early on in the month, so whipped up my first cropped hack of the Named Clothing Reeta Shirt Dress with some #sewingleftovers. Then came another, also in leftovers, and finally a third version in fabric bought from Stoff & Stil on a recent trip to Berlin. It's a really easy, quick and versatile hack, and a new-to-me wardrobe staple.
Reeta Shirt in white crepe
Reeta Shirt in leftover suiting fabric from a recent project

Fabric: The white one is made of a leftover crepe/poly mix that's been in my stash for years and the black pinstripe version is a cheap suiting poly/viscose

Original garment made: The white fabric is leftover from a failed attempt at making something for someone else, and the pinstripe is leftover from my absolute fave M7661 trousers (I was given lots extra as it has a few faults to it)!

Leftover fabric amount: Just over 1m in both fabrics (this hack takes about 1m)

Sewing Leftovers make: Named Clothing Reeta Midi Shirt Dress, hacked into a cropped shirt

Leftovers-wise what did I learn?: Skip details to save on fabric - I left out the pockets and turn up on the sleeves. The back yoke can be cut as 2 separate pieces rather than on the fold if you're restricted by the length of your leftovers (I actually did this by accident for one of mine and it turned out fine)! I also learnt the great joy that having matching separates can bring to your life/wardrobe (scroll down for more on that)!

About the make:

White crepe Reeta with corduroy Landers
Funnily enough, I don't like my Reeta Shirt Dress and I hardly ever wear it. It's a combination of the length, sleeves and waist gathering that just don't sit quite right with me, which is pretty disappointing as it seems to look great on everyone else! After seeing a Reeta Shirt hack by @craftwerking, I was inspired to make more use of the pattern, and I'm really pleased that I've finally found a way to make the Reeta work for me!

My pattern was already cut out at a size 42 so I stuck with this. I could have downsized, but I opted to keep it bigger for a sort of boxy, oversized fit. To make it shirt length, I cut the pattern 3" below the waistline (marked out for the waist casing/gathering on the dress). Once hemmed, this is a pretty good length for me - let's say a 'gentle crop' - which can be worn loose or tucked in without too much bulk, depending on the mood/outfit. 

Back view of the white crepe version
Losing the length was obviously the big fabric saver for these shirts, but simplifying the sleeves also helped. I really dislike the longish turn up sleeves on my Reeta Dress - so much so that I recently cut them off to try and make it more wearable. The turn up is quite bulky when made in anything other than lightweight fabric, so it wouldn't have really worked with my mid-weight leftovers either. I cut the sleeves as long as I could, and hemmed them much shorter after trying on the nearly finished garment. I now know that I prefer the sleeves pretty short, so this should help to minimise waste at the point of cutting for future versions!

The original version worn over a Nettie top, with Landers and Doc sandals
Finally, I skipped the pockets as they're just too fussy for me, particularly on a boxy cropped shirt. Each finished shirt took around 1 metre of fabric, and could probably do it in slightly less with some thoughtful pattern tetris.

*I got a tripod, hence the funny angles of these pics!
If I find a pattern that I really like, I'll make repeat versions of it quite quickly. Perhaps this is down to the pattern being fresh in memory when I'm out fabric shopping. I've tried to limit my fabric shopping and concentrate more on my stash and leftovers recently, but as these two Reeta Shirts worked out so well (in cheap leftovers), I decided it was fine to treat myself to this beautiful Stoff & Stil wiggle print cotton for version 3.

Version 3, in wiggle print cotton
Worn with a particularly bold pair of B6178 culottes
And finally, I wanted to show you my favourite way of wearing my original Reeta Shirt hack - and the real reason that I made this shirt in leftovers. I've always wanted matching separates, but never had either the right length of fabric or motivation to make it happen. I'm over the moon that I've finally managed it with my matching Reeta Shirt and M7661 trousers. I guess I'm biased, but I think they make THE BEST faux jumpsuit around!

Reeta/M7661 faux jumpsuit
Reeta/M7661 faux jumpsuit
The cropped hack of the Named Clothing Reeta goes with pretty much everything. Though each shirt carries a slightly different quality - the white version is a bit more boxy as the fabric is thicker, the wiggle one is lighter and more summer-y - they all serve the purpose of filling a huge wardrobe gap. I couldn't recommend this simple hack more, particularly if you can squeeze it out of your #sewingleftovers.

Which version is your favourite?

Check out #sewingleftovers on Instagram for loads more inspiration!

Stay in touch!

Sewing Leftovers: Community Inspiration!

Hi all! I'm seeing a real shift in makers working towards being more sustainable, and #sewingleftovers is just one small initiative amongst the many, so thanks to anyone who has shown interest and to those of you who have taken the time to join in! Speaking of those of you who've joined in, the response has been phenomenal with over 400 posts using #sewingleftovers shared on Instagram in the small amount of time it's been out in the world! I thought it was definitely time to do a round up based on some of the fantastic shares and suggestions offered up by the community, so here we go...

Links to all patterns and original posts can be found below
Of course, the patterns we choose for our leftovers can be limited or determined by the amount of fabric we have - leftovers can be anything from tiny scraps to huge chunks - but here are some of my favourite makes from patterns that work with limited lengths.

1. Marilla Walker Maya Top by @heritageninja
2. Workroom Social Tate Top  (FREE pattern!) by @ofchemists
3. Grainline Studio Willow Tank by @sixyardsunder
4. True Bias Lander Shorts by @craftwerking
5. Kitschy Coo Barrie Briefs by @susanna_and_katyarose
6. Named Clothing Inari Tee by @projekt.kleiderschrank
7. République du Chiffon Juliette Shirt by @mariasyrgrejer

Links to all patterns/original posts can be found below
I looked at uses of pleather in my last plans/inspiration post, mainly with bags in mind, so here are some more bags and accessories suited to different kinds of leftovers. Thanks to Sam and Natasha for recommending the perfect patterns to remedy my need for a circle bag - question is, which one do I try first?!

1. Circle handbag from Love Sewing Magazine issue 48 (recommended by Sam)
2. Noodlehead Wool and Wax Tote by @michelleofatime
3. Sarah Kirsten Fennel Fanny Pack by @wellfibre (and suggested by Craftwerk)
4. Kylie and the Machine Ida Clutch by me! (A shameless plug but I love it so much and it's getting so much use - you can see my blog post about it here)
5. Carolyn Friedlander Nest Egg Tote (recommended by Natasha)
6. Headband and tutorial to make your own by @thegirlwhomakes

Mix and match
Links to all patterns and original posts can be found below
Because we can't always have the perfect big chunk of fabric left at the end of each project! Here's some inspiration for trying to incorporate those smaller leftovers into a new make, and a bunch of patchwork patterns that will do the work for you!

1. Papercut Patterns Kyoto Tee hack by @sewuthinkucan
2. Ready to Sew Juliette Skirt by @io_e_carlotta
3. Pretty panelled top by @lejditea
4. Style Arc Quinn Woven Top by @cookinandcraftin - Meg wrote a great blog post on this make here
5. Melissa Watson for Palmer/Pletsch M7132 Patchwork Kimono Jacket Pattern
6 & 7. Blueprints for Sewing Geodesic Pullover and A Frame Skirt (recommneded by Barbara)

And if you needed any more inspiration:

Listen to Love to Sew Episode 42, 'Sustainability and Sewing Part 2' - #sewingleftovers gets a mention alongside tonnes of other community-sourced bits of wisdom, projects and inspiration! Thanks Helen and Caroline!

Watch Craftwerk explore sustainability in sewing practice and question 'who made my fabric?' and offer some great stash busting suggestions in her vlogs.

Check out these incredible patchwork jeans by @mariasyrgrejer. She beat me to making my own pair which I talked about in the last #sewingleftovers inspiration post and now I'm feeling truly inspired to crack on with mine!

Browse #sewingleftovers on Instagram for loads more inspiration!

Stay in touch!

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