Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket

I nearly cried when I finished this jacket. Not because I disliked it (not even in the slightest!), or because it caused me great difficulty to make, but because it felt like such a BIG achievement. My first outdoor coat/jacket: the Waver.

My finished Waver jacket :)
Past me has been known to spend obscene amounts of money on high street jackets. And what's worse than that is the quality of many of them just doesn't justify the cost - linings that shred, pockets that tear at the touch of a set of keys (I'm looking at you French Connection...). So this was a biggie for me! The materials were well considered, to be both cost effective - well anything is if you knew what I used to spend on jackets - and able to withstand daily wear.

Waver pattern and materials good to go!
I used the same grey wax cotton and graphic-print lining fabric (both from Fabworks) that I used for my Retro Rucksack, which has seen heavy use since I made it in February and is still going strong! I also chose a yellow cord for the inside as another little nod to the yellow fabric on my bag.

Taking tailor tacking seriously
I made up the long version of the Waver with the gathered waist in a straight size Small. My measurements fell in between sizes, but after seeing the finished garment measurements and reading a few reviews, I decided to size down, which was the right decision - the fit is pretty much spot on. The prep time felt quite lengthy as there were quite a lot of pattern markings to transfer - I did proper hand-sewn tailor tacks - and quite a bit of interfacing to apply to the various pattern pieces, as well as cutting the lining out.

Quickly looking like a coat!
After the prep, the jacket came together really quickly, which was quite an exciting process. I stalled a little on topstitching the pockets in place as I forgot to buy matching thread. I added them a bit later, which helped in making sure they were properly lined up. The hood was probably my favourite bit to sew - the hood gusset pattern piece that runs down the middle gives it a real 'proper hood' shape if you know what I mean!

Seriously concentrating on putting that hood up!
I took the plunge and bought snap fastenings and the proper pliers to insert them with for a real professional finish. It seemed quite a commitment money-wise, but using the pliers was SO much easier than hammering them in place, so it was worth it. One really big disappointment was accidentally spoiling my last snap and having to buy A WHOLE new pack for just the one replacement, and they were £9.20 for 6! (If anyone knows of a cheap place to buy future hardware/snaps from, let me know!)

New tools!

There were only a few moments where I got confused - mainly around the joining the lining, which was also my main point of confusion with the Pulmu Skirt - but overall I really enjoyed making the pattern and love love LOVE the finished jacket. I'm pleased that it's both practical and very wearable, and hope that a few of the quirks make it that little bit more 'me'. In other news, Vogue posted some matching coat/bag combos on the runway at a recent Marni show, so I guess matchy-matchy must be 'on trend'. Here's my effort vs Marni's...

My not-so-Marni matchy Retro Rucksack/Waver combo
Matching at Marni
I've had the pattern queued up for quite some time. There are definitely some similarities between the Waver and the new Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak, so I'm not sure if I would've chosen differently if I was picking between the two now. I love the pockets and zip front on the Kelly, but the Waver is lined, which adds a bit of interest - as I chose such a jazzy lining! - and makes the finished thing fairly warm. Which one would you choose to sew?

It took about 4 evenings to sew, which is pretty good, especially considering how long I've been working myself up to taking on a 'big project' like this. In fact, I feel just a little bit invincible when I wear it, as if now I've sewn a jacket, I could make anything (I can't, but I'm definitely trying)!

Trying to flash that lining!
I'm feeling sufficiently warmed up for sewing a proper wool winter coat now, which is next on the list. And at least I have a lovely Waver Jacket to keep me warm until then.

Thanks Sara and Chris for patiently taking pictures

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Named Clothing Pulmu High-waisted Pencil Skirt

I already made (and love) the Talvikki Sweater, so here's my second make from the new Named Clothing collection: the Pulmu High-waisted Pencil Skirt. I was drawn to the made up version on the Named website in pale blue, but what really hooked me was seeing the line drawing of the skirt. It has really interesting and quite unusual shaping, so I snapped it up, with the intention of making a good 'all-round' skirt for work and play.

My finished Pulmu
I chose a fairly heavy blue crepe/viscose that I picked up in the grab bins at Abakhan. It's especially soft and lovely up close, and blue is also my favourite colour if  I ever choose to steer away from black. To be honest, I was planning to dodge lining it if possible, but the pattern really is made to be properly lined and finished, so I unearthed this 'splatter' effect fabric from my stash (bought ages ago from the Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market). I was a little reluctant to use it as a lining as it's almost too nice, but I couldn't see me making anything else with it, so I decided that my Pulmu would have just a flash of fancy on the inside.

Pulmu fabrics and plans
I had expected it to be a bit more difficult due to it's '3 scissor' rating, but I found the make surprisingly easy for the most part. There's lots of dart sewing (some of them slightly angled), and the fun task of inserting the beautiful curved side panels (I really like sewing curves). The instructions also suggest applying interfacing to the zip, hem and vent openings before you start sewing. I've never done this before, but it makes for a real crisp and sturdy finish, and in some parts, an easier sew - particularly when it came to inserting the zip.

Accidental nail polish matching...
The only bit that had me totally baffled me was the last page of instructions, when it comes to joining the bottom of the skirt to the lining. I always understand things better from the accompanying illustrations - anyone else find that? - and when it gets to stitching linings and turning things out etc, I think it becomes pretty hard to convey in a picture. I probably confused myself more than the instructions, and after a few sessions of unpicking, I finally managed to close the vents and the skirt hem in the way that I was meant to - I think! It was really difficult to sew the vents right up to the side seams, so I ended up finishing the top of each one with a few hand stitches, just to make sure that I got it as neat as possible.

Trying to show a flash of lining from the vents
Overall I'd say that the shape is really flattering, but mine's turned out perhaps a little too 'comfortable' in fit compared to what you'd usually expect for a pencil skirt. I made up a straight size 12 (Eur 40) which is about 1cm too big on the waist and has quite a bit of give in the hips. Although I''m quite pleased with this version, I would probably shave a little off from the seams if I was to make it again - though the curved side panel eliminates the usually-easy-to-adjust side seam option, so I'd have to think about the best approach.

Side view
Capturing the nice shaping at the back
It was a little more labour-intensive than my usual skirt sewing, but I'm glad I put the effort in, particularly with the lining and the vents - a real learning experience! I really like the side panels and the little flash of lining you see when the skirt moves, and I love using hardware in a project, so the D-ring belt is just great. I thought the belt loops were a bit cumbersome at first, but once the skirt came together and the belt was threaded through, they look perfect. The one thing that I'm really disappointed with is that the fabric doesn't show off the shaping in the way it deserves, and it creases quite badly when sitting too. 

Thanks Chris (seen in shadow form) for taking pictures
So I'm not 100% happy with it, but the Pulmu was definitely a lovely pattern to sew and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a smart skirt with a few quirks and a lovely finish. It also means I've ticked one garment off of my priority sewing list (hooray)! I'd like to try making it again in future and getting it absolutely spot on, but I'm just not sure what fabric would best highlight the darts and side panels - suggestions welcome!

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Priority sewing for the season

The weather is on the turn, and I have a personal to-make list of season-appropriate clothes that is getting longer by the day/hour/minute. It doesn't help that I love cold weather clothes the most, so I decided to write a 5 project list to manage, prioritise and pressure me into making!

5 projects for winter!
1. Pulmu Skirt
Ahhhh gosh I just love the new Named collection so much, and I've just finished up my yet-to-be-blogged/photographed Pulmu High-Waisted Pencil Skirt in a heavy crepe. It's fully lined too, so I'd say it perfectly fits my seasonal requirements.

Pulmu fabrics!
2. Waver Jacket
I've had the PDF pattern since Spring, but didn't fit it into my sewing schedule before the seasons changed - I'm determined to not let the same happen again! I'm using the same lovely outer and lining fabrics that I used for my Retro Rucksack (here's hoping I can pull off matchy-matchy) and I've invested in snaps and the proper tool to insert them. This is a first for me as I've never sewn a jacket or coat before, so I've got everything crossed for it working out.

My very first jacket
3. Yona Wrap Coat (tbc)
As I mentioned in my last post, my tatty store-bought coat went in the recycling to give me the push I needed to make a replacement. I'm not sure if it's reasonably ambitious or just downright mad of me to think I'll fit both the Waver and Yona in, but I'm gonna give it a go. I brought this fab, soft, aubergine-coloured wool-mix back from the visit to Barry's at Sew Brum so it really deserves the chance to be used. (Also I'll be pretty cold if it doesn't make it to the machine)!

The picture doesn't do the deep-purple colour justice!
Think I'm set on the Yona unless anyone can sway me!
4. Inari Tee Dress
I feel like almost the only sewer who hasn't made the Inari yet! But I have a plan, and it involves jumping right in there with a hack, to (hopefully) make it similar to a dress I came across on Instagram, but in black suedette....

Instagram inspiration
In a separate make, I'm also hoping to throw some gathers into the mix to make something along the lines of this overpriced Topshop Boutique top (though in slightly less drab colours).

Shockingly expensive high street top!
5. Talvikki Sweater number 2
I love my Talvikki Sweater so much that I'm already onto a second. It's a quick sew, so should be ideal to squeeze in between some of the bigger/more challenging makes on my list. This super cool leopard print fabric stood out a mile in Barry's and was just destined to be a Talvikki. It was £11p/m so a bit pricier than I'd normally go, but if you consider the cost of a nice high street jumper then I'm onto an absolute winner.

Quite possibly my all-time fave fabric
...And now that I've got to the end of writing this, I realise that I'm planning an almost exclusively Named Clothing winter wardrobe. But the instructions, designs and fit of Named patterns are just the best, so hey, why shouldn't they be my go to pattern company? (Is this just me, or does anyone else feel the same way about Named, or maybe another pattern company?)

Extreme knitting!
In other making news, I learnt to arm knit the other day using 'EXTREME' yarn at a Stitch Up Workshop ran by Claire from Wool Couture. It was so much fun and SO fast to make up this scarf which I imagine will be worn with all the above proposed winter makes. I'd totally recommend trying it for a quick win/in-between big makes sort of project :)

Happy seasonal sewing!

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Named Clothing Talvikki Sweater

It's not really a secret that I LOVE Named Clothing, but the new Evolution Theory collection set my heart a flutter even more than usual. I wasn't sure which pattern to buy first (because I wanted them all) but I plumped for the Talvikki Sweater first (after seeing an amazing one by my friend Erin - which she whipped up in record time). So here it is:

Finished Talvikki Sweater!
I bought this incredible navy blue stretch bubble fabric from Abakhan after the Big Simplicity Blog Meet in May. I'd never really seen anything like it, and totally loved the feel and design of it, so despite not having a use in mind, I just had to buy it. Each bubble has a thin layer of wadding in it - so great for being winter warm, whilst still being quite lightweight. I always thought I might try out a Linden or an Astoria with it, but when I saw the Talvikki, I just knew it had to be!

The Talvikki pattern
Close up of the 'bubble' fabric, and blue crepe underneath for a future project!
The fabric was really lovely to cut and sew, and worked even better than I could've hoped for with the pattern. I downloaded the PDF version, which makes use of the layered feature again, so you only have to print off the layer with your chosen size on it. The shaping on the neck was really interesting to construct with angled darts, and it creates such a cool silhouette.

Drawing the angled darts with my favourite tool - the chalk wheel!
Things I didn't do (that I probably should have):
  • Stabilise the shoulder seams with elastic - I know this might be bad for my garment in the long run, but you know when you've never done something before so you put it off? Yeah that...
  • Use interfacing on the neck facing - the pattern suggests using knit interfacing. I'm sure it's available to buy in any shop, but it's never been something I've considered/had to buy before so I panicked a little and skipped it. Although I think the neckline would benefit from a tiny bit more structure, the fabric I used is just about weight-y enough to hold it's own.
First picture of the finished sweater
In all, I don't think I can fault the pattern. The instructions are as clear as always with Named, and super easy to follow. As well as the neckline, I love the split side seams and short-front/longer-back style. The sleeves are quite long, but this suits me as I like to be able to turn them up a couple of times. It's a nice and relaxed, yet still quite stylish, jumper - the sort you might come across in Toast or Cos, but it feels so good to be able to make one for a snip of those prices.

From the back - where the jumper is longer in length

I wore it to the wonderful Sew Brum, and it received many compliments and a good few squishes and prods from those who were interested in the fabric. I had a great day meeting and catching up with sewing friends new and old, and came home with a top winter fabric haul, and a new-to-me Named pattern courtesy of Jess in the pattern swap (we managed to pick each others patterns without even realising, so Jess took home my V1395).

A snippet of a fab day at Sew Brum
I'm already planning a second Talvikki Sweater using my spoils from Sew Brum - the beautiful mustard leopard print wool mix I grabbed in Barry's (top right!). As well as that, I took the plunge and bought some wool to make a coat with (I threw my old raggedy high street coat in the recycling to force me to sew one). It's a deep purple/aubergine colour which doesn't really come across in the picture, and it's so soft and stroke-able. I'm thinking the Named Yona Wrap coat unless I spot another pattern first - recommendations welcome!

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