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 :)

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