Getting Cosy with the Enid Sweater

Hello friends! It’s well into Autumn here now. The leaves are changing into glorious shades of red, gold and brown, and the dark is coming on a lot sooner. With that comes the kind of cold that makes me long for casseroles, soup, doonas and cosy sweaters and socks. So it also seemed like a fitting time to work on a new genre of patterns, using fabric that I’m not all that familiar with – like The Enid Sweater, by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. I purchased the PDF pattern on Etsy as I was intrigued by the promise of a simple construction method, and a vintage look with the V-neck collar. I had some secondhand fleece on hand, and some matching ribbing also purchased secondhand, so it seemed serendipitous.

So let me first talk about the fabric, as I realise I have a tendency to talk more about the pattern than what went into it. The first iteration I made was in a non-stretch fleece and this was something of a mistake. The pattern was directional and so I couldn’t cut the bodice on the bias. This makes it somewhat difficult to get in and out of this blue-green version. Despite having made alterations to the fit, this lack of stretch did present a problem. As did the subsequent lack of stretch in the ribbing which I hadn’t understood needed to be quite a bit stretchier. So, when I came to make the second version, I was fortunate enough to find fleece with a bit more stretch at a local Op Shop, and there also sourced some ribbing that was a good deal stretchier. This worked a lot better as a result. However, I have now sourced a walking foot and for future versions I would recommend using an equivalent to help manage the bulk.

Then comes the all-important matter of fit! When I made the first muslin of this sweater, I was startled to discover it was too cropped. As someone who’s default adjustment for all top patterns is to remove at least an inch, this was shocking. I ended up having to add length to the bodice in order to make the ribbing sit over my natural waistline and not expose my stomach. I had also done a toile in a size 10, and so went up to a size 12 in the final versions. But this was still too tight around the biceps and waist, and as a result I let the seams of those areas out to ¼” to make room. To finish it off I lengthened the sleeves by ½” in order to prevent the cuffs riding up when I moved.

I did find the instructions were quite comprehensive for the pattern, but even so I struggled to understand how to insert the neckband. I did some digging on the internet and found a How to Sew a N Neck T-Shirt tutorial by Melly Sews on youtube, which was immensely helpful. I also find it much easier to insert collars and neckbands before I attach sleeves and sew side seams, so I stuck to that with this pattern as well. I think the one downside about the V-neck is that it’s quite hard to overlock the inside edge once the pattern has been put together. It might be worth overlocking the neckline before adding in the collar, but that will need to be saved for future experiments.

Overall, I think this pattern would suit a beginner with some basic experience in constructing garments. With a video tutorial on hand the neckband isn’t too challenging, and through doing the sleeves and side seams all in one in can make the sleeve insertion an absolute breeze. I love quite a few aspects of this pattern, from its finished look to the cosy fit and how versatile it can be for either wearing around the house or wearing out and about. You can also customise it quite a bit with fabric and ribbing choices, which makes it quite fun for something so simple to assemble.

Overalls and Culottes with Simplicity 3866

Hello!

Although I’m excited about all the things I sew, this pattern of the month is something of a special piece. Not because of the base pattern itself – although Simplicity 3866 circa 1961 is wonderful, but rather because of the fabric I had planned to use. This fun and comfortable summer piece came about because I had stumbled over a single curtain at the Op Shops which came from IKEA, and which happened to match two cushions I have in the house! The thought of matching the furniture had me in stitches, and I knew that if I was careful with the unpicking I could get quite a lot of fabric out of this.

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Making 1950’s Playsuits with McCalls 3616!

Hello friends! It’s true that I am excited about each pattern of the month and can’t wait to share what I’ve learned while making them, but this particular pattern holds special meaning for me. I have a love of all things overall, romper, jumpsuit and playsuit – which I think comes as no surprise, and it’s been on my sewing bucket list for quite a long time now that I wanted to make some vintage playsuits which would be tailored to me. No cramped crotch, no awkward tightness about the thighs, and I would make them in fabric which doesn’t bother the skin! But patterns of even roughly my size range were either thin on the ground, or would cost so much it honestly wasn’t within my budget to buy them. This was where the miraculous find of McCall’s 3616, a circa 1956 bathing suit pattern, in PDF format by The Vintage Sewing Pattern Company came to my rescue! I purchased it on their Etsy website, after first checking there was some kind of scale marker to help me keep printing accurate.

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Wardrobe Basics with the Anything but Basic Tee

Hello friends! The New Year is a time for change and fresh opportunities. From what I’ve seen a lot of other sewists are using this time to set new sewing goals, or pick their patterns for the months to come. I’m doing something similar by continuing the theme of pattern of the month, but adding in a seasonal flavour whereby I’ll be picking holes in my wardrobe each season and sewing for those! And since it’s now so hot and I’m disinclined to pull on a button-up blouse, I knew I had to make some basic T-shirts. I managed to find some stretch fabric on sale and once again sat down to learn more about this kind of sewing, using the the Anything but Basic Tee pattern.

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Classic Peasant Blouses with Style 1524

Hello friends, and welcome to the New Year!

I had originally intended for my pattern of the month to be another exploration of bottoms, with a view to making some overalls for summer. In particular I was very keen on giving the Jenny Overalls, by Closest Core Patterns, another go. I had first tried the pattern quite awhile ago before I truly understood how to grade and tweak and fit trousers, and at the time attempted a record number of muslins before giving up. I tried the pattern once again, and – after so many alterations it was no longer particularly recognisable compared to the original, I still couldn’t quite get the fit I wanted. I decided that rather than settle for something not quite as good as my previous makes, I would finally allow this pattern to be removed from my stash and attempt something else.

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Jumpsuits and Pattern Hacking – Simplicity 6926 + The Tania Culottes and Vogue 7583

Hello friends! I am so excited about this month’s blog post as it signals a change in the way that I am approaching sewing and sharing my makes on Ye Olde Internete. I recently made the decision to move to a monthly posting format on both Instagram and my blog, as I realised that this would suit me so much better and give me more space to thoroughly test each pattern. So each month I will be focusing on one particular pattern and testing a few different variations of it, depending on what I’m inspired to make with the fabric I have in my stash. However, this change was largely inspired by the fitting adventures I embarked on with the bodice of Simplicity 6926 – a vintage dress pattern circa 1975, which I picked up second-hand. It was a thoroughly enjoyable challenge and I learned so much from the process that it inspired this series, as well as my first ever video tutorial which you will find below!

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Jeans and Overalls with Simplicity 8447

Having completed two versions of this glorious, glorious pattern; I can now understand both the love for Simplicity 8447 and the love for sewing with denim. I had been fortunate enough to find a rather kind person who was willing to part with several meters of this glorious, dark denim – along with several other pieces from their stash, which I thought would be perfect for attempting to embark on a new adventure. It also meant that I could in fact get my hands on an otherwise prohibitively expensive fabric! I had no denim overalls, a piece I very much wanted to add to my winter and autumn wardrobe, and I was keen to learn how to sew with denim so that I could produce my own jeans. I had seen and heard very positive reviews of this pattern and so hunted out a secondhand copy for myself to try.

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Sewing Trousers with New Look 6718

One thing I love about sewing, among the plethora of things I love, is that it is a constant process of learning new skills and refining old ones. New materials pose all kinds of challenges, from learning to handle slippery fabrics, to testing thread tension, stitches – and learning to go back and forth between machines. Although New Look 6718 is hardly my first trousers pattern, it feels as though this was the beginning of quite a lot of adventures in learning and developing new techniques and revealing weaknesses in my current sewing practices. For one thing I worked on a range of tasks between the first of this make, and the second, and I feel I came so far between them that they were an excellent snapshot of my skills at each point in time.

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Refashioning a Dress!

Refashioning is something of a hot topic in the sewing community. And I have to admit that I love seeing how other people transform old or worn out garments into something new and useable, saving it from landfill. But it’s not something I have explored all that much myself, as I prefer not to pick up items of clothing that would require drastic changes to become something I’d wear. Not when I know someone else might love them as they are. So the alterations that I have done have been mostly been quite minor – adding a button here or there, or adding darts to make a garment more shaped. But when I came across this dress at an op shop near work (whilst wearing a mask and being careful about social distancing, because it is still important people!), something about it simply called out to me.

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Learning about Stretch Fabric with The Gable Top

Let it be known that I am now a convert to the wonders of stretch fabric! I had honestly avoided stretch fabric in the past as learning the ins and outs of certain fabrics isn’t at all intuitive for me, and I thought it would be best to attend some online classes on the topic first before I dove in. But at the time I first started working on this pattern, I had been thinking quite a lot about the gaps in my wardrobe, and how to continue this passion for sewing without making things for the sake of simply having something to make. I couldn’t ignore the fact that I didn’t have a lot of winter tops, despite the fact that I live somewhere with long-lasting cold seasons. So after researching patterns for vintage inspired stretch fabric tops, I at last settled on a PDF version of the Gable Top, by Jennifer Lauren Handmade, which had a plethora of positive reviews.

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