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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Half Slips with McCall’s 8164

As a rule of thumb, I sew what I am inspired to work on at that moment in time. I find that makes the process much more fun and helps me to keep enthused even if several muslins are required. Although I am also focusing on making things that fill a particular hole in my current wardrobe, and where possible are seasonally appropriate, that was definitely not the case when I broke out McCall’s 8164 and started working on it. This is a lovely slip pattern to be sure, but was hardly suited for the cold weather that was coming in!  

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Weigel’s 1808

Hello friends! If there is one thing I have learned with sewing, it’s that a little imagination and a willingness to make mistakes can go a long way to creating something wonderful! That was definitely the case when I decided to try Weigel’s 1808, View B. Technically this pattern is for a house/brunch coat, but months ago when I spotted it for sale I thought – wow! That would make an amazing dress! It had every feature I like in a dress, including the most incredible looking pockets! I had also been extremely curious about Weigel’s patterns after seeing other people making and discussing them on some vintage sewing groups I follow, and wanted to see what it would be like to work through one.

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Simplicity 6550

Hello friends! After the incredible success I had with my first attempt at a proper pattern hack, I was looking forward to testing even more wintery makes that would be appropriate for the chilly weather. I was keen to try all sorts of new heavier weight fabrics and see if I couldn’t create some more vintage inspired, seasonal clothing. However, my laptop took a not entirely unexpected turn over one weekend and simply refused to hold a charge. This meant a lot of hasty backing up onto an external hard drive while I still could, and the generosity of a friend’s brother in sharing his store discount to help me afford a new machine. As someone who rarely buys brand new this all was a bit exciting, but also meant I had to seriously rethink all my immediate sewing plans for the next while due to the budget change. Enter Simplicity 6550. 

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Butterick 9779, and Pattern Hacking

If someone had tried to tell me this time last year that I would not only be making shorts that fit perfectly, and from a vintage pattern; but that I would also be pattern hacking to make pants and overalls! Well, I don’t think I would have believed them. But despite that I have now completed some of my most successful makes to date, and it all begins with my purchase of the circa 1960s pattern, Butterick 9779. It was a somewhat risky purchase for me, being a little bit pricer and coming from an overseas seller – my last experience of which had been truly terrible. However, I worried over nothing! The seller was lovely, the pattern arrived in a brilliant condition – albeit with a slightly wonky waistband from people accidentally trimming bits off. Over the course of one virtual craft evening with a friend I very gently ironed out the pattern pieces for the medium size and got to tracing and copying the markings into more modern versions.  

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Butterick B5748

Hello friends! I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to be sharing this particular post! In all the time I have been focusing quite seriously on developing my skills in sewing, I had never once successfully made a dress. I think, similar to how pants and shorts are now my Everest, dresses were a fitting challenge I didn’t quite have the skills to unravel at the time. But having acquired two large pieces of fabric from a community stall event prior to all the shutdowns which simply told me they had to be made into dresses, I knew it was time to confront this challenge again. So when I stumbled over someone selling Butterick B5748, I knew this was going to be the pattern I would sink my teeth into. It’s a gorgeous reprint of a 1960’s pattern, with updated instructions and multiple sizes – which worked very well for me. 

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