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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Continuing the trend of sewing bottoms from my last post, I thought it would be good to share my thoughts about Simplicity 8457. This pattern was quite a step up for me, involving an all new technique in terms of inserting an invisible zipper. And it was also my first time dealing with trousers with a pleated front. My love of wide-leg, high-waisted trousers had well and truly set in by this stage, as had my desire to find pairs that fit. Naturally I turned to another one of my Spotlight Specials patterns to make this happen and stumbled over a series of patterns called Amazing Fit. I was intrigued by the notion that it had “curvy” pattern options, which seemed specifically designed for people with larger hips and thighs than waists.
Pants, culottes and shorts! I feel that bottoms are – for many people, the biggest challenge when it comes to sewing. This is because there are a lot of factors that go into the fit of bottoms, and or those who don’t have a one size figure or who have yet to find a pattern company with a block that matches their measurements – or who don’t have a block of their own (like me), it means making adjustments. Perhaps that’s grading out or in at the hips, lengthening the crotch or shortening the crotch, adding in a sway back adjustment, a full stomach adjustment, lengthening the legs, shortening the legs, adding a longer zip, adding a second zip – the list goes on. I am still not at all confident when it comes to sewing pants, and I had some disastrous experiences. Not at all realising the various fit issues my figure presented, or even what style of bottoms best suited me. But among the various attempts I made, Butterick B6178 stands out as a great success for the time.