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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hello friends. One thing that gives me a lot of comfort at the moment is following along with other people’s sewing and seeing what other projects we’re all working through. It’s inspired me to continue working through my own growing pile of secondhand patterns, seeing what I can create with the fabric I have on hand and how creative I can be with the scraps. It’s a chance to flex my creative muscles. I do have a few bits and pieces in mind, and have already begun investigating the possibility of making my own bias binding from odd pieces – leaving the fabric from some old sheets as pocket lining and things like that. But first on my list was this gorgeous blouse pattern, Simplicity 2151, in combination with this secondhand fabric I’d had for about two months or so.
It’s no secret that I love button-up, collared blouses. My regular work wardrobe is comprised almost exclusively of collared shirts, cardigans, sweaters to be mixed and matched with black slacks. It allows me to sneak a bit of 50’s and 60’s style into my professional wardrobe, which pleases me to no end. So I am always on the lookout for more collared blouses when I am out hunting for secondhand goodies, and have gotten quite lucky over time in finding a few in very good condition. My current wardrobe is in fact comprised entirely of secondhand and me-made blouses now, which I consider quite an achievement. However, there is still something I am lacking. And that is the truest of staple blouses, the white collared blouse.