Simplicity 8701 – A Trousers Sewing Class, Part 1

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a white chair facing the camera. They are wearing a dark blue t-shirt with capped, frilled sleeves and high-waisted black corduroy pants.

Hello and welcome friends, to another multipart blog post! Those who have been following along with previous posts will know that I am no expert when it comes to sewing pants. I don’t have a straight size figure, with current measurements registering a 14” difference between waist and hips, and a crotch depth of over 12”. Yet even so, I LOVE pants. Over the course of writing this blog, I’ve challenged myself to improve my fitting technique and produce bottoms of all lengths that will both fit me and be comfortable. I thought that signing up for a proper sewing course around trousers might also benefit me, so I saved up and took part in a multi-week course when it became available in my local area.

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The Trudy Turtleneck – Wardrobe By Me

In this photo, Nell, a Caucasian person, kneels on their blue couch. They are wearing a white turtleneck shirt with a grey-brown, red and white striped cardigan that they are pulling up over their shoulders.

Hello friends!

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve done a truly ridiculous amount of sewing over the past few months. Oh boy, does my body know about it. After this, I will be taking a much longer break to allow myself to recover! However, in the interests of pushing myself to learn new skills I’ve begun learning about pattern drafting. Not being mathematically inclined, what I was promised was a rather simple exercise became several weeks of effort. All of which I am excited to share once I get a few more bits and pieces sorted. I also sat down to perfect a PDF pattern I had bought a while ago, but hadn’t managed to fit at the time. Then, because I love to over-complicate things, I also signed up for a beginner’s short course on sewing trousers, and decided to learn how to sew stretch fabric on my overlocker. Lucky for me, I had fabulous results all across the board.

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Loretta Shorts – Charm Patterns – Part 3

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands side-on to the camera with one leg extended. They are wearing brown corduroy shorts and a light brown patterned Adrienne Blouse.

Hello friends!

In a perhaps not-so surprising turn of events, I decided that I should to circle back to the Loretta Shorts pattern whilst hip-deep in several other makes and one sewing course. This did mean that my next post would be late, because I already had a lot on the go. But I decided it was worth it! It didn’t seem fair to have done such a long series of reviews on the pattern without having done the shorts version as it was intended. Whilst reorganising my fabric stash, I was further encouraged by the discovery that I had not one – but two pieces of suitable fabric for this very purpose.

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The Loretta Shorts – Charm Patterns – Part 2

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands side on to the camera in front of a white wall. They are wearing a long-sleeve blue shirt and highwaisted wide-leg black pants. They have one hand in a pocket.

Hello friends! For this post we are continuing on with part two of my adventures in making the Loretta Shorts, by Charm Patterns. In the last post I covered the general design elements of the pattern, and some trickier elements of their construction such as the pockets. In this post I’m going to be focusing on the fit of the pattern, what issues I faced and how I tweaked it to be more comfortable, how I removed the waistband, and how I transformed the shorts into both culottes and pants. Let’s get right to it!

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Rompers, Dresses and Shorts – Oh My! With McCalls 7626

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands in front of a concrete wall. They are wearing a black corduroy romper with a long-sleeve brown and white shirt. They have one hand on their hip.

Hello friends. Since I took a big sewing break some months back, it occurred to me that I was happier whenever I got quite thorough use out of each pattern rather than making a single item and moving on. Part of that constant desire to move on was that I would get bored, doing the same thing repeatedly, but it was also certainly driven by a desire to consume the same way I saw others doing, churning out garments like there was no tomorrow. So as a result, I have put into practice a new method for securing second-hand patterns, where I don’t make a purchase unless that particular pattern haunts me and won’t leave my thoughts. I’d also like to use patterns that have different options on how I can construct them, and what I can do with them. This pattern for McCalls 7626 was the first to tick all those boxes, and although it was a little outside what I’m comfortable paying for a pattern cost-wise, I did end up getting quite a lot of value out of it.

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Getting Cosy with the Enid Sweater

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a wooden bench in front of a concrete wall. They are holding the edge of the bench. They are wearing a blue V-neck sweatshirt, patterned with forest animals, and blue sweatpants.

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.

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Learning about Stretch Fabric with The Gable Top

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a cabinet covered by a white sheet. They are wearing black jeans, and a blue slash-neck top patterned with cartoonish lemons of different colours.

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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Pattern Drafting – Peasant Blouse

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a wooden bench in front of a concrete wall. They are wearing a floral peasant blouse and black highwaisted pants.

As much as I love living Australia, being so far from some of the largest viable sources of secondhand fabric and patterns does mean learning to sew can get very expensive. For a lot of people I often hear that it’s prohibitively expensive, especially as very few stores allow payment plans for purchasing machines and tools. So it seemed natural to me that at some point I would need to learn how to do some pattern drafting in order to make the things that I couldn’t find a pattern for. And what better place to start than with my Holy Grail vintage item, the classic peasant blouse.

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Simple Sew Lottie Blouse

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands facing the camera in front of a wooden bench and concrete wall. They have their arms in the air and one leg raised. They are wearing a sleeveless shirt with a white and blue square pattern and a pussybow necktie, and black jeans.

Hold onto your hats Theydies and Gentlethem, because I am about to tell you something shocking. What I want to tell you is that it’s normal to fail. As scandalous as that might sound, I believe that it doesn’t matter how old we get or how experienced we are, we will always make mistakes. And I don’t say that in a completely negative way either. Certainly failure is disappointing, mistakes are frustrating, and wouldn’t it be great if things worked perfectly all the time? Well, sure. But how good does it feel to come out the other side of a series of failures with one precious success? How much do we learn from when things go wrong, versus when there’s not a single bump in the road? How connected do we feel to others when they share their mistakes? Personally, I love those stories. So let me share the story of the many failures that led to the amazing success of the Lottie Blouse.

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