We are having a great lazy start to the weekend here. For a pleasant change, all I can hear are little voices excitedly pretending to be fairies, teachers, campers and whatever else their little minds are thinking up on the spur of the moment. I can never keep up with the rules of their games. But at least there is a lot of love in the air today.
My girls are lucky enough to live in a quiet street, with some great neighbourhood kids to play with. They have a lovely time scooting up and down the pathway in front of our house, and generally spend their days running amok.
Today Miss 5 was out racing around in her new top. A lovely little number made using some cute vintage cotton. Miss 3 is wearing her little Ralphy dress (made with a Tessuti fabric) with some gorgeous green vintage buttons we handpicked together from All Buttons in Newtown.
This is the pattern I used for Coco (View 2), but I scaled it down a bit to fit my size 5 girl.
I’d started out making it for my seven year old neighbour but when it looked like being way too small, I ditched this plan, slimmed the side seams a little and shortened it a smidge for my daughter. But the best thing about it has to be my zipper insertion. I am rarely excited by the way my zips turn out, but I think perhaps I may finally be getting better at them. God knows I’ve inserted enough into all my dresses and tops over the last two years for the sake of my little Midgie.
Yes, I do realise I shouldn’t be calling it ‘my’ finished Henley because it isn’t meant for me. But the fabric I made it with is just so soft and delicious that I won’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t fit hubby and I am forced to claim it as my own!
I used the pattern below by Thread Theory and my fabric of choice was a charcoal modal from Tessuti Fabrics. Modal is a gloriously soft type of rayon fabric, made from trees (usually Beech). It is divine to wear, but it does pill a little over time. I find it holds it’s shape well, and if I am making a top for myself in modal, I wouldn’t usually finish short sleeves as it rolls prettily and doesn’t fray (although that’s hardly what I want for this very manly shirt I am making).
I enjoyed following this pattern, but I did find it a little fiddly making perfect buttonholes and plackets with modal. My bottom buttonhole was a disaster, but thankfully it isn’t too obvious with the button in place. Even though I interfaced the placket (in little strips under the fabric but not the facing fabric), it still moved all over the place when I was stitching. I think I will fuse lighter weight interfacing to the entire placket piece next time before putting it together.
I love the modern, slimline shape of this top. I find it hard to find great menswear designs, so I must thank Andrea from Four Square Walls who introduced me to Thread Designs in the first place. Her review of this pattern is here.
I chose to make the Large size for hubby and lengthened the arms a little. I lined up another similar top he owned to check the pattern pieces for sizing. I am a bit worried the top will be too long, but this is easy enough to change at a later date.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with how my Henley turned out and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it fits. I’m a little bit out of season here, but I think it will make the perfect top for layering in Autumn and winter.
I will admit that I find it near impossible to find a pattern that exactly matches the garment I want to sew, but when I do, I love to simply switch off and follow the directions. And that is exactly what I planned to do when I happened across the Chloe pants (a Tessuti pattern). They were exactly what my wardrobe was crying out for, simple, fitted linen pants with a waistband and no elastic.
The first thing I will say is that the instructions in this pattern are worth their weight in gold! That I didn’t follow them correctly has nothing to do with how clearly they were written, but because I was concentrating too much on Grays Anatomy and not enough on my sewing. I have come away from this experience with at least three new construction techniques that I will definitely use again. The fact that I made a rather large blooper and the pants still fit beautifully is testament to their great design.
Somehow, I managed to serge the inside leg seams before the crotch seams. Now this would be great if I were a mermaid or a penguin, but I am not. I need TWO legs in my pants, not one. I thought about unpicking but decided to cut off the seam instead to save time. So my pants are ever so slightly narrower and higher in the crotch than they should be. But this is hardly noticeable.
You will also notice a couple of pleats in the front of my pants that are not part of the original design. I decided not to make a toile and just winged it with the smallest size. The fit was near perfect if I was standing still, but I knew they would drive me nuts slipping down all day if I left them as is. I quite like the pleats now. I know I will make these pants again, but I’m not sure if I will increase the darts next time or do pleats again instead.
Attaching the waistband was also simple and brilliant. I love the neat way the facing is finished on the inside near the zipper, achieved by using a zipper foot near the coils to attach the facing edge before turning the waistband in the correct way. I am so pleased with how neat and professional these pants look. I know they would look better if I invisibly hemmed the legs, but I can be a bit lazy and I don’t mind the look of a stitched hem in daywear anyway.
Now I know what I will be wearing to the Norton Street Festa today! I’m pretty happy with my top too. It’s a fabulously printed remnant of drapey poly I brought home from Tessuti Fabrics ages ago. I whipped it into a simple swing style top with a feature zip a few weeks ago and it matches my new Chloe pants perfectly.
Meanwhile, a paper aeroplane shop is being set up on my front porch by the neighbourhood kids to take advantage of the Norton Street Festa through traffic. My girls are so lucky to have an older friend who lives two doors up and is happy to knock around with them on the weekends.
There are a few reasons why I love these Japanese pattern books. The designs are usually really simple and what you see is EXACTLY what you get.
If I could read Japanese, I could tell you the title of this book. But I can’t, so here is the front cover instead. There are heaps of great ideas in this book. I have already made the dress she is wearing on the front cover, in similar colours too. It worked out exactly as you see it. I wore it once or twice to work, but the novelty wore off this unfitted style and I ended up giving it away.
But in need of a few summer tops, I decided to make this cute number below. The book said it would look like this:
Well mine looked like this:
Not too bad, even if I say so myself! The back doesn’t look too shabby either, especially considering I was short of my main fabric and had to make do with some lovely silk/cotton voile as a contrast instead.
If only I had some decent pants to wear with it…well I would have if I’d stuck to my guns and purchased the sensible black linen instead of my fabric splurge the other day! I’m thinking some Chloe pants might jump onto my job sheet soon, well after my next pay day perhaps! I had such a great result sewing these Suzy pants a few months ago, that I am keen to try a few more Tessuti patterns. And before I forget, I must say a big thank you to Miss 5 for taking the photos, especially in the face of quite significant adversity.