<![CDATA[MingMakes]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/blogRSS for NodeMon, 17 Jun 2024 17:37:51 GMT<![CDATA[The Avid Seamstress Blouse review]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/the-avid-seamstress-blouse-review65e76534662bb1bc9fc9252fThu, 23 May 2024 14:00:26 GMTMingMakes


Along with many other patterns, The Blouse by The Avid Seamstress was on my list to sew at some point. I liked the collar and it seemed like a wardrobe basic that I could sew up several versions of in different fabrics. I really like how button-up blouses look tucked into trousers/jeans, and when I saw that there was an opportunity to make this on a retreat, I went for it.



Creative Spirit Retreat

Fit

Fabric

Construction

Instructions

Overlocking

Sleeves

Collar

Buttonholes

Buttons

Summary

What I love

What I would change

What I discovered


Creative Spirit Retreat


When booking up for The Creative Spirit Retreat, I knew it will be something special but even so it exceeded my expectations. Although I have attended many workshops and stayed over in local accommodation, I had only been to one other retreat before. The accommodation was beautiful, and there was plenty of room in the workshop, with expert instruction from the founder Lisa Falconer and sewing tutor Amanda.



What appealed to me about this was how it was described as a holistic retreat, not just about the sewing, great instruction, and learning techniques but also a place where you could relax body, mind and recharge. The fact that meditation and massage was included was a big plus. All meals were provided and were delicious.



There were seven of us sewing Lisa's patterns including The Blouse, Raglan Dress, Sun Dress, Blazer and Coat. I choose The Blouse which was the first Avid Seamstress pattern I have sewn. None of us knew each other before, but we bonded well over the relatively short space of time we spent together. The weekend retreat started late afternoon on a Friday and ended when we checked out on Monday morning. Despite it only being two full days it felt much longer. Here we are wearing what we had made.



As someone who generally doesn't finish the garment within the workshop time, I was mindful of trying not to hurry myself, because the whole point of this retreat was to enjoy the process. During the day I took advantage of the pool and sauna on site, leisurely enjoyed the lovely lunches, spent time chatting with the others, and I did still manage to finish the blouse. The evenings were equally relaxed with some wonderful group activities.



A great indication of how much I immersed myself into the retreat was realising that my mobile phone battery level was still 48% when I left, without having charged it at all while I was there.



Fit

For this particular pattern, Lisa had samples made up in different sizes and had offered to send me the size I had selected from the chart which was size 2. This was really useful as a starting point, meaning one less toile. It had one sleeve with the elasticated cuff and one without so I could see which I preferred.



I found the sample was a little tight and so sized up to size 3, along with upper and lower rounded back and sleeve adjustments. See my separate post here on my detailed fitting journey, with photos of my toiles.


I shortened the blouse by 10cm but after wearing it realised it has a tendency to come untucked again, so I would add a few cm back to the hem.


Fabric

I used a light blue polka dot cotton purchased while on holiday in Malaysia. It was left over from lining my Heather Blazer; here's my matchy matchy look styled with my Ginger Jeans.



Construction

Instructions

What I really appreciated in the pattern instructions was Lisa's clear attention to detail. She explains everything as if you wanted to achieve the best result, rather than simplicity for a quick or easy project. That's not to say that the instructions are complicated in any way, it's just that she emphasises where it's really important to be precise. This is brilliant for someone like me at my level of experience, where I can't always anticipate where a small discrepancy may cause an issue further down the line.



I often find my second version of a garment is better because I've figured out where things could have been improved only with hindsight. With this blouse, I can't say there was anything I'd be more careful with or do differently thanks to the great instructions, as well as in-person guidance.


Overlocking

I am not in the habit of overlocking pattern pieces before constructing them, but this was the technique recommended by Lisa. She helpfully details in the instructions which edges of the pieces need to be overlocked.


This allowed for pressing the seam allowances open for a neat and less bulky result, and I can see how it would be useful for a fabric prone to fraying.



Sleeves

As mentioned in my fitting post, I had adjusted the sleeves in a way that I wasn't sure where the notches should be. I therefore gathered the sleeve by eye, concentrating more of the gathering around the sleeve cap and this seemed to work OK.



Collar

The collar is fairly narrow so Lisa gave the option to widen it which I preferred. Having already cut this piece out, she advised simply making the seam allowance 6mm instead of 1cm on the outer curve (not where it attaches to the neckline). She also advised erring on the slightly smaller side if anything for the seam allowance where it attaches to the neckline, so to aim for 9-10mm, rather than 10-11m.



Buttonholes

This is always the nerve-wracking bit towards the end, but thankfully my machine and buttonhole foot behaved themselves. Since this was my first time with this pattern, Lisa advised not sewing the buttonhole on the collar if I wasn't going to use it. I was more than happy to go with this advice!



Buttons

The pattern calls for 9mm buttons which were a little tricky to find. Lisa suggested looking at those by Atelier Brunette. Several of the ones I thought would match best were sold out in 9mm, so I ended up buying the off-white ones in 10mm, and silver self-cover buttons in 9mm as a back up shown in the photo below.



The off-white buttons didn't quite look right and so I went with the self-cover ones, spending some time getting a white dot in the centre of each button. This was my first time with self-cover buttons, and I found it quite a satisfying process. After cutting a circle of fabric, you wrap it around the button and I used tweezers to grip it under the teeth on the underside. I then pressed the back part on until there was a click. With the slippery surface of the button, I used my Sewline fabric glue pen to hold it in the right position while attaching the back.



Lisa advised sewing one button on, doing it up, then marking and sewing the next button and so on, rather than marking them all first. This worked well and everything matched up nicely.



Summary



See the end of my fitting post here to see how the finished blouse looks untucked.


What I love

  • The clear and detailed instructions with explanation of when precision was particularly important.

  • The mandarin collar looks great and avoids the bulkiness of lapels on more traditional shirt-style blouses.

  • I love how it looks when tucked into trousers, it has just the right amount of ease for a slight blouson effect.



What I would change

  • Adjustments as mentioned in my separate fitting post here.

  • I would consider adding a cuff to the sleeve hem instead of elastic.

  • I would like to try this in a more drapey fabric such as viscose or silk to give a more relaxed look to the collar.


What I discovered

  • Getting guidance and advice from the pattern designer herself makes for a really accurate garment.

  • This retreat very much reinforced the notion that self-care is so important, and sewing is definitely a part of that but it works both ways. In order to fully enjoy the activity of sewing, it helps to have other parts in place such as physical and emotional wellbeing, restorative sleep, good nutrition, enabling me to get the most out of sewing. This long weekend showed what an impact a bit of care and attention for myself can have and while I cannot replicate this experience at home, I can help create a sewing lifestyle that nourishes my soul.



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Avid Seamstress patterns

Avid Seamstress Creative Spirit retreats

Atelier Brunette

9mm self-cover buttons

Sewline fabric glue pen


Related blog posts

Fitting the Avid Seamstress Blouse

Heather Blazer review

Sagebrush Top 2

Ginger Jeans review

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<![CDATA[Fitting the Avid Seamstress Blouse]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/fitting-the-avid-seamstress-blouse6602bbde3542aed0be74c5e8Sat, 27 Apr 2024 20:36:04 GMTMingMakesI have had my eye on The Blouse pattern by The Avid Seamstress for a while and decided to join the Creative Spirit Retreat to sew it up, hosted by founder Lisa Falconer. It was such a wonderful experience, and I will share more in my review of the pattern itself. Prior to the retreat, I made a toile so that I could just concentrate on the sewing whilst there. I detail my fitting journey below and was really pleased with the result.



My review of the pattern itself can be found here.



Sample toile

Observations

Upper rounded back adjustment

First toile 

Observations 

Lower rounded back adjustment

Full bust adjustment

Second toile

Observations 

Third toile

Observations

Second toile with sleeves

Observations

Second toile with second sleeves


Sample toile

Going by the size chart, I was closest to size 2. Lisa offered to send a sample she had in this size so I could try it before making a toile. This was really useful as a starting point, meaning one less toile. It had one sleeve with the elasticated cuff and one without so I could see which I preferred.



Observations

  1. Tightness across my shoulders and upper bust.

  2. Tightness around my neck

  3. Folds coming from my upper back


1 and 2 - Tightness across shoulders, upper bust and neck

I showed my photos to Lisa and we agreed it would be best to try sizing up which would address these two points.


3. Draglines coming from my upper back

As is common with me, it looked like I might benefit from an upper rounded back adjustment going by the draglines coming from my upper back, and so I applied this to the size 3 before cutting my toile.


Upper rounded back adjustment (RBA)

I did an upper RBA for 1.5 cm using the technique here by Sew Sew Live from timestamp 4:26.



Here is how I did it. The photo below shows the original back pattern piece with the 1cm seam allowance on the shoulder drawn on.



I cut across the lines leaving a hinge on the shoulder seam, spreading apart by 1.5cm at the centre back, generally recommended as the maximum here, with any additional adjustment being done as a lower rounded back adjustment. The green lines on the shoulder seam indicate the seam line and 1cm above this.



To check the length of the shoulder seam hadn't changed too much, I folded under the seam allowance of the corresponding shoulder seam on the front piece.



I then butted this up against the shoulder seam on the back piece and could see they were the same length.



I continued to cut out the back piece, ensuring a right angle at the centre back and neckline. Here is the finished piece.



I then used this to make my first toile.


First toile

I cut just the bodice to better assess the fit before adding sleeves.



Observations

Compared to the sample toile:

  1. I no longer had tightness across my shoulders and upper bust, although this still needed to be checked with the sleeves sewn on

  2. I no longer had tightness around my neck

  3. I still had folds coming from my upper back

  4. I had some front armhole gaping, more so on my right side


Here's what I did for points 3 and 4.


Draglines from upper back

These were pointing from my upper back, and so it seemed I needed a lower RBA in addition to the upper RBA already done. I slashed horizontally across this area and pinned in some additional fabric to mimic a lower RBA of 1.5cm. This looked much better when comparing the two.



The back piece is cut on the fold and so I didn't want to add a centre back seam, or have a neck or shoulder dart. Having come across this issue before when fitting my Freya knit dress, I tried this technique which theoretically should also work with a woven.



Lower rounded back adjustment

I first added a simple lower RBA by slashing horizontally across from centre back and creating a hinge at the armhole seam allowance. I spread this by 1.5cm at centre back.



I then drew the new shape around the neck, shoulder and armhole in pencil as indicated by the black arrows, using the technique linked to above.



I then cut the back fold straight from the neckline to the hem. The dotted line in the photo below indicates what was cut off. You can see that the amount cut off is more than that gained at the armhole and therefore the width of the back was slightly reduced. However I could see that I had excess width in the back with plenty of ease so this wouldn't be an issue.



Here is the final piece.



Front armhole gaping

This indicated I needed more room for my bust. I have had to do full bust adjustments before which has always confused me since I wear cup size A in RTW clothing. I wonder whether I have more of my circumference at the front than the back, as I find I am sometimes tight in the front and loose at the back when the bust measurement is correct. In fact I often size up as my upper bust is larger than my full bust measurement.


Full bust adjustment

I used this resource from Helen's Closet to do a simple FBA just to give me an extra 1cm width on the pattern piece.



Second toile



Observations

Compared to my first toile:

  1. I still had folds coming from my upper back but they were better.

  2. I had some front armhole gaping but it was better. I think I either need a larger adjustment or may benefit from a more traditional FBA. I have saved this link from Helen's Closet for a FBA without darts for future reference.

  3. The side seams were tipped forward (more obvious on my left side), which may be helped by a more traditional FBA which would add some length to the front.

  4. I had a tiny bit of back armhole gaping which I didn't notice so much on my first toile. I wonder whether I need even more room for my rounded back, or perhaps an adjustment dealing more with the prominences on either side where the folds originate, more akin to a FBA.


Here is the comparison of the back views on my first and second toile.



I was tempted to leave it as is here, but this is often where I stop out of frustration and wanted to see if I could improve the fit further. After a couple more adjustments, my third toile was worse and so I reverted back to this version. If you wish to skip ahead to that point, you can click here.


The changes I made to this second toile were:


  1. Increased the FBA by 1.5cm to make a total of 2.5cm, using the same technique as above.

  2. After a bit of research, I decided to try this technique by Alexandra Morgan to create more length for the upper back. I haven't tried this before and wasn't sure how the shoulder slope would change things, so I just did this for 1cm on top of the RBAs already done. The relevant adjustment is at timestamp 5:00, the first method of three that Alexandra explains.



Third toile



Observations

Compared to my second toile:

  1. I had horizontal draglines at the upper back, indicating the shoulder slope was too steep

  2. There was no longer gaping at the front armhole.

  3. There was some gaping at the back armhole on my left side.

  4. The side seams were tipped more forward at the hem and the front hem was raised.


I felt that the adjustments had made the fit worse and so I reverted back to my second toile to continue.


Second toile with sleeves

I added the sleeves at this point, as time was running out before the workshop and I had at least improved the fit.



Observations

  1. The fit around the back was pretty good, perhaps a little excess width in the mid-back area at the lower end of the armholes.

  2. There was tightness around the ball of my shoulder, with draglines radiating out from it.



It felt like there wasn't enough height in the sleeve cap and so I unpicked it here to see the effect.



The draglines disappeared and the rest of the sleeve looked more relaxed.



After consulting my The Palmer Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting book, I decided to create more width here. I started by tracing the sleeve cap so I could replicate the shape, as widening the sleeve also shortens it which was the opposite of what I wanted.


I then cut a cross-shaped section with hinges at the seams and pulled on the width to add an additional 2cm across the width in the centre of the sleeve.



I lay this piece back over the original traced sleeve cap and added this to the sleeve piece.



This meant the length of the sleeve cap was now longer but I hoped I could still just about ease it in. Although I transferred the notches, I only kept to the central one at the top when sewing it, as the length and shape of the sleeve cap had now changed and I wasn't sure what this would mean for the notches. I concentrated more of the gathering around the cap and this seemed to be OK.


Second toile with second sleeves


This looked better but still with some tightness around the ball of the shoulder:



At this point, time had run out so I brought this toile with me to the sewing retreat. Lisa suggested that just adding an extra 0.5 cm to the length of the shoulder seam might be enough, rather than adjusting the sleeve any further. This did the trick as the finished blouse fit much better.



The only adjustment I did after that was to shorten the pattern by 10cm, knowing I was going to wear it tucked in most of the time. There was a decent amount of ease around the hips and so I simply took this off the hem. Having now worn the blouse, I think I may just add a few cm back again to allow for a more blouson effect.


Another adjustment I might consider on my next one would be to rotate the sleeve so the head was more towards the back. There is a diagonal fold along the front of the arm that can be seen in the side views which may be helped by this. I'd also consider looking at the FBA to see if that would level the front hem.


My full review of the pattern itself can be found here.



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.



Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

The Blouse pattern by The Avid Seamstress

The Creative Spirit Retreat

Sew Sew Live upper rounded back adjustments

Helen's Closet full bust adjustment

Alexandra Morgan rounded back adjustment

The Palmer Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting book


Related blog posts

Avid Seamstress Blouse review

Fitting the Zadie Jumpsuit

Fitting the Freya knit dress

Rounded back adjustment without centre back seam or shoulder dart

]]>
<![CDATA[Kelly Anorak]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/kelly-anorak65b27873cc5bc895e4d8f0aaSun, 07 Apr 2024 13:31:52 GMTMingMakes


By now I had made a few outerwear garments with a lot of help on classes or workshops (Heather Blazer, Sienna Maker Jacket and Eden Coat) and started to feel like it wasn't quite so scary. I saw a workshop on Claire Tyler's website for the Kelly Anorak by Closet Core Patterns, and was ready for another new challenge. My Barbour jacket was falling apart so I was in need of a new waterproof.



I chose to make view A with the hood and drawstring. I also bought the lining expansion pack and used the sleeves from this instead, which are slightly wider and without a cuff.



Workshop studio and location

Fit

Fabric

Cutting out

Construction

Lining

Topstitching

Drawstring casing

Zip

Snaps

Drawstring cord

Cord stoppers and ends

Summary

What I love

What I would change

What I discovered


Workshop studio and location

This is the third time I have attended Claire's sewing studio, and have written about this in a previous blog post which also includes details about the area and where I stayed. On this occasion, I booked a lovely one-bed cottage via Airbnb called The Cowshed, just minutes away from the studio. The owner was so friendly and had clearly poured love into this place. It was very comfortable and homely, with a table perfect for setting up my sewing machine on.



Fit

Having already fitted the Sienna Maker Jacket also by Closet Core Patterns, I already had a headstart on some of the fitting. I cut the same size 6 and knew I wanted to try an upper rounded back adjustment. I have written a separate blog post about this with photos of my toiles, and comparisons to the fit of the Sienna Maker Jacket.


Fabric

I used dry oilskin in yellow from Merchant & Mills having seen Claire's own jacket in the black colourway. I ordered the swatch cards to help choose and was originally looking at the classic darker colours of greys and blues which I'm always drawn towards, but felt I wanted to brighten up my wardrobe and the gloomy rainy days.



Since the fabric creases easily they offer to send it rolled for an additional cost of £20. I had asked Claire whether having the oilskin sent folded would be an issue. She reassured me that creases would appear with the handling of the fabric during sewing so this wouldn't be a problem, and also that it could be pressed if desired. She recommended a pressing cloth to prevent any oil from ruining the iron, and to press the pieces before interfacing to avoid 'setting' any creases.



Having now finished the jacket, the folds weren't an issue on the jacket at all with it's slightly general crumpled look. It has a lovely soft and matt feel to it, and responded well to using the Philips steam generator irons at Claire's studio. Sometimes this wasn't even necessary and it could be finger pressed with a seam roller.



For the main lining I used a brushed cotton with cute little cat faces on, left over from the first ever garment I made 4 years ago. It was a sewing workshop to make pyjama bottoms and I have been hooked on sewing ever since.



I used royal blue Bremsilk from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics for the sleeves to make it easier to put on, which was left over from my Eden Coat and Bomber Jacket projects.



Cutting out

There were errors in the instructions for the cutting layout in the lining expansion pack. Where it said A (the version with the hood) it was view B and vice versa. It was correct in the booklet that came with the printed pattern as shown below.



On Claire's recommendation, I had cut all the lining pieces and constructed half of it prior to the workshop. The first day of the workshop was spent completing the lining, and cutting the main fabric and interfacing. I was a little behind the rest of the class after day one, and so I caught up that evening, having packed my sewing machine in anticipation of this.



Construction

Lining

On sewing up the lining, I was confused by the position of the bust darts, as the apex seemed to be very high, about 7 cm above my own apex. When putting my toile over the top, it seem to lie level with the yoke seam. I don't know whether this was the intended position, but it was too late for me to adjust this in any case. I was less concerned about this being in the lining.



Topstitching

I omitted a lot of the topstitching in a bid to get as far through the jacket as I could during the workshop. However, this is definitely something I am regretting as I think it adds a really lovely detail. I have a case of topstitch envy when looking at other people's Kelly Anoraks!



Drawstring casing

Earlier in the project, the drawstring casing is basted in place so I used a longer stitch at 5mm. Claire recommended stitching over this basting at the end, as the needle holes would show and it would save unpicking the basting stitches.



Towards the end of the project, you are directed to topstitch the drawstring casing through into the lining. I had returned home from the workshop by this point, and couldn't see why it was necessary to stitch it all the way through the lining. I decided not to do this step, thinking my basting was neat enough and strong enough, and I also didn't want to break up the look of the lining inside. If making this again, I'd sew it on with the normal stitch length when attaching it in the first place. If there's a reason I've missed here, please do comment below.



Zip

For the zip, I was able to find a matching plastic medium YKK zip in yellow gold 001 but knowing there would be a lot of snaps and hardware on this anorak, I felt a metal zip would look better. I couldn't find a matching yellow one so went with a neutral cream colour number 502 with silver teeth, to go with the silver snaps I had chosen which I thought would be a nice contrast against the yellow. I ordered this from Jaycotts which have a wide range of zips and reasonable shipping costs.



Having sewn one side of the zip on the right side of the jacket, I pinned the left side starting at the bottom of the jacket to make sure it lined up with the right side of the zip. Having pinned all the way to the top I realised this side of the zip was too long by more than 1cm. Claire recommended easing this in, pinning the top to be level with the right side and then easing it in between.



I pinned this again and sewed it but found I was still off by about 3mm at the top, and could see that the yoke line and drawstring channel were slightly off between the front pieces. I could have got away with leaving it at that but I knew it would bother me and create issues when attaching the hood. I unpicked most of it, leaving the bottom part in place as this still lined up well.



I repinned with additional horizontal pins at the top, yoke line and drawstring lines as these were the crucial parts to get level, doing up the zip while pinned to check it looked correct. I then starting sewing from the top, pulling on the jacket where needed to help ease in the extra length of zip, ensuring it met where the horizontal pins were. This worked really well and I finally got it level at all three points. I was quite surprised how well it worked as the amount I had to ease was quite a bit.



Snaps

I used Prym snaps in silver to match the silver zip teeth. When marking the snaps, I made holes down the front of the right side of the jacket, and then attached the snaps. What I had forgotten to do was to mark the corresponding point through the hole I had just made, for the male component. For all the snaps except for the hood, I marked the points by zipping up the jacket, fastening all the existing snaps to make sure everything lined up, and then marking each snap individually. This was time-consuming so don't forgot to mark everything first folks!



I then checked the position of the hood snaps with the jacket on and hood up, then marked where the hood extension would overlap.



I had been warned by others that space for the snaps at the edge of the front pieces was tight, having attached the male component on the left side first. I therefore positioned the snaps quite close to the edge of the front piece on the right side before attaching the corresponding male component on the left. In hindsight it would have been better to attach them on the left side first before the right side, as I realised I had a bit more room to spare than I thought. Time will tell whether this edge becomes stretched with all the pulling of the snaps.



Drawstring cord

I ordered a 6mm drawstring in Ochre Gold and Off White from Neotrims which matched really nicely, and the marled effect added a bit of interest.



Cord stoppers and ends

I spent ages browsing the internet for these, largely because I didn't know the exact term to search for and I had difficulty finding them for my 6mm cord. On some websites, the two terms of cord stoppers and cord ends seemed interchangeable. I was after a sprung toggle to stop the cord disappearing back into the channel, and then something to put onto the end of the cord to stop it fraying or to cover the knot.



I wanted silver to match my snaps and finally found these. The 20mm silver toggles had a hole that was 6mm diameter.



For the cord ends, I used these as they seemed liked the neatest option.



You thread the drawstring through the cylinder.



Then pinch the claws of the stopper end around the end of the cord and insert into the cylinder.



Push all the way in leaving a neat finish. If needed, it can still be pulled out and replaced or changed.



Summary



What I love

  • The pop of yellow really brightens up a gloomy day.

  • The pocket detail with the folded flap and snap.

  • The drawstring helps to create shape at the waist.

  • The hardware and details make the jacket relatively smart for a waterproof.

  • The fabrics made the jacket feel fairly lightweight, yet it was warmer than I anticipated with a good deal of wind resistance.


What I would change

  • Definitely add the topstitching.

  • Stitch the drawstring casing with the normal stitch length when attaching it first.

  • The inside of the pocket feels a little uncomfortable because the back of your hand touches the edge of the snap inside. I would consider lining the pockets, it would have been nice to have the brushed cotton inside.

  • I'd consider adding an inside pocket.

  • The order of marking, and positioning of the snaps as mentioned above.


What I discovered

  • This is yet another example of what can be achieved in a few days on a workshop with an experienced tutor, and how wonderful it is to dedicate solid time to a project.

  • I can be more adventurous with colour in my wardrobe.

  • Dry oilskin is lovely to work with and has a soft matt feel to it. I have some left over that might be enough to make a bag.

  • As amazing as it is to wear a special occasion garment you've made, there is something very satisfying about a practical item that gets worn on an almost daily basis.


Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Claire Tyler workshops

Kelly Anorak by Closet Core Patterns PDF, Printed

Kelly Anorak lining expansion pack

Upper rounded back adjustment video by Sew Sew Live

Merchant & Mills dry oilskin fabric

Bremsilk from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics

Jaycotts

Neotrims

Prym snaps in silver 

Silver cord stopper toggles

Silver cord ends


Related blog posts

Fitting the Kelly Anorak

Heather Blazer review

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Eden Coat Review

New Look 6545 Bomber Jacket review


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<![CDATA[Fitting the Kelly Anorak]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/fitting-the-kelly-anorak65ad896e534f083c4fb8c705Sun, 24 Mar 2024 15:00:20 GMTMingMakes


Having already fitted the Sienna Maker Jacket also by Closet Core Patterns, I already had a headstart on some of the fitting for the Kelly Anorak. I cut the same size 6 and knew I wanted to try an upper rounded back adjustment (RBA), so I went straight for 1.5 cm using the technique here by Sew Sew Live from timestamp 4:26.



I was then going to do the same upper RBA to the back lining piece, but realised this attaches to a back facing so it would be more appropriate to adjust this piece instead. I used the same technique, but cutting my horizontal line at an angle to hit the seam line of the shoulder slope.



I ensured there were right angles again at the fold line and neckline.



I then checked by laying it over the back piece to see that they were the same shape here.



As I started to assemble the jacket, I realised I hadn't done the upper RBA to the back yoke piece. I simply lay this piece on top and traced the shape.



First toile

The size charts and finished garment dimensions for the Sienna Jacket and Kelly Anorak were very similar. I compared the pattern pieces and although the back was pretty much the same, the front seemed much narrower on the Kelly Anorak by about 5cm. I realised this was because I hadn't accounted for the facing which is what the zip would be attached to. I wasn't sure exactly where the centre front would be but I roughly estimated, lining up the raw edge of one side to the notch nearest the raw edge of the other.




Observations

Compared to the Sienna Maker Jacket:

  • I had similar vertical folds at either side of the back (see photo below of my Sienna Jacket toile). If I'd had more time before the workshop I might have fiddled more with this but I felt it was good enough to progress as it was. If anything, the additional width in the back meant I had more room to move my arms forward.



  • I didn't have the same gaping at the front neckline.



Second toile

I added sleeves to check the fit further.



Observations

  • I was happy with sleeve length.

  • It was reasonably comfortable with a long sleeved top underneath. It was maybe a touch tight around the upper back but felt good enough to proceed as is.

  • The sleeves felt about right or a tiny bit snug if anything, whereas on the Sienna Jacket they felt on the large side.


On the finished jacket, I did still notice slight tightness around the upper back where it felt as if I needed a little more width and/or length. This is something I'd consider if making this again.


My review of the pattern itself will be posted up here soon.




Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.



Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Sew Sew Live rounded back adjustments

Kelly Anorak Jacket by Closet Core Patterns PDF, Print


Related blog posts

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Fitting the Sienna Maker Jacket

Ginger Jeans review

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<![CDATA[New Look 6545 Bomber Jacket]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/new-look-6545-bomber-jacket65b2ab04f6c735de2f4fd695Sun, 11 Feb 2024 17:18:34 GMTMingMakes


I booked onto a sewing workshop local to me at the Bristol School of Sewing and Textiles to make a bomber jacket. This has been something on my list for a while, having seen someone wearing a Ted Baker floral one a while ago in a silk-type fabric. I loved the mix of a more formal fabric in this style, having seen others with jacquard, brocade, velvet and lace. 



The pattern was the New Look 6545 bomber / flight jacket and has raglan sleeves. It suits a wide range of fabrics and can be sewn with contrast sleeves.


Sewing Workshop Space

Fit

Fabric

Interfacing

Construction

Pattern placement

Zip

Cuffing

Pressing

Summary

What I love

What I would change

What I discovered


Sewing Workshop Space



The School is set up in a lovely garden workshop with a small kitchenette and toilet. It fits four students with their own desk space, with sewing machines and tools provided for each. There are an additional two big tables for cutting and working on.



It is owned by Emma who runs all the sewing classes, and she has a friendly and calm manner about her. As well as dressmaking, the school has classes in hand embroidery, soft furnishings, bags, knitting, crochet and other crafty things.


Fit

I would usually check the fit with a toile before a workshop but time didn’t allow for this. My measurements put me around size 12 but having looked at the finished garment dimensions, I went with size 8 as I anticipated using this as more of a spring / summer jacket with a light layer underneath.



I didn’t make any further adjustments to the fit or length. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well it fit, and would perhaps only do an upper rounded back adjustment on any future version, a standard adjustment for me.



Fabric

As per usual, I had left it to the last minute to decide on my fabric which meant I had to use something from my stash, certainly a welcome situation to be put into. While I was tempted to use some loud prints for a really unique jacket, I also wanted something that was versatile to be worn regularly, so I went with an embroidered chambray I bought from Like Sew Amazing a couple of years ago. It had just the right amount of structure and drape for this jacket.



For the lining, I had some royal blue Bremsilk left over from my Eden Coat which matched well. From that project I knew it was slippery to handle, but as a lining for which precision wasn’t absolutely necessary, it did the job beautifully.



For the cuffs I bought some navy cuffing from another local store Fabrics Plus. I had previously ordered other navy cuffing online from two other stores (Empress Mills and Dalston Mill) which was so dark it looked black. Empress Mills kindly resent the order in case it was incorrect but the replacement was the same. It is worth noting that they have at least 2 other navy ribbing products; the one I ordered had code no. E110615-008. I had ordered a swatch from Dalston Mill which was lighter than what later arrived as fabric, so I think either the swatch or fabric sent was incorrect so I can’t say for sure what it looks like. 



Amongst our class, other fabrics used were cotton, bouclé and stretch denim. It is such a versatile pattern.


Interfacing

Emma supplied a strip of interfacing (Vlieseline F220) for us to use down the front of the jacket edge to help stabilise the zip, preventing this part of the jacket from stretching and going wavy.



Construction

As is the beauty of such workshops, I didn’t have to reference the instructions at all. We did have a look through when Emma pointed out where we had changed the order, and thought that the wording and diagrams weren’t particularly clear. This is something I have found on the only other Big 4 pattern I have sewn, the Zara skirt rebranded by Liberty but with the original Simplicity 8606 pattern and instructions in the packet.



Pattern placement

My first task was to decide how to arrange the coloured flowers which would be most noticeable. Emma advised against making the front pieces symmetrical as they would have to be absolutely spot on, and I thought it would look better with the motifs staggered, as well as trying to avoid flower boob! However I did aim for symmetry on the back piece, and the sleeves to some extent.



I cut the pockets so there was a coloured flower inside.



Zip

I used a YKK medium plastic zip in 560 Navy ordered from Jaycotts. Emma advised bringing two lengths just in case, the 20" and 22". I ended up using the shorter one but when measuring it up, it was just a touch too short. I had it in my mind that I could fold the bottom cuffing up a bit more to make them end at the same level, but had forgotten this by the time it got to that point. This does mean there is a shortfall of about 1cm but I don't think it stands out too much.



When sewing zips in the past, I have found that pinning and basting didn't seem to hold them securely enough while sewing, and found that Wonder Tape seemed to do the trick well. It does add a bit of bulk although it is mean to dissolve in the wash. Emma recommended using a diagonal stitch to baste the zip more securely which did the trick.



Cuffing

This was my first time sewing with cuffing and it was easier than I thought it would be. As long as you have pinned it pretty evenly, stretching it as you sew wasn’t difficult. With it having such a high stretch, it is very forgiving in any case. When sewing the collar I realised I had to stretch it really tightly when coming to one end and I thought it would look odd but I certainly can't tell.



For the long stretch of cuffing along the bottom of the jacket, the advice was to start at one end, sew to the centre back and then repeat on the other side. For some reason I found it easier to sew it the other way round, starting from centre back to the front edge. I think it was because I could hold the end of the jacket and the cuffing together more precisely rather than relying on my pin at centre back to be where I was aiming for.



Pressing

In order to press the seam between the jacket and cuffing, it needed to be stretched so the woven part of the jacket would lie flat. In the absence of a person willing to risk their hands while I waved around an iron in close proximity, I tried pinning one end to the ironing board.



I could then pull the other end taut while I pressed it and this worked well. The photo below shows the cuffing pulled under tension.



I was able to fit the sleeves around a ham to stretch the cuffing.



Summary



What I love

  • This pattern is so versatile and I can see me making more in other fabrics such as silk, brocade or lace.

  • The fit was good straight out of the packet for me.

  • Worn with a dress or skirt, it can prevent the whole outfit looking a bit too cutesy.



What I would change

  • I would interface the pocket openings for a bit more stability as they are likely to be well used.

  • Ensure the zip ended at the bottom of the ribbing by either making the jacket a different length or adjusting the ribbing if I couldn't buy a zip the correct length.

  • I'd love to make another in a cropped length too.



What I discovered

  • I sound like a broken record on this but it just reinforces my love of workshops and how it enforces sewing time, where I can complete a garment in a matter of days rather than months, learning skills and tips in the wonderful company of other enthusiastic sewers.

  • I am much more adventurous with what I sew vs what I would buy. When wearing something I've made, even if I think the sewing or fit is off, I wear it with huge pride. I can't say I would have picked this jacket out in a shop, but having made it myself I cannot wait for occasions to wear it. I feel much more confident in displaying my own style with me made clothing, and love how it evolves with each new piece.




Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Bristol School of Sewing and Textiles

New Look 6545 bomber / flight jacket

Like Sew Amazing

Fabrics Plus

Empress Mills

Dalston Mill fabrics

Jaycotts

Vlieseline F220 interfacing


Related blog posts

Eden Coat review

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Heather Blazer review


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<![CDATA[An alteration - shortening a RTW pleated skirt]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/an-alteration-shortening-a-rtw-pleated-skirt65931b812f33514f15d2b1a5Mon, 22 Jan 2024 17:22:02 GMTMingMakes


A simple project, but I love to share what I'm up to :) I had bought a lovely satin pleated skirt from Zara in my favourite colour maroon. It fitted well, but was a little on the long side and so I did a simple alteration to shorten the length.


The skirt was actually intended to be worn with the waistband folded to the inside as there was some stitching at the side to keep the waistband folded this way. I undid this stitching as it looked much nicer with the waistband on show. It helped highlight the waist as well as giving it a nicer shape.



I measured how much I wanted to shorten it by, which was 8 cm. The original skirt had a rolled hem, which I knew my overlocker would make light work of. I shortened it by 7.5 cm to allow a little for the hem. I started to mark this cutting line with a pen, but I soon realised this could take a while with the length of the hem. I decided to stitch a line instead and used white thread on the longest stitch my machine could do (5 mm), using washi tape as a guide.



I had to be careful not to stretch the fabric as it was cut on the bias. I cut along this line and did a few bits of tidying up to ensure it was fairly straight all the way round.



I then did a rolled hem on the overlocker which gave a lovely finish, just like the original. I pressed any pleats that had flattened out at the hem and it was good to go.




Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.



Related blog posts

How to shorten a curved ruffle

Rolled hem tutorial

French seam a gathered ruffle without bulk

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<![CDATA[Zadie Jumpsuit 2 in velvet]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/zadie-jumpsuit-2-in-velvet653d808a96f43091b94913b8Sat, 06 Jan 2024 15:00:22 GMTMingMakes


I had booked to go to a 3 day sewing retreat organised by Claire Tyler at Dartington Hall in Devon. As per usual, life got busy and I was deciding at the last minute what to sew. I didn't have time to make a toile and so went with a pattern I had already sewn. I loved my summery Zadie Jumpsuit and knew this would be a pattern I'd make again. I decided to go with a winter version, having been totally inspired by a stretch velvet version by Ellie Wagg I saw on The Fold Line Facebook group.



I loved the more formal look and the gathered sleeves, and thought this would be perfect for my birthday and a few other occasions coming up. Velvet + stretch seemed a bit much for me to handle without any experience of sewing with velvet yet, and so I went with non-stretch.



I was incredibly pleased with the final result and it netted me a few lovely compliments from strangers, to which I could say those beautiful words brimming with pride, "Thank you, I made it myself" :)


Fit

Fabric

Advice for sewing with velvet

Cutting and marking

Sewing

Pressing

Hemming

Cutting out

Pattern changes

Construction

Binding

Belt

Sleeves

Hemming

Summary

What I love

What I would change

What I discovered


Fit

One thing I wanted to change from my first Zadie was to add an upper rounded back adjustment. I could feel it tight around here and felt the front was pulling up towards my neck to give my upper back more room.


I decided to add 1.5cm as this is generally recommended as the maximum here, with any larger discrepancy being done as a lower back adjustment. I did this on the pattern piece, using a great resource from Fitopedia. I purchased the Upper Body - Back PDF and it is a fantastic and concise resource for these adjustments on all kinds of sleeves, and with or without darts, centre back seams etc. There are clear diagrams and explanations, with links to videos for further detail.


I traced the original shoulder seam since it was curved and I wanted to replicate this after the adjustment.



I then marked roughly where my shoulder point was, and 1cm below this (the stitch line). I joined a line from the centre back seam line to this point. (Ignore any other lines on the pattern piece, these are from previous adjustments)



I then cut along this line to make a hinge and spread it apart by 1.5cm at the centre back seam. Then I drew lines of what to cut off to ensure I still had a right angle at the centre neckline, and the centre back seam was straight.



I taped this to the original tracing which gave me the same shoulder seam as before. Here is how the finished piece looked. The broken grainline in the photo below is a previous adjustment as explained in a post about fitting my first Zadie here.



Fabric

I ordered the Deepest Red Luxury Velvet from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics as a last minute decision days before sewing with it on the retreat, and they very kindly pulled out all the stops so it would get to me in time. The fabric was absolutely gorgeous with the most beautiful drape, and I couldn't stop stroking it.



It is a viscose and silk mix, and a lot of the advice out there including from the store itself is to handwash it. Now I know for sure that if I have to handwash something, it's never going to get either worn or washed. I took a chance and put it in on the woollens setting at 30 degrees and a low spin cycle of 600. I put a colour catcher sheet in with it which came out unmarked. The velvet came out absolutely fine and I let it air dry after putting it in the tumble dryer on the Smoothing setting, an 8 min cycle on low temperature to remove creases.




Advice for sewing with velvet

There are some great resources online about sewing with velvet. Here are a couple I found most useful:


Closet Core Patterns blog - Tips for Sewing with Velvet

Threads magazine - How to Sew Velvet like a Pro


In addition, on Claire's retreat she did a talk about how to sew with velvet and had some great pressing tools and boards.


Here is a summary of some of the advice from the resources above, with comments about my early experience with velvet and whether I used that tip on this project.


Cutting and marking


  • Wrong side up - Yes, helped with accuracy and keeping the pattern piece in place.

  • Single layer - Yes, the velvet was too shifty to consider otherwise.

  • Rotary cutter - Yes, this is my usual method anyway and it definitely helped to touch the fabric as little as possible once laid out.

  • Tailor's tacks - No, I used a Prym Aqua Trick Marker in white. This is a favourite product of mine, also available in turquoise with a fine and extra fine tip.



Sewing


  • Basting, Wonder tape, adhesive - No, I did some practice seams and found it OK with just pinning, since my garment wasn't so fitted that absolute precision was required, and the pins didn't leave any marks. However I did notice a fair degree of shifting, so if needing more accuracy I would try Wonder tape which has worked well for me in the past where basting still wasn't enough e.g. topstitching patch pockets. I used a Sewline glue pen to help with securing the binding as described later in the Binding section.

  • Sew in direction of nap - Yes where possible. When overlocking the edges in single layer, I found it easier to sew with the right side up.

  • Universal or sharp needle - Used a Microtex needle size 80/12.

  • Walking foot - Yes this reduced the creeping, particularly as I was only pinning.

  • Hold fabric taut as you sew - No, as I was worried about stretching it but in the right hands I'm sure this would be good.

  • Overlock or zig zag finish - Yes, I used a three-thread overlocker stitch prior to sewing the seam since it would be pressed open to reduce bulk.


Pressing


  • Trim and grade seams - No, I just pressed them open.

  • Velvet needle board or alternative underneath - Yes. Claire had brought a velvet board which was very useful. It is a board with many short blunt metal needles standing vertically, so as you lay your velvet right side down on it, the pile sits between the needles to prevent it from being crushed when pressing. Here are a couple of examples available in the UK and US.

An alternative is to use another piece of scrap velvet so putting right sides together, or the hooked side of a strip of Velcro.

When using a scrap of velvet, I pressed the seam over a sleeve ham to prevent the seam edges from showing through to the right side. I felt there was no need to apply steam or press on the right side.

  • Use steam and light/no pressure - Yes. At the retreat I had access to a steam generator iron. Claire recommended applying the steam to the wrong side of the seam and lightly running the pointed tip of the iron down it to encourage the seam to open, and then using my hand to lightly press it open. Sometimes I just used my fingertips to avoid any show-through of the seam edges. This amount of pressure was still sufficient as the seam had a slight tendency to open naturally, perhaps this was something to do with the nap.



Hemming


  • Hang for 24hrs before hemming - Yes, not quite 24 hrs but overnight as it felt very weighty.

  • Single fold hand stitched blind hem - Yes I hand stitched a blind hem, but used binding rather than overlocking the raw edge as detailed towards the end of this post.


Cutting out

I wanted to avoid as many seams as possible in the velvet so I cut the back as one piece, eliminating the centre back seam. As was recommended, I made a new pattern piece rather than cutting this on the fold.



I had to decide which way up to have the nap before cutting out, and making sure all pieces were cut the same way. I had read that a rich colour such as the one I was using would look good with the nap running upwards, whereas generally the rule is to have it running down the garment. I looked at the fabric both ways and preferred the look of the nap running upwards. It was more uniform and had a deeper colour. I also noted that it was the same on my Monsoon dress mentioned below which I also took inspiration from.



The fabric was incredibly shifty to cut and I wasn't sure how accurate the pieces were, but I think this pattern was very forgiving and therefore well-suited for it.

Pattern changes

Having read various resources about how to sew with velvet, I had a look at the only velvet garment I own, an almost identically coloured dress from Monsoon. I wanted to see how they had finished their hem and edges, as making binding from this velvet for the neckline would be too bulky.



They had narrow satin binding around the neckline and armholes, and the hem was overlocked and topstitched. I liked the contrast and neatness of the satin binding and thought this would be a nice touch around the wrap neckline. However, the problem on other Zadies I'd seen with contrast binding, is that the binding goes all the way down to the trouser pieces, so it often looked like it 'pointed' to the crotch.


To get round this, I thought I'd try binding the bodice first so it ended at the waist seam. With the tie belt, I thought this would cover the join. This meant I still needed a solution to finish the trouser part. I decided to cut this section 1cm wider so I could finish it with binding folded under. More on this in the construction section below.



Next was to tackle the bishop sleeve. I followed this post on the By Hand London blog to cut and spread the pattern piece, adding 6cm in total to the width. My original had a 3/4 sleeve (shortening the original pattern piece by 8cm) so I added another 20cm to ensure I had more than enough, and cut off the little 'flare' at the bottom as I was planning to put a cuff on the end rather than turning it up.



I didn't know how much additional length the fullness of the bishop sleeve would require, and so I waited until it was finished to assess this. After trying it on, I reduced the length by 5cm. This was the exact length of the sleeve I wanted with no seam allowance since it would be finished with binding rather than being folded under.


Construction

I largely followed the construction method, as described in my first Zadie, except for the following:


Stay-stitching - I did this as normal on the machine. It wasn't the neatest due to the shiftiness but using forming tape interfacing would have ruined the velvet.

Pockets – instead of French seaming the pocket base I overlocked.

Belt opening - I handstitched around the belt opening on the R side of the bodice to secure the seam allowance as this was neater than what I could achieve on the machine.




Binding

I used Stephanoise 20mm satin binding in Burgundy. I changed the order of the construction as I was not extending the satin binding below the waist seam. This is what I did:


1. Before sewing the bodice to the trousers, open up the neckline binding, match right sides together on the bodice neckline and sew along the fold. I cannot stress enough how absolutely awful the binding looked at this point, as it was wavy and looked stretched beyond what a bit of steaming could undo. I genuinely thought I had ruined this project, as the thought of unpicking it would likely stretch the neckline out too. I stuck with it having got this far, and tried to encourage a little bit of gathering on the inside as I handstitched to secure it. This together with a good steam completely rescued the binding, and I was stunned with how smooth it looked. It was likely my inexperience that made me worry so much, rather than me having fixed it.

2. Fold binding in half to the inside and hand stitch, stopping short at the bottom end where it meets the trousers for the belt to be attached.



3. Complete construction of the leg pieces, sew crotch.

4. Attach binding right sides together on wrap section of trousers, fold entire binding under and hand stitch.




5. Fold pleats on trousers to match those on the bodice.

6. Sew trousers to bodice at the waist seam.

7. Attach belt ties to bodice with hand stitching


Belt

I had toyed with idea of making the belt out of the satin binding and tried to press it open to make this happen. I couldn't completely remove the folds and so I ditched this idea and stuck with the velvet. In some ways I'm quite glad it didn't work out as I think it might have been a little too much.



To make sure the belt ended up horizontal to the waist seam on the right side, I sewed it on the right side first, and then tucked the raw edge under the binding to secure it. I used my Sewline fabric glue pen to hold the tie in place for the topstitching. Note that the dotted line on the tie belt is a previous line of stitching where I had attached it incorrectly, it is not sewn here.



I then topstitched this in place.



Then I folded the raw edge of the tie under the binding and hand stitched it in place.



Since the remainder of the binding wasn't topstitched, I thought this small section of topstitching on the belt looked a little out of place. I didn't bother to change this on the left side of the bodice as this would be hidden under the wrap, but decided to hand stitch the edge of the binding on the right side without needing to topstitch.



Sleeves

I loved the full length gathered sleeves that Ellie had drafted for her Zadie. She had used stretch velvet and so the cuff could be reasonably tight to fit over the wrist, but still able to stretch over the hand. I wanted to use the same satin binding as for the neckline to help tie in the look. As it wasn't that stretchy, I made it as tight as I could while still able to squeeze my hand through. Since it was bias binding, it might also have had a bit of give.


I opened up the binding to sew it into a loop, then pressed it in half to create the cuff.



I sewed two rows of gathering stitches to make the sleeve opening the same circumference.



In the same way as on the neckline, I machine sewed this to the end of the sleeve with right sides together, and then handstitched on the inside.



I was really pleased with the final result and love how it looks.



Hemming

The velvet fabric was quite heavy and so I hung my jumpsuit up overnight before hemming. I pinned up 4cm as directed in the pattern and found this was about right when worn with heels. I have to admit I didn't spend a long time assessing the length because I was in a rush to complete it for a birthday afternoon tea later that day, and managed it minutes before we had to leave the house. Here I am enjoying red velvet cake in my red velvet jumpsuit :)



In keeping with the rest of the garment, I used the last bit of binding to finish the hem. The same as for the wrap section of the trousers, I opened up the binding, put right sides together with the hem of the trousers and sewed along the fold. To get the right length of binding for the circumference of the hem, I used the method described in my post here but instead of just pinning in the first place, I sewed it. This was because I knew the velvet with the satin binding was a very shift combo and I didn't want to risk making the binding too short.



This took up 1cm and so I measured another 3cm to pin and press up the hem. I could have cut off the 3cm and then just press the binding under but because it was finished in a bit of a hurry I wanted a bit of wiggle room in case I wanted to lengthen it further. I hand sewed the hem for a neat finish.



Summary

The trickiness of cutting and sewing velvet means this is probably my messiest garment on the inside, but it does not detract from the wow factor for me :)




What I love

  • This being my second Zadie, it's a lovely comfortable garment to wear. I'm pretty sure there'll be a third at some point.

  • This velvet is so luxurious, and feels gorgeous on the skin both inside and out.

  • The combination of the velvet, those gathered sleeves and longer trousers totally elevate the look.

  • The binding on the neckline and sleeve is a lovely touch.


What I would change

  • After my first Zadie, I planned to check the fit of the trousers as I had twisting inseams. With lack of time in the run up to the retreat I didn't get a chance to do this, but with the drapiness and deep colour of the fabric together with the longer length, I'm not sure it's noticeable.

What I discovered

  • I would never have seen a red velvet jumpsuit in a store and thought to try it on, and yet there's something about sewing my own clothing that makes me much more adventurous with what I would wear.

  • Using fabrics other than those suggested can totally change the look of a garment. I must remind myself to think outside the box a little.

  • Same goes for simple pattern hacks.

  • Having now lost my velvet virginity, I can see more of this in my future. Maybe I'll give stretch velvet a go.



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Claire Tyler retreats

Fitopedia

Bloomsbury Square Fabrics

Closet Core Patterns blog - Tips for Sewing with Velvet

Threads magazine - How to Sew Velvet like a Pro

Prym Aqua Trick Marker in white

Velvet pressing board available in the UK, US

By Hand London blog - How to hack any basic sleeve into a romantic billowy bishop sleeve

Sewline fabric glue pen


Related blog posts

Zadie Jumpsuit review

Fitting the Zadie Jumpsuit

Making a facing/binding exactly the right length for an opening





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<![CDATA[Eden Coat]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/eden-coat650de150fd01847643339fccSun, 10 Dec 2023 12:22:21 GMTMingMakes


I had booked onto The Winter Coat workshop with Claire Tyler having already attended her Classic Blazer workshop 6 months prior where I made the Heather Blazer by the Friday Pattern Company. I was ready for a new challenge and decided a coat would be the next step. I had never sewn with wool before and wanted a casual jacket with a hood for the upcoming autumn. Sometimes you just want to pop out without having to carry an umbrella.



I decided to go with the Eden Coat by Tilly and the Buttons. It's only available in PDF format on their website, but the printed version is quite widely available in other stores. I purchased mine from Like Sew Amazing.




I planned to make the shorter jacket version in wool with a zip. When I went to the workshop and showed Claire my fabric, she commented that it was such a lovely pattern that it would make the most of it to make it the longer length. I agreed, and luckily I had bought enough fabric. I decided to do the zipped version with snaps rather than the toggles.


This post is a review of the Eden Coat pattern. You can read my review of the workshop itself here.



Fit

Pattern errors

Fabric

Cutting

Pattern matching - cutting

Bodice

Hood

Pockets

Interfacing

Construction

Underlining

Stay stitching

Pockets

Pattern matching - construction

Lining

Zip

Sleeve hem (my big mistake!)

Front flap

Snaps

Summary

What I love

What I would change

What I discovered


Fit

Looking at the size chart, my measurements corresponded to size 4 bust, size 3 waist and hips. Since I have a larger upper bust measurement than full bust, I used this instead to choose the bust size. Before cutting the pattern, I compared the bodice pieces with that of my Sienna Maker Jacket, and with the grading between sizes it wasn't far off and so I went with this.


I made a toile and it seemed to fit pretty well. With a raglan sleeve there is bound to be some folds around the arms, but I wasn't too concerned as I wanted the coat to be roomy enough for winter clothing underneath. I didn't do any further fitting adjustments.



Pattern errors

I purchased the paper pattern but I noticed a couple of errors with the instructions or diagrams which may possibly have been corrected on newer print runs and/or the PDF but I'll mention them here just in case.


1. The instructions specified to cut 4 pocket flaps in interfacing but only two were used, on the outside pocket flaps.


2. The pattern piece for the hood facing included a rectangle where they direct you to attach the interfacing for the snaps, although this entire piece is already interfaced.



However, the photo and wording of the pieces in the instruction show it being attached to the side hood which makes more sense.



Fabric

I used this gorgeous grey, blue and beige checked wool and polyester mix fabric from Like So Amazing. I love this colour theme and it has a lovely soft brushed surface. I washed this at 30° on the woollen cycle and allowed it to air dry. It survived perfectly well and retained its softness.



For the lining, I used royal blue Bremsilk from Bloomsbury Square fabrics which I thought complimented the checked fabric beautifully. I washed this at 30°, and on the low tumble dryer setting for convenience (but since the coat/wool won't be going into the tumble dryer, this wasn't necessary).




Claire recommended underlining the coat with cotton lawn. This was a last minute purchase, buying light blue cotton lawn from Hobbycraft. The colour is not important as it won't be seen, but since I would be seeing it a lot as I was sewing, I picked the colour that looked most appealing to me.


Cutting

Going by the fabric requirements, I had 3.5 m where the pattern asked for 3.4 m for my size in the longer length. We discussed cutting the hood and pocket pieces on the bias to create interest. Since we weren’t sure if I had enough fabric to cut the pieces on the bias I cut all the larger pieces first – the front, back and sleeves. I had plenty of fabric left over, and even after cutting those pieces on the bias (plus re-cutting two of those pieces) I still had more than 1.2m left. 



Pattern matching - cutting

Bodice

Claire advised me to make any pattern pieces that were to be cut on the fold into a full piece to cut in single layer. The checked pattern was not symmetrical so we thought it best to put the dominant darker stripe either side of the centre back.



After cutting the sleeves, I matched the underarm point on the sleeves to that of the bodice pieces, which created a nice line across this point.



I recut the front facing piece as I hadn't pattern matched this to the front bodice, and thought it might be seen when the coat was open. The photo below shows the front facing on the jacket's right side pulled out, before I secured it as detailed below in the section on the front flap.



Hood

Having cut all the hood pieces on the bias and with some symmetry, when I went to assemble it I realised the centre hood piece looked odd since the diagonal stripes were a bit random where they met the side hood pieces. I decided this centre piece would look better cut on the grain with the lines horizontal.



Given the curved seam where it meets the side hood, it wasn't possible to pattern match all along, but I had a matching horizontal section at the back where I thought it would be most visible, and matched it to the vertical line running down the back of the coat.



Pockets

I put some symmetry in the pockets, and put some thought into the pocket flaps. It would require incredible accuracy of marking, sewing and cutting to pattern match this with the pocket and so I decided to have the diagonal stripes going the opposite way. This was definitely a head scratcher at the time!



Interfacing


Claire advised using Vlieseline bi-stretch interfacing G770 to allow the wool a bit of movement. Once you had lay the interfacing on the fabric piece, she recommended hovering over the interfacing with the steam on to allow for any shrinkage of the interfacing before fusing it. The shrinkage was noticeable on the longer pieces, such as the front bodice facing, but wouldn't be a problem as this was still within the seam allowance.


The photos below show either end of the front facing piece after steaming the interfacing and then fusing.



Construction

Underlining

I started by basting the cotton lawn underlining to the fabric pieces. It was here that I was introduced to Gütermann basting thread which is designed for the task and breaks easily. This is particularly handy for the times when you sew over the basting thread, it makes it easier to remove. I basted within the seam allowance and removed it after sewing that particular seam.


I used tailors tacks to mark the snap fastenings and pocket corners, as my usual go-to Prym Aqua Trick Marker was not showing up well on the wool.



Stay stitching

I stay stitched the neck lines and raglan seams which was also required on my very slippery lining. Claire advised using a straight stitch foot, and to use the other hand to help guide the fabric out the back of the machine to keep it flat. This worked well for me and I didn’t have much in the way of puckering.



I have mixed feelings on stay stitching, wondering if in my hands I have a tendency to cause more stretching in the process. I have a feeling I did this on the lining pieces as they didn't always line up that well, but I wasn't sure if that was because of inaccuracy with the cutting as well.


Pockets

The pattern directs you to use the fabric on both front and back of the pocket flaps. I agreed with Claire that this may be bulky and so cut two lining pieces instead, plus it would be a nice contrast when opening the pocket. As directed in the pattern instructions, I trimmed the lining 2 mm smaller to allow it to roll underneath and did the same for the main patch pocket linings. 



It wasn't the tidiest on the inside but I wouldn't see inside of the pockets, and the inside of the flap wouldn't be visible most of the time.



One small detail I forgot was to change the bobbin thread when topstitching, and so the stitching shows underneath.



Having enjoyed hand sewing the patch pockets onto my Heather Blazer, I decided to do the same for this coat. Since I had already topstitched the flap, I did the same to the pocket and then hand sewed them on. I could have saved a step by topstitching them with the machine directly onto the bodice, but on my Sienna Maker Jacket project, I found the pocket had a tendency to move slightly, even when basted in place. In that instance I used Prym Wonder Tape which worked really well, but I didn’t want to add any further bulk here, particularly as I knew it would not go into the wash very often, if at all.



I positioned the pockets a touch higher than where the pattern stated, so it would line up with one of the horizontal checks. When sewing on the pocket flaps, they are meant to be sewn with the raw edge 1.5 cm higher than the top of the pocket. I positioned them a little higher at 2 cm as Claire had recommended an extra step after this of sewing the pocket flap lining to the front bodice so that the raw edge of the pocket flap wouldn't show. If making this again, I would have made the pocket flap a little longer to account for this, or stay stitched the raw edge at 0.5cm, rather than 1cm.



I decided to trim the seam allowance on the pocket flap to around 0.5cm, so there wouldn't be so much to cover on the inside. I didn't edge stitch the top of the flap as recommended in the instructions as I thought it looked better without. If I had given this more thought earlier in the project, I wouldn't have edge stitched the flap or the pocket as the checked pattern gave enough visual interest. For the same reason, I didn't topstitch anything else they mentioned - the raglan seem allowances, hems, hood and front edge.


A great tip that Claire gave me was to hand sew the pocket flap lining to the front of the coat so that the raw edge wouldn't show. I did a ladder stitch and this worked beautifully.



Pattern matching - construction

Having spent a decent amount of time and effort trying to cut the pieces to ensure good pattern matching, I totally forgot this when I stitched the first side seam! I couldn't bear to leave this as it was, and so I unpicked it. I re-pinned it ensuring the stripes matched up with the pins horizontally marking each stripe.



I sewed slowly up to each pin and then used the hand wheel to get as close as I could to it before removing it. I was so pleased with the result as well as the beautiful intersecting seams, not that anyone is going to look under my armpits!



Lining

The instructions guide you to bag out the lining but Claire was uncomfortable with the idea of pulling this bulky coat through a hole. Along with trying to insert the zip, this took a bit of thought as to how best to attach the lining. In the end we worked out that our method was essentially the same as the pattern instructions, except not leaving the gap to bag it out in the arm but turning it inside out by the entire bottom hem and then handsewing the lining at the bottom and sleeve hem. Since I was not exactly following instructions during the workshop, I had forgotten to insert the hanging loop.



I added a little hidden label underneath, a rabbit that signifies this was made in my year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac.



Zip

Since I originally wanted to do the short jacket, I bought a short zip. Thankfully Claire had some longer zips available. It wasn't as long as the full length of the coat, but I did think it might be difficult to sit down if the zip went all the way to the bottom and so I kept with the shorter zip.



Sleeve hem

My big mistake and solution!

I only made this mistake because I wasn't following the instructions at this point, so do skip to the next section if you are being sensible :)


Having sewn the lining to the bottom hem facing, I went to do the same with the sleeves. I folded up the sleeves to see what length I wanted it. I folded up 5 cm which seemed about right. For some reason I had it in my mind about the 1.5 cm seam allowance and so I proceeded to cut off the additional 3.5 cm on the coat sleeve and the lining, then realised that this would mean the lining would be attached very close to the end of the sleeve, and possibly pull on the inside.


The only thing I could think of at this point was to reduce the amount I folded the lining under by. Where it was meant to be 1.5 cm I made it about 0.5 cm, and I handsewed this close to the raw edge of the wool.



It made me laugh (well, after crying!) because the 5 cm I had already folded up was absolutely perfect without any further intervention.


Having done this, I could see that the lining was still pulling inside the sleeve and so I decided to do it properly and cut a sleeve hem facing, similar to that at the bottom hem. I cut it a bit longer to account for the fact that I'd also cut the lining shorter by 3.5cm. I cut the sleeve facing 8cm wide (7cm for the 3.5cm on the sleeve plus 3.5cm on the lining I had cut off, and a 1cm seam allowance to attach it back to the sleeve).


I used basting thread to remind me where the sleeve should end.



I sewed the facings into a loop, then attached them to the sleeves, pressing them so the seam was on the inside.



I then used fell stitch to secure the lining, the same as for the bottom hem.



I was pretty happy with the result, the sleeve was rescued.



On putting my arms through the sleeves, there was a tendency for the facing to be turned back out again and so I secured the junction of the lining and facing to the sleeve with some small stitches that weren't visible on the outside. I only did this in 4 places on each sleeve - at the seam and the quarter points, and this worked really well.



Front flap

The front flat that overlaps the zip is meant to be topstitched, but as mentioned before, I didn't want to put a line of stitching to break up the checked pattern. However, I did want to secure it in some way as it had a tendency to open up as shown in the video below.


I pinned the flap in place and then handsewed a few stitches that wouldn't be visible on the outside, in the ditch where the zip meets the inside of the flap,



However, this did not improve things and the flap still stuck out.



I realised this was because my hand stitches were sewn through the zip tape. When the zip is done up, this side of the zip folds back on itself, and so it made sense to stitch it so that the tape stayed flat when it was done up. This meant hand sewing in the same place, but folding the tape out of the way underneath (2nd photo).



I sewed several stitches on top of each other, level with where the snaps would be and at the halfway points between them. This was much better, but I felt it needed a little more. I decided to also secure the tape on the other side of the zip teeth to prevent this from folding back.



All of this work really well, and I was very happy with the result.



Snaps

This was a nerve wrecking moment for me as I had never inserted snaps before. I used the Prym Antique Brass Anorak 15 mm Press Snaps as these matched the colour of the zip quite closely, and bought the Prym Vario Pliers whilst at the workshop for easy insertion. I had a practice go and a few dud goes on the real thing which meant I had to order another packet as I was one short. At the same time, I ordered the Prym Revolving Punch which made a much neater job than me poking a hole through the fabric and then stretching it over the shank.



I inserted the female outer snaps first, and then carefully lined up the male part of the snap. I wanted to ensure the pattern matching was spot-on with the snaps done up. I call this a win :)


Summary

I am so proud of this make. I am very glad I joined a workshop to make it not only for the guidance, but also that it forced me to dedicate a solid few days to making it. The fabric totally elevated the coat and while it was a pain to cut, it was so worth it.




What I love


  • The fabric and pattern combo

  • The deep patch pockets

  • The warmth and practicality of this coat with a hood

What I would change


  • If sewing with another patterned fabric, I would omit the topstitching

  • Size down on the waist and hips as it is pretty roomy, even with bulky winter clothing underneath

What I discovered


  • This was yet another great workshop experience, and after returning home from this, I booked onto Claire Tyler's Kelly Anorak workshop, another garment that would be a challenge for me. I've said it many times before, but I really love the advanced learning and sewing that happens in a workshop, in addition to the lovely environment of sewing with other equally keen sewists.

  • That I need to consider every pattern piece when pattern matching before cutting!

  • How to underline a garment, and how in this case the underlining of cotton lawn helps with the structure of the coat.

  • Having the right tools makes a big difference, it was well worth buying the punch and pliers for the snaps.



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Claire Tyler workshops

Eden Coat pattern by Tilly and the Buttons PDF, printed

Vlieseline bi-stretch interfacing G770

Bloomsbury Square Fabrics

Like Sew Amazing

Gütermann basting thread

Prym Aqua Trick Marker

Prym Wonder Tape

Prym Antique Brass Anorak 15 mm Press Snaps

Prym Vario Pliers

Prym Revolving Punch


Related blog posts

Winter Coat workshop with Claire Tyler

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Heather Blazer review


]]>
<![CDATA[Winter Coat workshop with Claire Tyler]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/winter-coat-workshop-with-claire-tyler64efa79c4654a132f4dae8a4Sun, 15 Oct 2023 15:42:53 GMTMingMakesThe first time I'd been to the Claire Tyler Couture sewing studio was for the Classic Blazer workshop where I made the Heather Blazer by the Friday Pattern Company. I learnt a lot and benefited from lifetime access to her online class afterwards. The studio is set in a lovely part of England, and along with getting to stay over making it my own little sewing retreat, I didn't need much encouragement to return. I decided to tackle a new challenge of making a coat and sewing with wool, and so booked onto the 4 day Winter Coat workshop.


I wanted a hip-length coat with a hood for the upcoming autumn weather and chose the Eden Coat by Tilly and the Buttons. I made it in wool with a zip and snaps instead of the toggles. This posts focusses on the workshop itself, a review of the pattern will be up on the blog soon.



The Workshop 

Sewing Space 

Location

Summary 


The Workshop


There were five of us on this workshop giving us plenty of space to spread out since there are eight tables in total. It was lovely to chat to the other attendees and get to know them better over the 4 days. As is generally my experience on sewing workshops, it was a relaxed, friendly and supportive atmosphere.


Prior to the workshop, we had made our toiles. This wasn't necessary but it helped us make the most of our 4 days there for the construction, and to benefit from Claire's advice on the fit. Other patterns being used were the Classic Coat by Maker's Atelier and the Traveller Coat by Bella Loves Patterns.



Day One

The first day was spent preparing my pattern pieces, so that any that were cut on the fold were made into full pattern pieces. This was to help with lining up the pieces for cutting since I was using checked fabric. Where I had originally wanted to make the hip length coat, Claire pointed out that the lovely checked fabric was begging to be showcased and so I agreed that the longer length would do it great justice.


The rest of the day was then spent cutting the fabric. This took me some time with the additional consideration for pattern matching, and Claire's input on this was invaluable. I also cut the lining pieces.



That evening in my accommodation I decided to cut the underlining fabric (cotton lawn) and the interfacing and fuse it, so I could start on construction the following day.


Day Two



In the morning I basted the cotton lawn underlining to the fabric pieces, marking points with tailors tacks. I then set up the sewing machine for the first time, to stay stitch the neckline and raglan seams, and construct the pockets and flaps. I decided to hand sew these on and took them home to do that evening, finishing the back raglan seams before I left.



Day Three

This day was spent on more of the construction and involved putting together the main part of the coat and the lining individually. At this stage, everyone's coats were progressing well, and to the point that they could put them on. It was really lovely to see, and I was in full admiration of the others who had done beautiful welt pockets and collars. I was really pleased with my pattern matching on the side seams.



Day Four

The coat was taking shape on the final day, with the lining being attached and the zip inserted. This was really exciting and I tried to get as close to the finish as I could. By the end of the workshop, I only had to do the sleeve and bottom hems and attach the snaps.


Sewing Space


The Sewing Room is light, spacious, and well equipped with Janome sewing machines and all the tools you'd need. Most of us had brought our own sewing kit for ease of use and familiarity, and you are welcome to bring your own machine if you wish.



There was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, with drinks and snacks available. Claire even took our lunch orders each day for a local café and collected them for us towards the end of the morning session.



There were three steam generator irons available which are great since they didn’t require a temperature setting to be changed on different fabrics. As is to be expected, they generate a lot of steam and I had to remember to keep my left hand out of the way to avoid a burn. Since they use steam for the heat and not a hot plate, it can be left face down on the ironing board when rearranging your fabric. I may consider getting one for my new sewing studio once it's ready.



The haberdashery in the room next door is very well stocked for its size with a huge range of items, which can also be bought from her online store.



It was here that I discovered Tulip Hiroshima pins and needles, which I was so impressed by that I wrote a short blog post about them here.



There are also many patterns available, including those for her workshops.



Claire has a range of sewing books available for reference, and some rare remnants for sale e.g. Linton Tweeds.



Location


The Sewing Room is on a lovely high street in the town of Midhurst, right next to a car park which was convenient with all the bits and pieces I had brought with me. It is set in a beautiful part of England, with Cowdray Castle right behind.



Since it was a 2.5 hr drive away for me, I turned it into a sewing retreat by booking a hotel nearby, The Hamilton Arms. It was reasonably priced for the size of room you get, modern, comfortable and finished to a high standard. The rooms are in a separate block behind the car park of the main pub and it is blissfully quiet being in the middle of the countryside, but very convenient just off the A272 which leads straight into Midhurst a 5-10 min drive away.



Milk, juice and yoghurts are supplied in the mini-fridge, as well as tea and coffee-making facilities. A basic continental breakfast was provided in a basket in the room, with croissants, cereals, granola bars and jam.



The pub houses a Thai restaurant, and you can order delivery to your room. I did this one night and was very happy with the meal. The couple who run the pub and accommodation were friendly, and supplied me with an iron and ironing board for my self-imposed interfacing homework. This is the second time I have stayed here



During my last stay, I also ate at the Indian restaurant Lime & Spice. It is across the road from the Sewing Room and I had a lovely meal there. I can't say I'm a connoisseur of Indian food, but I was perfectly happy with my meal and the service.



I have also eaten at the Italian restaurant red.h recommended by Claire further up the high street. It has lovely decor (including a bright red grand piano) and again, I had a very good meal.



Summary


This is the second workshop I have taken with Claire and it's certainly something I would do again. Shortly after I returned, I booked onto her 3 day Kelly Anorak workshop. I definitely feel like I really benefit from sewing a more complex project on such workshops. The additional time I would take to figure things out on my own would make it go on for months, plus it's a great way to 'enforce' sewing time which is easily put towards the bottom of the priorities list. The same goes for the 3 day sewing retreat that I have also booked with Claire for next month at Dartington Hall.



Sewing a coat was a huge achievement for me. I have yet to tackle a welt pocket but it's on my list :) My full review of the coat and pattern will follow shortly.



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Claire Tyler Couture

Claire Tyler workshops

Eden Coat by Tilly and the Buttons PDF pattern

Classic Coat by Maker's Atelier PDF pattern

Traveller Coat by Bella Loves Patterns PDF pattern

Philips PerfectCare Elite steam generator iron


Related blog posts

Tulip Hiroshima pins and needles

Classic Blazer workshop with Claire Tyler review

Heather Blazer review

Sienna Maker Jacket review



]]>
<![CDATA[Ginger Jeans]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/ginger-jeans64cfad41b511c205adf0e31bSat, 16 Sep 2023 13:30:02 GMTMingMakes


Sewing jeans was something that has appealed ever since I started my sewing journey, partly because it's hard to find good fitting ready-to-wear jeans, but also because I perceived them to require a fair amount of skill so would be a great challenge.


I decided to enhance my jeans journey by booking onto 2 workshops and buying a book.


Workshop 1: Draft Your Perfect Jeans at Like Sew Amazing


This weekend workshop was totally worth it as I came away with a well-fitting pattern for jeans, by modifying an already fitted trouser block. You can read more about my experience and the basic fitting process here.



Workshop 2: Making Your Perfect Fit Jeans at Guthrie&Ghani


This was another weekend workshop to help with the actual sewing techniques. We had the choice of 3 patterns - I chose the Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns since they were stretch jeans and I wasn’t sure how to tackle this kind of fabric or adjust the fit accordingly. Although I had a fitted pattern from the first workshop, this was for rigid denim so I thought it would be useful to have a pattern for each. There are more details in my review of the workshop itself here.



Book: Sewing Jeans by Johanna Lundström of The Last Stitch


This has so much useful information and tips, along with interesting insights into how RTW jeans are constructed, explaining different types of denim, how best to care for it, fitting advice and detailed explanation of the construction process with photos. I read this book before making them and it helped me gain some background knowledge first.



Since the workshop was heavily guided, I can imagine referencing this book more so when I sew the next pair of jeans myself.


Fit and length

Fabric

Cutting out

Interfacing

Construction

Zip fly

Topstitching

Buttonhole and button

Rivets

Belt loops

Hem

Summary (photos of all views)

What I love

What I would change

What I discovered



Fit and length

As part of the Guthrie&Ghani workshop package, you get a Zoom call with one of the tutors to help advise on sizing and fitting adjustments, so that you can cut the pattern and fabric before the workshop to make the most of the time there. After the useful discussion with Becca, we decided I should cut a straight size 8 as it matched my waist and hips measurement closely.



She gave some good advice about where to adjust the length as it was likely they’d be too long for me, so I shortened the pattern by 2.5cm at the knees. I decided to make the high waisted stovepipe version. Becca emailed some advice on preparing the pattern and resources from the Closet Core website. They also have a sewalong for this pattern.



After basting the jeans together at the workshop, Becca recommended:


1. Take the side seams in by 0.5cm on front and back leg around the hips

2. Reduce the depth of the yolk at centre back by 2.5 cm.


Here's what I did:


1. Take the side seams in by 0.5cm on front and back leg around the hips

  • Took in 0.5cm at the side seams on front and back leg pieces, ending roughly at the base of the pocket bag.

  • Took the same amount off the side seam of the pocket bag pieces since they also line up with the front and back leg pieces.

  • Took the same amount off the side seam of the back yoke piece.

  • We decided not to adjust the waistband at this point as it seemed to fit well.


2. Reduce the depth of the yolk at centre back by 2.5 cm.


I shortened the centre back on the yolk (the fold line) by 2.5cm from the bottom of the piece, going to nothing at the side seams, trying to keep a smooth curve like the original piece. This created a more rectangular-shaped fabric piece, rather than the classic V-shape. For future versions I would consider adjusting the yoke and back leg pieces to create more of a V-shape on the yoke.



Once I'd sewn up the jeans with only the hem left to do, I shortened them by another 8cm. Having cut off the excess fabric, I then saw the notes from the g&g course that advised holding off hemming until after washing them a few times as they were likely to shrink further in length. It was too late for me by this point, but something to bear in mind on the next version, and I had at least washed the fabric twice before making them.



Fabric

When joining the workshop, G&G give you a 20% discount on fabrics needed and so I bought their washed indigo stretch denim. I washed it twice at 40 degrees and normal tumble dry. Johanna Lundström does mention in her book that tumble drying damages the Lycra / Elastane in stretch denim which will cause it to eventually lose its stretch so I would consider more air drying of my final jeans.



For the pocket linings I used some blue and white striped cotton shirting from Like Sew Amazing, and for the waistband I used a scrap of Japanese metallic cotton leftover from my Clemence Skirt project.



Cutting out

It is recommended to cut jeans in a single layer and cut the paired pieces the other way up to prevent twisting of the legs. The 2 views of the pattern are:


A - High waisted skinny jeans

B - Low waisted with stovepipe legs


Since I wanted the high waisted version with the stovepipe legs, I needed to combine the two views, although they do mention that "The PDF version of this pattern includes bonus pattern pieces for interchangeable leg shapes with both rises." I cut the paper pattern to size 8 and then overlapped the two front pieces and back pieces so the crotch and hips matched, checking the grain lines were parallel. The photo below shows the two front pieces laid on top of each other.



When cutting this out, I noticed that the stovepipe leg was very slightly smaller than the skinny version towards the top of the inseam.



I decided to follow the stovepipe version here, by folding back the skinny leg underneath. The first photo is where I cut around the edge of the skinny piece, the second shows the stovepipe piece then cut.



Interfacing

After reading the post on the Closet Core Patterns website about prepping and cutting the Ginger Jeans, the advice was not to interface the waistband if you wanted it not too stiff. My denim had quite a bit of stretch and after basting it together, I could see that the waistband had a lot of give. Becca's advice was to interface both the waistband and lining, and so I cut these additional pieces in interfacing.



Having basted the jeans together to check the fit, I then unpicked the waistband to fuse the interfacing. At this point I realised the denim waistband had stretched by 1 cm at each end, just from trying them on. I trimmed the pieces back and then interfaced them.



Construction

Since I made these jeans in a workshop, there was more of a time constraint than if I was doing this at home. This meant I didn't capture as much detail of the construction as some of my other reviews. I also didn't have to reference the instructions much at all, as our tutor Becca was on hand to explain every step. This is a huge advantage for me on such workshops. Figuring things out for the first time by myself would likely have taken much longer with lots of research on various sewalongs and videos. Once you've been shown, it would be a little easier next time when reading the instructions.


I wasn't sure if stretch denim needed any special type of seam or thread but I was reassured that it can be sewn up in pretty much the same way as rigid denim, just with a little care not to stretch it while sewing.


Zip fly

For this part, I relied heavily on Becca's instruction as it was my first time sewing this, and I was really pleased with the result.



After sewing around the fly topstitching guide, you are then guided to sew the second line of topstitching inside the first. This would have meant me catching the zip and so I stitched it outside instead.


Topstitching

If you don't enjoy topstitching, jeans is not a project for you! Luckily I do enjoy it, but I admit that I was nervous of doing this under the time constraints of a workshop. This turned out to be a very good thing in fact, teaching me that perfection on topstitching was not necessary, and that it would soon become something I didn't give another thought to. I used Gütermann denim thread 2040 provided at the workshop.



The photo below shows some slightly wonky topstitching that I wasn't entirely happy with and would have unpicked and re-sewn if I was at home. However, I wanted to progress as far as I could within the two days so I left it. As I continued, it ceased to bother me and I was merrily on my way telling myself that nobody would notice, and if they did, well it didn't matter. I made a pair of jeans - how cool is that!!



Don't get me wrong - the next time I sew jeans I will definitely strive for neat, straight parallel lines, but it was great to see that I could sew it pretty fast, let some dodgy bits go, and that I would still be very proud to wear these. I didn't redo any of the topstitching, except on the one occasion I came off the fabric completely.


I also forgot to change to the longer stitch length when topstitching the yoke, so just carried on with the smaller length here (2.5mm vs 3.5mm elsewhere).



The time constraint also meant accepting a little bit of untidiness on the insides. I often like to take extra care with French seams, binding, neat overlocking etc. but again, it was great not to get hung up on this. It was certainly neat enough and serves its purpose of not coming undone in the wash.



Buttonhole and button

I sewed a keyhole buttonhole on the automatic setting. Once home, I added a dab of Prym Fray Check just in case. A very very minor detail but when attaching my button, I forgot to check which way up it was so the design doesn't sit the right way up.



Rivets

At the workshop I was able to use the Prym Revolving Punch and Vario Pliers for the first time to attach the rivets. This was much easier than using a hammer as I did for the eyelets on my Stella Hoodie. It was tricky placing them on the outer side of the front pockets due to the pliers having to go past a larger bulk of denim, so I didn't add any to the back pockets.



This was as far as I'd got in the workshop, with just the belt loops and hem left to do.


Belt loops

The instructions guide you to fold the ends of the belt loops under by 13mm. Since there was a lot of bulk of denim, I couldn't really rely on a sharp press to guide where this was, so marked it with a Prym AquaTrick Marker which just needs a dab of water to remove. I marked the underside at 13mm, so I could line this up with the topstitching on the top of the waistband.



After folding it over and pressing it, I marked the stitching line again to match the topstitching on the waistband.



I marked the right side of the belt loop to press it under at the other end, and then backstitched a few times to secure the bottom end.



Hem

When hemming the jeans, I used a hump jumper to help with the bulky seams.



Since there was a lot of fabric at the side seams once the hem was folded under, the pressed hem had a tendency to come undone while topstitching it in place. This meant that I didn't always catch the second fold.



I handsewed a slip stitch to secure this. You may notice in the photo above that you can see the top stitching thread showing on the underside. I was using my recently acquired vintage Janome sewing machine for the first time and this shows I hadn't got the tension correctly set.


Summary

I absolutely loved this project. Sewing my own pair of well-fitting jeans is incredibly satisfying. I am so glad I joined a workshop for this as I found the idea of sewing jeans a little intimidating. Having now gone through the process, it's not nearly as scary as I thought, taking it one seam at a time.



What I love

  • All that yummy topstitching :)

  • The great fit thanks to the workshop and stretch denim. This fits the best of all my garments so far. Where I would generally tweak the fit slightly on each future iteration, I can't say there's anything I would change about this one.

  • Comfort factor of the stretch denim.

  • The high-rise is not too high and I feel looks in proportion on me.


What I would change

  • As mentioned above I may leave the hemming for later on a future version to ensure it didn't shrink too much after washing a few times. (At the time of writing I haven't washed them so can't comment on the extent of shrinkage just yet).

  • I would consider making the front pockets longer to fit my smartphone.


What I discovered

  • This experience served to reinforce how much I value workshops for the expert guidance. Asking What do I do next? and then being shown is something that makes the whole process so much smoother and streamlined. There are often techniques that the tutors would recommend for a better result, that differ from the instructions as they are designed to make it an easier process for as many people as possible, but it's not always the best way.

  • That I can let go of needing the topstitching to be perfect :)

  • That it is possible to sew a project in a fairly short space of time if you dedicate solid stretches of time to it and don't unpick every seam that didn't go perfectly.

  • Stretching myself on a project does wonders for my learning and love of sewing.




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Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns PDF, Printed

Ginger Jeans Sewalong

Like Sew Amazing

Guthrie&Ghani

Making Your Perfect Fit Jeans workshop

Sewing Jeans book by Johanna Lundström

Prym Revolving Punch

Vario Pliers

Prym AquaTrick Marker

Prym Fray Check

Hump Jumper or Bulky Seam Aid


Related blog posts

Making Your Perfect Fit Jeans workshop review

Draft Your Perfect Jeans workshop review

Stella Hoodie review

Clemence Skirt review

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<![CDATA[Making Your Perfect Fit Jeans workshop at Guthrie&Ghani]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/making-your-perfect-fit-jeans-workshop-at-guthrie-ghani64eb69501041e31ae7210df3Sat, 02 Sep 2023 14:00:14 GMTMingMakes

Young Asian female  standing in a garden wearing a well-fitting pair of Closet Core Ginger Jeans in stretch denim with a high waisted stovepipe fit


I booked this workshop at Guthrie&Ghani shortly after attending the Jeans Drafting workshop at Like Sew Amazing. I had a fitted pattern after this, and so the next logical step was to sew the jeans. This being my first pair of fly front trousers, I was keen to pick up some advice from the G&G workshop, and added to my knowledge with the Sewing Jeans book by Joanna Lundstrom which I thoroughly recommend.


Book title cover of Sewing Jeans by Johanna Lundstrom


Since the drafted pattern I already had was for rigid denim, for this workshop I chose the Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns for stretch denim to learn more about fitting and sewing this. My review of this pattern will soon be posted up on the blog.


Marketing photo of the Closet Core Ginger Jeans of a female wearing skinny jeans with a stovepipe fit


This was my third workshop at Guthrie&Ghani, having attended Learn How To Use An Overlocker, and Developing Your Overlocker Skills. There are a few details about the first workshop here, and there will be another post about the second coming up, where I made the Stasia Dress by Sew Liberated.


Preparation for the workshop

The workshop 

Sewing space 

Location

Summary 


Preparation for the workshop

You get to choose from 3 jeans patterns:

  1. Ginger Jeans from Closet Core Patterns. Skinny or stovepipe fit for stretch denim.

  2. Ames Jeans by Cashmerette. Skinny or straight fit for stretch denim.

  3. Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns. Tapered, straight or wide legged for rigid denim.

As part of the workshop package, you get a Zoom call with the tutor to help advise on sizing and fitting adjustments, so you can cut the pattern and fabric before the workshop to make the most of the time there.


Flat lay of the Ginger Jeans sewing instructions, vintage La Couture notebook with purple pen, cut out indigo stretch denim for Closet Core Ginger Jeans, pocket bag pieces in striped blue and white cotton shirting, and waistband lining in metallic Japanese fabric


After the useful discussion with the tutor Becca, we decided I should cut a straight size 8 as it matched my waist and hips measurement closely. She gave some good advice about where to adjust the length as it was likely they’d be too long for me. I decided to make the high waisted stovepipe version. Becca emailed some advice on preparing the pattern and resources from the Closet Core website. They also have a sewalong for this pattern.


Sewalong and resources on the Closet Core website for the Ginger Jeans


The workshop

The workshop spanned two days over a Saturday and Sunday, from 10am - 4:30pm. It was lovely to meet the other attendees, sewists are generally such a great bunch of people. I do like to challenge myself with sewing projects beyond my skill, and more so on workshops because of the additional help and guidance. This meant I was the least experienced there but I didn't feel awkward.


Day One

After introductions, we started assembling the front and back pockets including topstitching. It was good to get stuck into this straight away as I did have some apprehension about how neat I could make this during the workshop. It soon ceased to worry me because there is so much topstitching to do and no time to unpick and redo.


Contrast topstitching on the Closet Core Ginger Jeans for the front pockets and coin pocket during construction


We then basted the jeans together to assess the fit. Becca spent time with each of us to guide us on what fitting adjustments would be required. We ended the day making the adjustments to our fabric and pattern pieces, and unpicked our basting. Here is a short video of the day.



Day Two

The start of day two was continuing with fitting adjustments, unpicking and then starting to construct the jeans. It seemed like a lot to get done in the time but most of us managed to get quite far. It tended to be those needing more complex fitting adjustments that were slowed down.


Becca demonstrated various techniques as we went along, and did a great job of keeping up with everyone's projects across the 3 different patterns. To help speed us along, she helped with pinning, pressing and changing thread between our matching and topstitching thread while we were away from our machines.


I was pleased to have got to the stage of attaching rivets, since I didn't have any of the required equipment at home. I don't think anyone completely finished by the end of the workshop; I got to the stage of just needing to attach the belt loops and hemming.


Closet up of the finished right front pocket and coin pocket on the Closet Core Ginger Jeans with brass rivets attached at the corners


Sewing space

The sewing room is above the fabric and haberdashery store, and equipped with Janome 6234XL overlockers and Brother sewing machines (I'm not sure of the exact model but it's much more advanced than my own machine). It is a light airy room with a vaulted ceiling and windows at front and back.


There are 3 large cutting tables and three ironing stations. At the back of the room is a small kitchenette for making drinks. We all managed to use the space together without much trouble since we had already cut out our fabric.


The light and airy Guthrie&Ghani sewing studio, with several sewists and tutor Becca working on their jeans projects during the Making Your Perfect Fit Jeans workshop


During the lunch break, it is a great opportunity to shop in the store downstairs. I have ordered fabric from here online but it is always great to see and feel the fabrics in person.


Location


Front of the Guthrie&Ghani store


The studio is located in Moseley, Birmingham, about 1hr 40mins away from where I live in Bristol so I stayed overnight at the Edgbaston Park Hotel. It is a conference hotel within the Birmingham University campus a short 10 min drive from the studio. It is reasonably priced for this location, has a lovely restaurant for breakfast and dinner, and is set in a leafy suburban area which feels safe.



The studio is on a high street with a range of cafes and supermarkets nearby including a Co-op and M&S Foodhall to buy a takeaway lunch. Time doesn’t allow for you to dine in somewhere, and of course you can bring your own lunch.


There is a car park at the back of the high street, but I find it convenient to park for free on the nearby Reddings Road off the high street and only a couple of mins walk away.


Summary

This was my third workshop here which goes to show how much I enjoy them. Becca is a great and patient tutor, helping create a friendly relaxed atmosphere. I can’t deny that a part of the reason I love these workshops is that they feel like a retreat away from home, and that I always come back with a load of gorgeous fabrics :)


Attending these workshops is also an eye opener for me in how little time it can take to make a garment from start to finish. If at home, yes I would have taken more time and care over it but the huge advantage of the workshop is not having to reference the instructions much at all. It is a huge time and stress saver to be able to ask someone how to do the next step, along with their tips of how to avoid any problems.


Another huge advantage is learning to let go of those little imperfections, since there is no time during workshops for much unpicking. It certainly fosters a healthier relationship with the process of sewing which I enjoy enormously, without dwelling on those things that didn't go quite as planned.


I will be keeping an eye out for future workshops here that appeal, for another enjoyable and wholesome experience.


Label from Porcupine Patterns which says "I am not perfect but I am Limited Edition" with another label by Intensely Distracted "year of the rabbit" attached, being handsewn to the back of the Closet Core Ginger Jeans



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.



Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Making Your Perfect Jeans workshop at Guthrie&Ghani

Sewing Jeans book by Joanna Lundstrom

Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns PDF, Printed

Ames Jeans by Cashmerette PDF, Printed

Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns PDF, Printed

Stasia Dress by Sew Liberated

Ginger Jeans sewalong

Edgbaston Park Hotel


Related blog posts

Draft Your Perfect Jeans workshop at Like Sew Amazing

Simple t-shirts

Saguaro Set Trousers / Pants



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<![CDATA[Zadie Jumpsuit]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/zadie-jumpsuit649c32f3adb985a9aa1bdfb4Tue, 01 Aug 2023 12:47:27 GMTMingMakes


I have long lusted after the Zadie Jumpsuit pattern by Paper Theory having seen so many on Instagram in all sorts of fabrics, and every single one looked great. I was in my mid-forties when I purchased my first jumpsuit and was amazed at how comfortable it was and yet still looks stylish. That seemed like a win win situation and I made a note to add more jumpsuits to my wardrobe. In fact, I went on to make another Zadie in velvet with long gathered sleeves.




I therefore attended a jumpsuit fitting workshop at Bristol store Like Sew Amazing to give me a head start, and it was well worth it. You can read my review of the workshop here.



Fit

Fabric 

Construction 

Stay stitching

Pleats

Pockets

Wrap opening

Waist seam

Bias binding

Belt

Seam finishes

Labels

Summary

What I love

Things I'd change next time 


Fit


Attending the workshop cut down my own fitting and fiddling time a huge amount. I was guided by Serefina Taylor (FinaMakes) to make a couple of small adjustments to the pattern before making the toile based on my measurements, and the fit was pretty good. She then pinned out some excess at the back of the shoulder and sleeve, and after making the corresponding paper pattern adjustments, I was pretty much good to go.



I refined the trouser fit a little afterwards which helped raise the low crotch and sized down in the trousers preferring a little less fabric here, as well as shortening the sleeves. You can see my entire fitting process here with photos of my toiles, and further considerations after sewing it having noticed the inseams were twisting forwards.



Fabric

I had some beautiful Japanese fabric from Japan Crafts that my sister had gifted me for my birthday 2.5 years ago, waiting for the right project. It is stunning fabric with metallic gold and I wanted to do it justice. 



I had 3m rather than the 3.2m specified in the pattern but knowing I had shortened the length of the trousers and sleeves, I thought it would fit OK. It was actually a lot tighter to fit all the pieces on than I anticipated and I was considering leaving it at the short sleeved version, but after some jiggling I just about managed it.




Construction

Stay stitching

I'm not a huge fan of stay stitching as I do wonder whether I am distorting the fabric in the process, so instead of stay stitching the neckline, I applied Prym forming tape interfacing, after reading a blog post by Sew Dainty, who had done this on hers. I already had this in my stash but hadn't used it yet and found a useful video by Lauren Guthrie about how to use it.


It is a strip of lightweight interfacing with a chain stitch sewn closer to one edge to prevent it stretching. This particular tape is 12 mm wide and the binding that will be sewn over it will be 10 mm wide. I didn't want the tape to show and so I trimmed off a few millimetres from the edge away from the chain stitch.



I did this for the two front and two back neckline pieces.



Below is the trimmed section against the original tape. After trimming, the chain stitch ended up more in the middle of the strip, but if you're not trimming it the chain stitched edge should sit closer to the raw edge of the fabric.



The pattern instructions guide you to stay stitch after assembling the bodice, but I didn't want to risk any stretching and so I did this right at the start. I had a little bit of bunching around the tight curve of the bodice, but the tape is very lightweight so this wasn't an issue.



Pleats

When sewing up the toile at the fitting workshop, Fina advised sewing the pleats on the trousers, then pinning the bodice to the trousers pinning the bodice pleats to match. I thought this was a great idea to make sure it all lined up. It's not perfect but likely much better than otherwise.



Pockets

I sewed a French seam for the base of the pocket, taking a few more mm in the second pass to ensure it was enclosed since the 1cm seam allowance was a bit tight.



I reinforced the pocket openings with interfacing, knowing they’d be used a lot. I had 3 different types of lightweight interfacing and fused a small strip of each to some scrap fabric to see which I preferred the handle and weight of. I ended up using the Vlieseline H180, a lightweight non-woven fusible interfacing as it changed the feel of the fabric the least.



I cut 4 strips, 2cm shorter than the length of the pocket opening and 1cm wide. I didn't want the interfacing in the seam allowance hence cutting it shorter. I fused them 1cm from the edge of the fabric on the pocket pieces and front pieces, where the opening would be.



Wrap opening

I did a narrow zigzag stitch to reinforce the upper edge of the opening. It wasn't my neatest sewing here, but it will do the trick.



Waist seam

When attaching the bodice to the trousers, I initially pinned the edges of the fabric together at the free ends (where the wrap section is). I then remembered that bias binding will be attached to this edge running smoothly from the bodice to the trousers. It therefore meant that the seam lines on the bodice and trouser need to meet, not the raw edges. I therefore measured the 1cm seam allowance and pinned it here instead. The notches would match up here to help, but it was more important to me that the edge was smooth than the notches match, since they were slightly off for me.



I reinforced the waist seam where the belt hole is with a couple of extra rows of stitching.


Bias binding

I was lucky enough to have been gifted a bias tape maker by a local sewing teacher which really helped with the wrap section, plus it is just a joy to watch it work its magic.



After a couple of dodgy starts at the crotch, I started the sewing a couple of inches further up, finishing both ends at the crotch with hand stitching. It wasn't the neatest round the back but on the front it was a much better result than I had achieved with the machine.



I followed the advice of Fiona Parker of Diary of a Chainstitcher to open up the binding and sew to the wrong side, before folding it over the front to topstitch.



This felt much more controlled and it didn't matter whether I had caught the binding on the reverse. I trimmed the seam allowance before folding it over.



To topstitch the binding an even distance from the edge, I tried the edge stitch foot but the fabric was less secure under the foot so a little harder to control. I switched to the normal foot and the straight stitch plate. I also stuck a bit of washi tape to the foot which really helped me line up the fabric.



The most challenging part of this project was trying to attach it smoothly to the bodice curve close to the belt. Part of this may have been due to the fact that I had attached the belt too high up (see below) so there was additional bulk.


Belt

Once I'd finished attaching the binding, I realised I'd sewn the belt too high. When attaching it, I had matched the pointed raw end to the waist seam and did not take into account that it would be folded back on an angle, which made it about 1cm above the waist seam.



This wouldn't matter so much on the left side of the bodice as it would be hidden under the wrap, but I could see it sat too high on the right piece and so decided to unpick both and redo them. To make sure I positioned the belt correctly this time, I did the topstitching first and then folded the raw edge under the binding before sewing that.


Knowing how tricky this was the first time round, I went really slow by just turning the hand wheel and adjusting after each stitch if needed. Since I only unpicked this small section I sewed the front and back of the binding in one go. There was a small section of binding I didn't catch on the back which I then secured with a fell stitch. I was really pleased how this turned out considering all the trauma this area had been through.



Seam finishes

With this being a special garment, I wanted the insides to look nice and with having to pretty much undress to go to the toilet, I knew I’d be seeing the insides a reasonable amount. I ended up using 3 different types as I encountered a couple of issues as I went along.


Starting with the bodice, I decided to go with Hong Kong binding, having loved the look of this on my Sienna Maker Jacket. I also considered using normal double folded binding, but I liked that the line of stitching didn’t show on the HK binding.


I didn’t really find anything within my stash that I thought would match, so I went with the same fabric using the last bit of scraps I had. This is a photo of the centre back seam.



I did the same on the shoulder, armhole and bodice right side seams.



After doing the side seam, I found it a bit bulky in the underarm area and I was struggling to press it flat so I switched to overlocking on the left side and sleeve seams.



I then used some leftover Liberty lawn on the leg and waist seams. Since these seams would be bound together, it wouldn't look so odd with both floral designs adjacent to each other as opposed to a single seam allowance. I made sure I didn't extend the binding into the seams and hem area to reduce bulk. However, I forgot that this would make for an odd gap where the vertical trouser seams met the waist seam as it would be pressed upwards.



I knew the waist seam could be bulky but with the belt going round it, I didn't think it would be an issue.


I was umming and ahhing about whether to use HK binding on the crotch and got some good advice on The Fold Line Facebook group. I was wondering whether it would create too much bulk, but the crotch is low and loose so I went with it. When it came to meeting the other binding continuing from the neckline, I folded the raw edge of the HK binding underneath at the end.



I had done the HK binding so it pressed to the left on the crotch just as a random decision, but later on realised it was better to press it to the right to encourage the overlap of the wrap in the right direction.


When I came to hemming the trousers, I realised I'd miscalculated where to finish my HK binding down the trouser side seams so it would be within the hem. I knew the hem allowance was 4cm so I doubled this knowing it would be folded up by this amount, so stopped my binding 8cm from the raw edge. I had forgotten that it is turned under 1cm, so I should only have stopped it 7cm short.



Labels

I tried using the 'invisible' method as seen on a Kylie and the Machine Instagram post to attach my label. It was a bit fiddly but worked really well. I used a fine Prym Aqua Trick Marker to highlight the fold lines on the inside to make it easier to see where to sew. I just used fabric glue as seen in the video without the pin.


Labels are from Kylie and the Machine, Intensely Distracted and Inside Voices Labels (purchased from Like Sew Amazing).



Summary


This is a pattern that will definitely get made up again. I have seen many other versions in different fabrics, drapey viscose and velvet, both of which I would love to try with a full length trouser for a more formal look. It is a bit inconvenient going to the toilet, and I need to figure out a way of avoiding the belt dragging on the floor or ending up in the toilet bowl, but these are things I am more than willing to put up with.


What I love

  • The fabric / pattern combo. I was destined to love whatever garment was made from this fabric.

  • I love the design of this pattern and can see multiple versions in my future. It is so comfortable to wear and yet looks stylish and put together.

  • The wrap front looks great without me feeling exposed.

  • The belt is a nice feature that makes fitting around the waist easy with no fiddly zips or buttons.

Things I'd change next time

  • I would check the balance of the trousers to see whether this was causing twisting of the inseams (see my fitting post).

  • I would plan all my seam finishes in advance for a more cohesive look on the inside, binding the hems as well.


Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Bloglovin' or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory

Like Sew Amazing

FinaMakes YouTube channel

Japan Crafts

Sew Dainty's blog post on the Zadie Jumpsuit

Prym forming tape interfacing

Lauren Guthrie's video on using forming tape interfacing

Vlieseline H180 interfacing

Fiona Parker of Diary of a Chainstitcher

Kylie and the Machine labels

Intensely Distracted labels

Inside Voices labels


Related blog posts

Fitting the Zadie Jumpsuit

Zadie Jumpsuit 2 in velvet

Jumpsuit Weekender workshop with Serefina Taylor (FinaMakes)

Sienna Maker Jacket review

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<![CDATA[Draft Your Perfect Jeans workshop at Like Sew Amazing]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/draft-your-perfect-jeans-workshop-at-like-sew-amazing649c1dc698828b44921f7047Sat, 08 Jul 2023 09:32:56 GMTMingMakesMaking a pair of jeans was another one of those stretch goals for me (pardon the pun). I decided to sign up for the Draft Your Perfect Jeans workshop at Bristol fabric and haberdashery store Like Sew Amazing. This is my fourth workshop here with Serefina Taylor (aka FinaMakes) - I now have bodice, sleeve and trouser blocks and a fitted jumpsuit thanks to her. I see well-fitting jeans as the holy grail, and so was very excited to attend. 


Photo of Serefina Taylor of FinaMakes

Jeans seem complicated to sew and I wasn’t sure I was ready for this kind of project, but having challenged myself with the Sienna Maker Jacket I knew I could learn so much. Although this workshop wasn’t for teaching us how to make jeans, I knew this was the starting point so mentally committed to the challenge.


The workshop 

Drafting the jeans

Fitting adjustments

Sewing space 

Location

Summary 

Follow on


The workshop


The workshop was held over a Saturday and Sunday, and having been to several workshops here before, I knew it was going to be a fun and relaxed affair. This workshop was for those who already had a trouser block as this would be adapted to draft the jeans. There were 4 of us, and we started by deciding on our design. I was hoping to get some slim-fitting jeans to finish at the ankle. 


Drafting the jeans

We followed Fina’s instructions to modify the trouser block which mostly meant a slightly tighter fit in general and removing darts. We then drew on the other elements such as the pockets, yoke and fly, and then traced these off to give us the individual pattern pieces.


Having done this and added seam allowances, we proceeded to cut out and sew our toiles in white cotton drill. As someone who has never made trousers with a fly before, I learnt a lot just from the process of sewing the toile. I tried it on, and was amazed at how comfortable they felt due to the fact that they fit well. 



Fitting adjustments 

Fina assessed the fit for each of us in turn, advising adjustments as needed. My waist ended up very high, and it was a little loose around the waist and high hip. In the photos below, the waistband has been folded down inside, and the side seams pinned.



The high waist was relatively easy to adjust as it fit everywhere else. This meant shifting down the top of the front, fly, front pocket and back yoke pieces. I also redrew the waistband pieces to fit the draft further down. I managed to just about do this within the workshop time, and then traced the individual pieces out at home.


Sewing space


The workshop takes place within the store, and it’s lovely to be sewing amongst all that gorgeous fabric. I have always come away having purchased something, plus it's handy to browse for any haberdashery items.



The maximum number of people on these workshops is 5 as the shop comfortably fits 5 tables. Each of us had a sewing box with all the tools we needed, with rulers, dot and cross paper, toile fabric, an iron and sewing machines all available. The kitchen is stocked with tea and coffee, with a table where we could all have our lunch.


Location


The store is located on the ground floor of a unit in an industrial estate in Bedminster, Bristol. On the weekends there is free parking on neighbouring roads, or metered parking on weekdays with the first 30 mins free.



There are nearby places to grab lunch if needed, with the Bristol Loaf cafe which does some takeaway items and an Asda both a 5 min walk away.


Summary


Having an expert help me with fitting is always something I feel is worth the money. I have spent many frustrated weeks fitting garments before when I really just want to get on with sewing the thing. This will hopefully get easier over time as I amass these blocks and learn how to adapt them to existing patterns. Getting a well-fitting jeans pattern within a weekend was a great achievement.


Follow on


I thought it would be good to join a workshop for guidance on sewing the jeans and signed up to the Guthrie & Ghani Perfect Fit Jeans workshop. Since I now had a pattern for rigid denim jeans, I decided to go for stretch jeans for the workshop to pick up more fitting advice for these. I chose the Closet Core Ginger Jeans, and I’ll write more about my experience once I’ve attended.



I bought Johanna Lundström's book Sewing Jeans prior to this. I already have her Coverstitch book and have watched some of her content which I have found very useful. This book teaches you about the various types of denim fabric, how to care for it, a huge amount of advice about constructing jeans, and some great insight into the industry techniques. It was really useful to have this background knowledge before the G&G workshop to help me get the most out of it.





Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.



Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Serefina Taylor / FinaMakes on Instagram, YouTube, website (under construction at time of writing but is worth signing up to her newsletter)

Like Sew Amazing

Like Sew Amazing workshops

Bristol Loaf cafe

Guthrie & Ghani Perfect Fit Jeans workshop

Closet Core Ginger Jeans pattern PDF, printed

Sewing Jeans book by Johanna Lundström

Master the Coverstitch book by Johanna Lundström


Related blog posts

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Jumpsuit Weekender workshop review

Fitting the Zadie Jumpsuit

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<![CDATA[Fitting the Zadie Jumpsuit]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/fitting-the-zadie-jumpsuit6443bdaae91cb450269aa334Fri, 23 Jun 2023 21:06:15 GMTMingMakesFitting patterns is a process that often takes me weeks, and so the point at which I stop is usually when I think it’s good enough, rather than feeling I’ve achieved a really good fit. I therefore immediately signed up to the weekend workshop on offer with Serefina Taylor at Bristol sewing store Like Sew Amazing to fit a jumpsuit.



You can see my review of the pattern itself here, plus a subsequent one I made in velvet with long gathered sleeves, and read a review of my workshop experience here. It was brilliant - I learnt a lot about my own particular fitting issues, and came away with a pattern I could sew up with confidence. I did end up making a couple of adjustments later on, partly for preference of a tighter fit and to change the fit of the trousers.


Sizing

Pattern adjustments prior to making toile

First toile

Back adjustment

Sleeve adjustment

Further fitting

Grading down trouser size

Back rise adjustment

Sleeve length

Inseams twisting forwards


Sizing


My measurements matched size 8 at the bust, 12 at the waist and 10 at the hips. There was a decent amount of ease at the waist so I went with size 10 here to make things a little easier.


Pattern adjustments


With Fina’s guidance, I then made some adjustments to the paper pattern based on our measurements, comparing these to that of the pattern. Seam lines were drawn on the pattern to help with this, since the measurements taken on ourselves would not include these. Our adjustments were largely based on differences in the vertical height of the bodice (nape-to-back waist and to front waist), crotch length and length of the trousers. These identified the following:


1. My nape-to-back waist measurement was 1cm longer than the pattern

2. My nape-to-front waist measurement was 2cm shorter than the pattern

3. My crotch length was 10cm shorter than the pattern

4. My preferred length was 5.5cm shorter than the pattern (I am 5"4' tall)

5. If I wanted the trousers at floor-length, I could add 19cm


The fact that the front and back bodice pieces had a discrepancy (i.e. I was longer in the back and shorter in the front) meant that the balance was off, and so Fina advised moving the shoulder seam rather than using the lengthen/shorten lines.


For each of the above, I did the following adjustments:


1. My nape-to-back waist measurement was 1cm longer than the pattern. I added 1cm to the back shoulder seam. This took care of the additional 1cm needed and moved the shoulder seam forwards to where it should be.


2. My nape-to-front waist measurement was 2cm shorter than the pattern. I removed 1cm from the front shoulder seam. This was to match the moved shoulder seam on the back piece. This still left me with 1cm to remove from the height of the front piece but this was small enough that Fina was happy to go to the toile without further adjustment.


3. My crotch length was 10cm shorter than the pattern. Since the fit of the trousers is like a loose pair of culottes, the additional crotch length shouldn’t be an issue so we left it as is.


4. My preferred length was 5.5cm shorter than the pattern

I drew this line on the pattern rather than shortening it, since I also wanted a floor length version.


5. If I wanted the trousers at floor-length, I could add 19cm Fina pointed out that as well as adding to the trouser length, I would need to widen them at the hem so they would fall over my shoes properly. If I had continued the width from the cropped hem, it might have looked too narrow.


First toile


When sewing the toile, Fina advised sewing the darts on the trousers, then pinning the bodice and darts to match to ensure everything lined up. I was pretty impressed with the fit of the toile, and when looking at it from the front I thought that it didn’t need anything more.



On the back I had some excess around the upper back and down the upper arm. This is an issue I have often had on other garments so it was very helpful to see how Fina would tackle this. She pinned out two options:

  1. Pinning width out of the back piece, no adjustment to the sleeve

  2. Pinning down the back from the shoulder down the back of the sleeve



Although I thought Option 1 initially looked better because of the more fitted back, Fina pointed out that it still left a lot of excess fabric in the back of the sleeve. It also effectively removed the waist pleat and so we agreed with Option 2. She pinned out both sides and we decided to go with this.



Back adjustment

The photo below shows the blue dotted lines of what Fina pinned out, it was essentially a large dart going across the back of the shoulder and arm. This was very interesting to see as I have often struggled with fitting this area, thinking I had too much width in the back or a sloping shoulder. For this garment, I essentially needed a back armhole dart.



The excess pinned out was 5cm. I straightened the pinned lines on the back piece to make the dart, cut along one side and overlapped to remove this amount, smoothing the armhole.



Sleeve adjustment

Fina then guided me to do the sleeve adjustment to match, taking it off the underarm seam. The dart is the blue dotted line below, the equivalent of which I cut off the left side of the pattern piece, going to nothing at the sleeve hem. I then trued the pattern around the entire armhole.



I adjusted the pattern for the pinned hem for both full length and cropped, making sure I added the seam allowance back.


This was definitely one of my more positive fitting experiences. Making a couple of adjustments before making the toile seemed to make quite a difference, and there were minimal adjustments required afterwards. If I could manage only one toile in each project and be more confident of the final garment, I’d be very happy. It has certainly made me think about my ‘usual’ fitting adjustments differently, to make considerations about moving the shoulder seam forwards and whether I need to remove anything from the back armhole and sleeve.


Further fitting


I assessed the toile again before starting to make it, since I was using some very special Japanese fabric gifted by my sister from the Japan Crafts store. I could also see this as a pattern I'd make multiple times, so I wanted to be sure the fit was as good as I could make it.



Grading down trouser size


I decided that I didn't want quite so much fabric for the trousers and so sized down from 10 to 8, grading down to 8 at the waist of the bodice piece so it would match.




Back rise adjustment


I noticed that the trouser side seams were pulling forwards, with my calves touching the back of the trousers. This was causing a slight drag line where my lower leg was pushing the trouser leg back. During the workshop I was working on a full length trouser version falling over my feet so this wasn't noticeable.



When I pulled up the centre back seam just below the waist seam, this made it hang straighter. I basted a horizontal wedge of 4 cm in total to see how this would look. I had tried it at the lengthen/shorten rise line but I didn't think it looked as good so I did it higher up, about 10cm below the waist seam. (I had tried some other adjustments in between but returned to my original toile pattern, and so the fabric is different)



This looked better in that I was no longer getting the drag lines, but looked like it could do with a touch more so I did the pattern adjustment for 5cm. This took 5cm out of the crotch length but it was already very long so I didn't do any further adjustments, checking I could still sit down and bend over with ease. The crotch point seemed quite far forwards on me, so this adjustment helped with this too.


To adjust the pattern piece I cut a horizontal line about 10cm below the waistline either side of the side seam line, leaving a small hinge. (Apologies for the busy-looking pattern piece, I have a washi tape obsession!)



I then overlapped the pieces by 2.5cm at the centre back seam giving a total shortening of 5cm here, but no change in length at the side seam.



I didn't do any adjustment to the pocket, but will check it when sewing it up.


Sleeve length

After assessing sleeve length on my toile, I decided to shorten it by 8cm by drawing a horizontal line across the pattern piece about half way down, perpendicular to the grainline. I then overlapped the piece and smoothed the edges.



Inseams twisting forwards

Once finished, I realised the inseams were twisting slightly forwards. Having looked at The Fitting Book by Gina Renee Dunham, this may be caused by the trouser part of the pattern not being being balanced so I will look at this when making this again. My adjustment to the back crotch may have caused an issue.





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Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Serefina Taylor / FinaMakes on Instagram, YouTube, website (under construction at time of writing but is worth signing up to her newsletter)

Like Sew Amazing

Like Sew Amazing workshops

Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory pattern PDF, Printed

Japan Crafts

The Fitting Book by Gina Renee Dunham


Related blog posts

Zadie Jumpsuit review

Zadie Jumpsuit 2 in velvet

Jumpsuit Weekender workshop with Serefina Taylor (FinaMakes)


]]>
<![CDATA[Heather Blazer]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/heather-blazer64577f0ed01340d7d0b1ef0fMon, 05 Jun 2023 15:46:01 GMTMingMakesI booked the Classic Blazer workshop with Claire Tyler several months in advance, having never sewn anything this complex before. In between, I did end up taking a Sienna Maker Jacket online course with Lynda Maynard which was a great precursor, and certainly helped with my understanding of some of the construction. I knew I would learn even more being able to sew this in the presence of a tutor, since Lynda’s course was online with instructional videos with the sewing being done individually between classes. It's always useful to see someone else's hints, tips and techniques.



You can choose any blazer pattern for the workshop, and I chose the Heather Blazer by the Friday Pattern Company. This post is about the pattern and construction. I have a separate post here about the workshop itself with lots of information about the course, sewing room, facilities and location.



Fit

Fabric

Interfacing

Construction

Pockets

Plastron

Sleeves

Lining

Collar

Hems

Buttonhole

Summary

What I love

Things I'd change



Fit


Having just sewn the Sienna Jacket, I compared the finished garment measurements and found that they matched the XS size of the Heather Blazer most closely, even though my own body measurements put me at size M. This is due to the design being an oversized blazer, but I didn't want it too loose-fitting so stuck with the XS. It feels a little more snug with the lining, but I'd wear it with a lighter layer underneath anyway.


I did an upper and lower rounded back adjustment which got rid of the back armhole gaping. I also reduced the sleeve at the back armhole due to excess fabric here during construction. You can read about my fitting process with lots of photos of my toiles in this separate blog post (4 mins).



Fabric


I used two fabrics from a haul while on holiday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, visiting the Jakel Mall. The main fabric was an ivory herringbone linen and the lining a pale blue polka dot cotton. With this being my first jacket lining, I kept it simple by not using a slippery fabric but felt it was smooth enough to do the job. As usual, I washed them both at 40° and tumble dried on a hot setting as this is likely how I would wash the completed jacket. The linen ended up with a slightly creased look but this didn’t bother me.



Interfacing


Claire gave me three types of interfacing to use.

  1. A lightweight fusible (G710) for the pieces listed under Woven Interfacing: front, under collar and back interfacing.

  2. An ultra lightweight fusible for (G785) for the pieces listed under Knit Interfacing: front facing and upper collar.

  3. A heavyweight canvas interfacing for the plastron piece that was drafted during the workshop. (More details below about the plastron)

She put a pack together with all the interfacing and tapes she recommended for the whole project which was very useful and took a lot of the guesswork out.



Construction


Having done the cutting out and most of the construction at a workshop, I didn't take quite as much time over this as I might have done at home, wanting to progress as far as I could to learn from Claire. This means I wasn't as particular as I might have been, with some of the pieces not quite matching up, and the pockets being a little asymmetric. However, it is more than wearable and it proved how much could be achieved in a relatively short space of time.



Pockets


Having followed Lynda Maynard's technique for lined pockets on the Sienna Jacket, I did the same on this blazer. Claire suggested handstitching them on instead of topstitching for a different look, and to conceal the stitching. I was keen to try this for something different, and also remembering that the pockets on my Sienna had a tendency to shift slightly when machine topstitching even after basting. The process of handstitching was really enjoyable, and I loved the sense of control it gave.


I have a short separate post (2 mins) on the lined pockets.



Plastron


This was a new word to me until I went to this workshop. Claire showed us how to draft a pattern for this piece, used to help create some structure over the shoulder and top of the chest.


We used canvas interfacing and attached it inside the front of the jacket with a larger piece of lightweight interfacing over the top to secure it. It extends under the shoulder seam (shown below stitched to the seam allowance), to give structure to the upper chest and help guard against those heavy handbags :)



Sleeves


When pressing the sleeve, Claire showed us how to create more of a curve to help follow the bend at the elbow where the forearm falls slightly more forwards. You essentially steam it into place and secure it with some tape on the seam allowance.



You can see this curve on the finished garment.



Claire recommended using some wadding on the armhole seam to give it a bit of lift. You sew it on like Hong Kong binding around the armhole, except around the underarm, then trim off the excess. This can be seen on the photo of the plastron above.



Initially I liked the look of this, but when fiddling with the fit as explained in my separate post here I decided to remove it. I wondered whether it would look better on a jacket with shoulder pads or a more structured jacket with heavier weight fabric, and so I ended up unpicking this but keeping it in mind for a future project.


Lining


Claire advised putting a pleat into the back of the jacket for wearing ease, adding an additional 4cm here (2cm wide pleat).



Claire’s technique is to line the jacket without bagging it out since she isn’t a fan of that method (neither is Lynda Maynard). This meant changing the steps of construction but thankfully she was on hand to show me, plus I have her video series for reference.



As she suggested, I did a few hand stitches to secure the lining to the jacket to stop it from coming away when pulling your arm out of the sleeve. She did this by hand stitching within the seam allowances at the shoulder and underarm. The entire lining was then handstitched in place at the hems with fell stitch.



Collar


When it was time to sew the main fabric to the lining, I ended up with a tuck on the collar notch. I’d done the same with my Sienna Jacket so unpicked this section as I did with that one. I find this area tricky to sew because there are seam allowances in the way and it relies on absolute precision with cutting, marking the dots and sewing.



After unpicking this section, I decided to hand stitch since this gave me more control, and I was less concerned with how strong the seam is here as it is not under tension.



Hems


Claire introduced a new product to me called Perfect Hem tape. It is a double layer of lightweight fusible interfacing with a chainstitch about 1cm from the edge holding the two layers together.



Once the hem is pressed under, you insert this on the underside and fuse into place with the chainstitch closer to the hem edge. The tape is 4cm wide but my sleeve hem was 3.5cm, so I trimmed 0.5cm off the edge away from the chainstitch before pressing it into place. We used the same on the jacket hem.



Buttonhole


Having got this far, I procrastinated for a while before putting the buttonhole in, feeling nervous that I hadn't done one for months. I decided not to use the automatic buttonhole feature and foot because on occasion it has not completed the stitching all the way to the end and this wasn't something I wanted to risk on the final task. I used a zig zag stitch for more control, using this technique in my blog post (3 mins) to ensure a really neat result. In fact I used the handwheel to stitch the final side to ensure it was straight and left enough room to cut the buttonhole.



I used Fray Check on the edges, and stitched on a coconut shell button to finish. I have often found Fray Check to leave a hard and almost scratchy surface but I found this tip on sewing.patternreview.com where someone suggests using a steam iron over it before it dries. I sandwiched it between muslin just in case to protect the iron and board and it worked well to reduce the hardness.



Here are photos of the blazer from all sides. There was a slight breeze causing the hem to flare out a little more than otherwise.



Summary


Following Claire’s course either in person or with her video course is well worth it. She adds in so much more than the pattern instructions which definitely made for a much better result. I love a lined garment, particularly outerwear so this really fit the bill as a simple place to start. I’m unlikely to sew up another any time soon, largely because you only need so many blazers in your wardrobe and I’d want a variety of styles.



What I love

  • This blazer fills a gap in my wardrobe

  • The neutral colour goes with just about anything

  • The slightly crinkled linen means it looks a bit more casual which makes it more wearable with my existing wardrobe.

  • The style goes well with many items - jeans / trousers, dresses / skirts, jumpsuits … I can see this being a much worn garment.


Things I'd change

  • I’m not entirely sure the loose boxy style suits me and I think I’d prefer a more fitted type of blazer. Having said that, I do find myself actually wearing it a lot which I guess is the real test.

  • There’s something about the combination of my fabric and this style that makes it look quite plain. I have mostly been wearing it with the sleeves turned up showing the polka dot lining to create a bit more interest.

  • The plastron probably wasn’t so necessary for my fabric, giving my linen a slightly stiffer appearance which maybe didn't fit in so well with the crumpled casual look. I can see it being suited to a blazer in a more structured fabric.



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Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Claire Tyler workshops

Classic Blazer online workshop

Lynda Maynard classes

Vlieseline G710 lightweight woven interfacing

Vlieseline G785 ultra lightweight woven interfacing

Heavyweight canvas interfacing

Speed tailoring pack

Vlieseline Perfect Hem tape

Prym Fray Check


Related blog posts

Fitting the Heather Blazer

Heather Blazer lined pockets

Sienna Maker Jacket review

How to sew a buttonhole with zigzag stitch



]]>
<![CDATA[Fitting the Heather Blazer]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/fitting-the-heather-blazer641f5d7500eb201194956bbbSat, 27 May 2023 18:44:35 GMTMingMakes

Young Asian female in a white linen Heather Blazer by the Friday Pattern Company, with her right hand in the front patch pocket, worn with grey jeans, white trainers and a Sagebrush Top


I attended The Classic Blazer workshop with Claire Tyler which came days after the Sienna Maker Jacket Course with Lynda Maynard ended and so I had a reference point with this in terms of sizing. I’d seen several reviews where sewers found sizing on the Heather Blazer on the large side and wish they had sized down by one or two sizes.


Cream Heather Blazer on a regular model and a plaid one on a plus sized model


When comparing it with the finished garment measurements on the Sienna, I found that they were very similar to that of the extra small size on the Heather, even though my measurements matched size medium more closely on the size chart. I decided to continue with extra small for my toile as I knew my Sienna Jacket had a good amount of ease already.


Young Asian female wearing a cream Sienna Maker Jacket


This post is all about my fitting process. You can read my review of the pattern here, and the Classic Blazer workshop with Claire Tyler here.



First toile

Observations

Adjustments

Front neckline gaping

Rounded back adjustment

Second toile

Observations

Further adjustments at the workshop

Adjustments made during construction

First toile

Here is my first toile made up in size XS without the sleeves.



Observations

The issues I could see were:


1. Gaping front neckline


Close up view of Heather Blazer toile with front neckline gaping


2. Gaping back armholes



3. Vertical drag lines on the back.


4. The back hem flares out


Adjustments

Here’s how I dealt with each issue.


1. Gaping front neckline

Front view of Heather Blazer toile with front neckline gaping pinned out on either side


I pinned out the excess at the front neckline which indicated I needed 2 centimetres removed from each side. Thankfully, I already found a good fix from Alexandra Morgan having had the same issue with my Sienna Maker Jacket and so I knew how to adjust this. I describe the process in my post here.


Before and after of the front neckline gaping on a Sienna Maker Jacket toile


2, 3, 4. Gaping back armholes, drag lines on the back, back hem flares out


I felt that all three issues would be helped by a rounded back adjustment. Referencing the Palmer Pletsch book, they recommend a maximum of 1.5 cm here with any additional adjustment being carried out as a lower rounded back adjustment. I just did the 1.5 cm at the high back initially, pinning in some extra fabric. When slashing across for the high rounded back I did this along the seam line, but then realised this would cut across the shoulder seam. All the back adjustments I have seen have always cut across the arm hole and so I lowered this on the pattern piece.


Close up of the back of the Heather Blazer toile showing upper rounded back adjustment pinned with extra fabric


This improved the back armhole gaping and the drag lines a little.



I felt more room was needed for the back, so I decided to slash across for a lower rounded back adjustment of 1 cm.



Observations

The gaping armholes were reduced further, the back vertical draglines were a little reduced, and the back flared out a touch less. Here are the views against the original toile.



I transferred the back adjustments to the pattern, and modified the front piece to distribute the neckline excess into the surrounding seams. Here are my adjusted front and back pattern pieces.



Second toile

I then made a new toile with the sleeves on, with reduced length to save on fabric.


Observations

This looked better but I felt the rounded back adjustments protruded a little too much on the centre back seam. The sleeves were also tight from the elbow downwards, particularly if bending my arm. This was as far as I managed to get before the workshop and so I took it with me to discuss with Claire Tyler.


Further adjustments at the workshop

Claire recommended the following:

  1. Keep the increased length of the rounded back adjustment but flatten the curve

  2. Grade one size up on the sleeve pieces from the elbow downward

  3. We looked at the length of the blazer and decided to shorten it by 6 cm

She reminded me that all the corresponding lining pieces would also need to be adjusted, as well as the collar pieces as I had reduced the front neckline. It was then that I realised I missed this crucial step on my Sienna Jacket collar which may have contributed to the fit of it which I struggled with.


I took an even tuck out of the collar pieces where the vertical line of washi tape is.


Upper and Under collar pattern pieces for the Heather Blazer showing a tuck folded out to match the reduced neckline


Adjustments made during construction

I proceeded to construct the blazer but didn't manage to sew on the sleeves during the workshop. Once I got to the sleeves, I found they looked odd, with some excess fabric causing loose folds. I took off the wadding around the armhole which seemed to exaggerate it but found there was still an odd fold around the left shoulder in particular.


The back left armhole of the Heather Blazer showing excess fabric


It looked better if I pulled the jacket forward which made sense to me because I often find garments are too wide in the back for me, so I fiddled with the back part of the sleeve cap to reduce the volume of fabric here. I unpicked this section and made the seam allowance wider on the sleeve but kept it the same on the jacket back

Annotated view of the back armhole of the Heather Blazer with an increased seam allowance on the sleeve head to reduce excess fabric

.

This seemed to work and gave a slightly smoother sleeve cap.


After view of the left back armhole of the Heather Blazer after increasing the seam allowance to reduce excess fabric


The right side seemed OK so I left it as is. Here is the finished jacket. There is a slight flare at the front with the wind exaggerating this, and may be due to how I sewed in the lining.




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Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Heather Blazer by The Friday Pattern Company printed pattern, PDF

Claire Tyler Workshops

Alexandra Morgan post on back contour shaping

The Palmer Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting book


Related blog posts

Heather Blazer review

Heather Blazer lined pockets

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Fitting the Sienna Maker Jacket

Sienna Maker Jacket lined pockets

]]>
<![CDATA[Lynda Maynard’s RTW Sienna Maker Jacket class]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/lynda-maynard-s-sienna-maker-jacket-class64578054bfaffbd04027677cMon, 08 May 2023 09:24:02 GMTMingMakes

I had heard some good things about Lynda Maynard’s online courses, in particular through Geri Berman, whose blog and Instagram account I subscribe to. I saw that one of the courses being offered was the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns, which had been on my list of things to sew for some time, waiting for me to gather more experience. It seemed very advanced for me relative to my projects so far but I thought it was a great opportunity to learn. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.


Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns in Merchant & Mills 12oz organic cotton sanded twill in ecru on a mannequin


I initially felt a bit out of my depth, knowing that everyone else was much more experienced than me, but Lynda was great at including every student in the discussions and making sure everyone’s questions were answered. She also responded well in email if I had a query between classes. The general atmosphere of the classes was friendly and supportive, and I never felt like I was holding everyone up, or asking too basic a question.


This post is a review of the class, you can read my review of the jacket pattern itself here.


Collage of photos of Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns in Merchant & Mills 12oz organic cotton sanded twill in ecru on a young Asian female, with details of the belt fastened in D-rings, the Hong Kong binding on the back facing, and topstitching on the collar and back


Course preparation

Course structure

Overview of classes

Summary


Course preparation


It is recommended that you have fitted a toile before the course starts as it is structured around the construction of the jacket and not the fitting. Prior to the course, Lynda sent out an information pack about preparing fabric and notions, and some fitting advice. However, she did cover a full bust adjustment and rounded back adjustments in the first class as several people wanted advice on these. I put together a separate post on how I fit my jacket. The photo below shows the before and after shots of my neckline gaping.


Before and after views of front neckline gaping on a calico toile of the Sienna Maker Jacket


There are three views to the pattern. Views A and B are essentially the same but different lengths. View C is a different design so has slightly different construction. I decided on the longer view A, and Lynda covers the relevant steps for all views.


Line drawings of all three views of the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns


Course structure


The course took place over eight weeks, and since they were held in the US at 10 am PST, I was still able to make the live classes at 6 pm UK time. Each week there was a 1.5 hour live Zoom call with Lynda and our class (around 12 of us), where we would catch up on everyone’s progress and any difficulties or questions they had. Lynda would then introduce the next stages of construction and play a YouTube instructional video she had made. We would usually watch three of these short videos in each class and there was plenty of time for questions.


Inside view of the Sienna Maker Jacket in ecru cotton sanded twill showing a label saying 'Contains Cat Hair', a twill hanging loop, the notched collar and Hong Kong binding in Liberty lawn


The videos are excellent. They were short, clear, concise and full of great hints and tips for getting a professional result. You get lifetime access to these videos and limited time access to the class recording. I have to say that Lynda’s attention to detail is superb, and I really enjoyed the high level of information she was passing on. There was so much more than what is included in the pattern instructions. Since I wasn’t that experienced, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and although all these techniques will be explained somewhere on the internet or in YouTube videos, I wouldn’t know to look up a better technique.


Close up view of the Sienna Maker Jacket in ecru organic cotton sanded twill showing the breast pocket with neat double row of topstitching and the belt opening


Overview of classes


Class 1 went through some basic fitting, interfacing, preparing the pattern with options for seam allowances, cutting and marking the fabric, and various seam finishes (all of which I’d heard of but never sewn). A lot was new to me, but it really pays to hear the advice of someone so experienced.


The Sienna Maker Jacket turned inside out to show the Hong Kong binding on the edge of the back facing and centre back seam


I liked how Lynda encouraged us to consider the construction of the entire project at the start e.g. thinking about moving the hip pockets since they are sewn into the side seam creating a lot of bulk, or planning the seam finishes especially if using flat felled seams so you can make sure you have enough seam allowance. I tend to just follow instructions from start to finish, but I can see the advantage of familiarising yourself with the whole process first so you can make changes before it’s too late.


Close up of the flat felled shoulder seam of the Sienna Maker Jacket in ecru cotton sanded twill


Class 2 was all about patch pockets. Lynda showed us three different types and how to line them. I loved these so much I wrote a separate blog post about them.


Inside view of the lined hip pocket of the Sienna Maker Jacket in Liberty lawn


Class 3 was about the smaller details such as the belt, and some basic tailoring techniques with sew-in interfacing. I ended up using fusible instead due to a lack of time and experience, but knowing I can go back to these videos at any time as I improve is a huge bonus.


Close up of the channel-stitched belt and D-ring of the Sienna Maker Jacket


Class 4 started to focus on the under collar and establishing the roll line. Since this was my first jacket and notched collar, I relied heavily on the videos. The advice here was very useful, and particularly if using sew-in interfacing and pad stitching.


Upper back view of the Sienna Maker Jacket with neat topstitching on the collar and back facing


Class 5 continued with the upper collar and facings, with some good advice on pressing. In fact I decided to buy the Milward Point Presser and Clapper after seeing Lynda use something similar for pressing corners.

Milward point presser and clapper


Class 6 moved onto the sleeves, hem and topstitching. There is a lot of topstitching on this jacket, so her advice on using a walking foot and other tips was helpful. She also shows how to neatly enclose the hem at the front of the jacket so you don't see the bulk of the seams.


Two rows of neat topstitching on the breast pocket of the Sienna Maker JAcket


Class 7 included instructions on how to draft and sew a lining to the jacket. Although I didn't line this jacket, I can see this being a valuable series of videos for projects in the future, another huge benefit of lifetime access.


Class 8 was the final session and student showcase, with a chance to see everyone's finished jackets or to whatever point they had got to.


Young Asian female wearing the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns with one hand in her pocket smiling to the camera


I was running slightly behind on the classes having changed my mind about what fabric to use, but this wasn’t too much of an issue since I could watch the videos at my own pace. Most of the students did not manage to keep up with the progress either but I would recommend trying to keep pace as it makes the next class and videos more relevant. Only a few managed to finish their jackets by the end of the course (not me), but again this wasn’t an issue since you have access to the videos.


Summary


I would absolutely sign up to another of Lynda’s courses in the future. They are well structured, her videos explain things well in bite-sized chunks and the live classes provide an excellent opportunity for questions and discussions. In my case, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so listening to other peoples’ questions was very helpful.


Young Asian female wearing the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns in ecru cotton sanded twill, looking down while doing up the belt


It has also taught me the value of diving in at the deep end with these more advanced courses, where I have little or no experience in the construction involved. It has accelerated my learning enormously, and when I have limited time to dedicate to sewing, this is of huge benefit to me. The entire construction method of a jacket was new to me, and so this course acted as an in depth sewalong, with lots of hints and tips along the way for a precise and professional result.


Young Asian female in the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns turning towards the camera and smiling


I knew that my first jacket wouldn’t be the best, but my aim for this course was to learn how to make a great jacket, and I know this will come with practice. Still, with Lynda’s guidance I was able to pull off a pretty decent first try. I know for certain that if I had tackled it by myself, it would have taken me so much longer and the result would have been more sloppy. Lynda’s attention to detail makes all the difference, and is the reason I would not hesitate to book another course with her.


You can read my review of the jacket and pattern here.



Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my newsletter which is published every month.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Lynda Maynard Designs classes

Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core Patterns printed, PDF

Geri Berman website, Instagram, YouTube

Milward Point Presser and Clapper


Related blog posts

Sienna Maker Jacket review

Fitting the Sienna Maker Jacket

Sienna Maker Jacket lined pockets

]]>
<![CDATA[Sienna Maker Jacket]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/sienna-maker-jacket644d25c574c7e9e6f2fc1947Sun, 30 Apr 2023 16:47:44 GMTMingMakes


This jacket by Closet Core Patterns was on my to-sew list (admittedly with hundreds of other patterns) and I happened to come across a post advertising a course with Lynda Maynard to sew this up. You can read my review of the class itself here.



It was a big leap in complexity compared to anything I’d sewn to date. By this point I had sewn probably less than 20 garments, several of which were part of my journey in learning to sew from Tilly Walnes’ books Love At First Stitch and Stretch! I knew this course and project would be very advanced for me, but I was prepared to be the newbie of the group.



I signed up to the course to push myself and learn quickly. Since I can’t dedicate a lot of time to sewing I want to learn from experienced teachers early on, not on my 5th jacket. I was totally up for the challenge and there were many firsts on this project for me.



Fit

Fabric

Cutting out

Seam allowances

Interfacing

Construction

Pockets

Seam finishes

Belt and loop

Collar

Sleeves

Hem

Topstitching

Things I would change next time

Summary


Fit

My measurements matched size 4 closely but this was too tight so I ended up cutting size 6 and made some adjustments, mostly for the gaping front neckline. I also lengthened the jacket by 4cm.


Since time was a little tight before starting the course, I didn’t make as many adjustments as I normally would. I detailed all my adjustments and toiles in this separate fitting post, including further changes I would make next time, and sleeve and collar adjustments I made during the construction process.



Fabric

I had some upholstery fabric that I was planning to use for this project but as the course unfolded, I thought it might be a bit too thick and I didn’t want to make things more difficult than needed on my first jacket. I ordered the 12oz (410gsm) organic sanded twill in ecru from Merchant & Mills instead.



I don’t have any experience in ordering fabric that is this heavyweight, so it was a relief when it arrived that it seemed just right for my project. I went for a neural cream shade as shopping online can be a bit tricky to gauge colour, and I didn’t have time to get a sample. It has a beautiful soft brushed finish on the right side.


I put it through two cycles of washing at 40 degrees and tumble drying hot, and it survived perfectly well. I pretty much wash all my fabrics like this so it can go in the wash with everything else.



Cutting out


When cutting the fabric out I folded it with the selvedges together and was about to cut into it when I couldn’t ignore what seemed like a slant in the cross grain lines on the wrong side. When I looked closer, I could see the cross grain more clearly and when trying to fold the fabric perpendicular to this, realised it was quite far off. I decided to go with it and cut my pieces at what seemed like a bizarre angle to the selvedge.



Once I’d cut everything out, I had used about 0.5m less than the recommended length needed with some single layer cutting.


Seam allowances


The pattern’s seam allowances are 1.5cm or ⅝” unless specified, so they do vary depending on which seam it is, some being 1cm or ⅜”. Lynda recommends making all seam allowances 1.5cm to make it easier to remember and to handle the fabric. Thankfully she had put together a video describing all the places where this was needed.



Interfacing


By this point I hadn’t used many different types of interfacing, just light or medium fusible. I went onto the Vilene website and picked H140 for this project since it was described as “For the fusing of front parts on coats and longer jackets and small parts susceptible to distortion. Suitable for light- to mediumweight fabrics.”



Lynda is keen on sew-in interfacing and favours silk organza, but it wasn’t something I was familiar with and I didn’t have enough time to research this before starting the course. To reduce bulk, I trimmed the seam allowance off the interfacing, using red Saral transfer paper and a Clover double tracing wheel to mark it.


Photo 1 shows two layers of interfacing with two layers of transfer paper between, ink side towards the interfacing.

Photo 2 shows the interfacing layers lined up, and using the double tracing wheel to mark the seam allowance at 1.5cm.

Photo 3 shows the marks created, ready to cut along this line to remove the seam allowance.


I have put together a separate blog post and video on how to use this paper and tracing wheel here.


Construction


I haven’t always stay stitched before on lighter weight fabrics, thinking I may be stretching the fabric in the process, and just trying to handle the pieces delicately. However I did on this as the stability of this fabric meant minimal distortion during the staystitching, and I knew that I’d be handling this heavier fabric a lot particularly around the neckline when attaching the collar pieces.



Pockets

Lynda showed us 3 types of pockets - unlined, lined and handmade. The handmade one was beautiful and I will keep it in mind for another project, but for now the lined pocket appealed for a relatively simple smooth finish. I have written a separate post about how I the lined pockets here.



Seam finishes


I used flat felled seams on the shoulder having never tried this before, and thinking it would help strengthen it. It worked just fine but I should have allowed a larger seam allowance to make it a bit easier.


I did Hong Kong binding on all the other seams including the armhole, and it made for such a beautiful finish on the inside. I used Liberty cotton lawn left over from my first Sagebrush Top, the same fabric that I used to line the pockets.



Lynda had suggested using double-fold bias binding and sewing it around the armhole in one go. I made some bias binding having been just gifted a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker by a local sewing teacher who no longer uses it. The video below shows how it works.



The machine worked beautifully but I found that the ¼” width I made was too narrow to wrap around the seam on this heavy weight fabric. I could have cut wider strips but instead I did a Hong Kong finish using what I already had, using this technique as I had on my Mimi blouse to get the correct length of binding.



Belt and loop


I love the channel stitching that Lynda recommended, not just for the sturdiness but it looks amazing too.



The belt is awkward if wearing the jacket undone as the free end is long. I have seen others either put it into the pocket or tie it round the back and secure it with the D-rings.



This fills the pocket and can leave the front gaping open a little awkwardly with so I may consider adding two thread loops on the inside having seen this blog post by Irene's Studio. I also really liked her second version with belt loops and a tie belt.


Collar


As mentioned in my fitting post, the collar sat quite a way from the back of my neck on my toile but after using a smaller seam allowance to give more room for my rounded back, I got a pretty decent result on the finished jacket.



Lynda suggests lots of handbasting, and I found this particularly useful when putting the collar together. It gave me much more confidence with the finished result because it was essentially half sewn already. It gave me an opportunity to check the collar looked OK before sewing it, and it’s much easier to handle in the sewing machine than with pins.



With all those thick layers to baste through, I wondered if it was finally time to invest in a thimble. I initially bought a Prym silicone one but couldn’t get used to the plasticky feel of the thimble head. I then tried a Clover leather one and much preferred the tactile feel of this. It helped a great deal when basting the belt/loop to the front of the jacket where there are up to six layers.


Since I’d added a twill hanging loop I decided to anchor the collar here with a few stitches, to attach the undercollar/facing piece to the back of the jacket. I hand stitched a small section around the hanging loop between the two pins in the photo below, stitching in the ditch between the facing and upper collar.



The stitching was visible on the back but wouldn’t be seen under the collar.



I changed the position of the roll line having had issues with the collar sitting away from the neck. I played around with the roll line for the best result and decided to place a few stitches to help hold it in place on the underside of the under collar. If you do this, just remember to do it after the topstitching (ask me how I know!).



Sleeves


I left the sleeve hemming for the end so I could check the length on the finished garment. Once pinned in, I hand-basted the sleeves as I find it tricky manoeuvring it in the machine with all the pins. Having done quite a bit of hand-basting by this point at Lynda’s suggestion, I knew it was time well spent.



It also meant I could check the fit. As mentioned in my fitting post, I was aware my arm fell more forwards than the pattern was drafted for, creating some wrinkles at the front of the upper arm so I rotated the sleeve and this looked a bit better.


Hem


Consistent with the rest of the project, the hem had a Hong Kong finish too which I think looked lovely. The instructions guide you to fold the hem up and sew, but this leaves the bulky seams on show at the bottom of the front edge and back slit.



One of Lynda’s videos showed how to enclose the seams inside, essentially turning it inside out, sewing along the hem line and then turning it back out. However the extra professional detail she added was making sure the seam of the front edge was still sitting just to the inside. It was many little details like this that really made the course worthwhile.



Topstitching


I basted the facing in place to help with the topstitching. Linda suggested doing two rows on the hem, sleeves, and to secure the facing. My two rows of topstitching on the pockets were fairly close together and I thought it might look a bit much to repeat this on all these areas and so I just did a single line of topstitching. I followed Linda’s suggestion of using a walking foot due to all the layers.



For securing the edge of the facing, I wanted it as straight as possible as it would be visible on the front and so I used a rectangular plastic lid on my machine secured with washi tape to act as a seam guide. I picked this tip up from Johanna Lundström of The Last Stitch who uses a Lego block with Blu-Tak.



I used this for the long straight section of the front, then followed the Hong Kong binding edge for the remainder.



There are more details and photos of the topstitched pockets in the separate post here.


Things I would change next time


Having been guided through this project, there wasn't much that didn't go to plan. Things I might change would largely be fitting adjustments (more details in my fitting post):

  1. Correcting the bust point which was too high and too lateral on me.

  2. Checking the horizontal balance lines. There was some raising of the front balance lines and hem. Adding length above the bust may have corrected both this and point 1.

  3. Rotate the sleeves as my lower arm falls more forward than the pattern

  4. Consider sizing down on the sleeve (they felt a little wide)

  5. Reduce collar pieces according to the amount taken out of front gaping neckline

  6. Do a rounded back adjustment

  7. Consider reducing width of the back bodice

  8. Consider shortening the length of the jacket slightly (not sure if the proportions looked right on me so I would experiment with this)



Construction:

  • I may add belt loops and make it a tie belt to avoid the long length when left undone.

  • I’d consider drafting a lining, and particularly so if using the upholstery fabric. Lynda's course includes instructions on how to do this.


Summary


I was finally done and am so proud of the result. I can’t say that I even found it that difficult, but I know for sure that this was because I was completely led through the process by Lynda’s course. When someone shows you how to do it in a certain way for a more precise result, it makes it feel easy to get a professional finish.



I would sew this again and possibly use the upholstery fabric I had initially bought or try wool. I’d also consider the shorter View C for a different style, and particularly since I have Lynda’s guidance for this view as well.





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Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Lynda Maynard Designs courses

Sienna Maker Jacket pattern by Closet Core Patterns PDF, Paper

Love At First Stitch book by Tilly Walnes

Stretch! book by Tilly Walnes

Merchant & Mills

Saral transfer paper

Clover double tracing wheel

Clover leather thimble


Related blog posts

Fitting the Sienna Maker Jacket Sienna Maker Jacket lined pockets

Review of Lynda Maynard's RTW Sienna Maker Jacket class

Using a double tracing wheel

Sagebrush Top

Making a facing/binding exactly the right length for an opening

Mimi Blouse


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<![CDATA[Jumpsuit Weekender workshop with Serefina Taylor (FinaMakes)]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/jumpsuit-weekender-workshop-with-serefina-taylor-finamakes643c5fc21bb61926cc44c537Tue, 18 Apr 2023 21:08:38 GMTMingMakesIt was finally time to join the Zadie Jumpsuit party. It has been on my list for a while since buying my first ever jumpsuit only a couple of years ago, and realising how incredibly comfortable they are. They don’t have a tight restriction on the waist and have the practicality of trousers as well as looking stylish. The only downside is the undressing to go to the toilet, but that is something I am willing to put up with. You can read my review of the Zadie Jumpsuit here.


Marketing photo of the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory in ochre linen

Having watched episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee involving jumpsuits with ‘hungry bums’, I thought it would be sensible to get help with fitting my first one, and so I jumped (pardon the pun) at the chance to attend a jumpsuit fitting workshop with Serefina Taylor (aka FinaMakes) at the lovely Bristol fabric store Like Sew Amazing. I had already attended her bodice and trouser block workshops and so I knew that it would be another fun weekend where I learnt a lot and came away with a valuable pattern that fit, as well as some beautiful fabric :)


Photo of Serefina Taylor of FinaMakes

The workshop

Sewing space

Summary


The workshop


This was a two day workshop over the weekend and we had a choice of the Paper Theory Zadie, Closet Core Blanca or True Bias Rory / Nova / Shelby.


Grid of photos of the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory in ochre linen, The Blanca Flight Suit by Closet Core Patterns in denim, the Shelby jumpsuit in blue floral fabric by True Bias and the Rory Jumpsuit by True Bias in orange fabric

There was a group of 5 of us and we started by measuring each other. This in itself was such a valuable process to come away with these measurements. We then compared these to the pattern pieces and made a few adjustments where there were discrepancies, largely in the vertical dimension of the bodice. It was then time to make our calico toile, and by the end of day one most of us had cut this out and were in the process of sewing it up.


Bristol fabric store Like Sew Amazing with students on the Jumpsuit Weekender workshop with Serefina Taylor / FinaMakes who is fitting one of the students in a calico toile of the Closet Core Blanca Flight suit while the others are sewing their toiles


On day two, we completed sewing our toiles and had the massively helpful experience of having Fina fit the toiles on us and guide us in making the final pattern adjustments.


Back view of Kay Hallows of MingMakes in a calico toile of the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory, with a dart pinned out at the upper shoulder and arm


By the end, we all had patterns that fit us well and were ready to sew up. To me this was the most exciting thing as I have often spent weeks on this process, and never quite getting there in the end. Fina had suggested adjustments I’d not considered before and it was such an eye opener to see the different ways she would pin out excess and adjust the patterns.


Front view of Kay Hallows of MingMakes in a calico toile of the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory


Fina has such a fun personality and it made for a really lovely atmosphere. I also like her attention to detail, and when I was tempted to think that’ll do, she encouraged me to do it with more precision for a better result which I never regretted. She was careful to give each of us all the time and help we wanted. The other students were equally lovely, as was Sarah the owner of Like Sew Amazing who was cheering us on and providing everything we needed.


We all had plenty of time for our projects, most finishing before the end. The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly, and it extended to any shoppers visiting the store wondering what we were doing.


Sewing space


The workshop takes place within the store, and it’s inspiring to be sewing amongst all that beautiful fabric. I have often come away with several purchases on these days! It’s also handy to browse and buy any haberdashery items - my jumpsuit involved a waist tie which I was struggling to turn right side out so I bought the Prym loop turning set which has been on my wishlist for some time and I was amazed at how much easier it made this task.

Prym loop turning set

The maximum number of people on these workshops is 5 as the shop comfortably fits 5 tables. Each of us had a sewing box with all the tools we needed, there were rulers, dot and cross paper, calico, an iron and sewing machines all available. The kitchen is well stocked with tea and coffee, with a table where we could all have our lunch.


The store is located on the ground floor of a unit in an industrial estate in Bedminster, Bristol. On the weekends there is free parking on neighbouring roads, or metered parking on weekdays with the first 30 mins free.


Summary


This was my third workshop here and I’d definitely attend another, particularly those involving fitting. It’s one thing to learn about fitting through books and videos, but quite another to have an expert fit a pattern directly on you. To come away with a fitted toile and pattern after a weekend feels like an amazing achievement.


You can read my post on the actual fitting adjustments made here, and my review of the pattern itself here.





Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.



Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory pattern PDF, Printed

Blanca Flight Suit by Closet Core PDF, Printed

Rory Jumpsuit by True Bias PDF, Printed

Nova Jumpsuit by True Bias PDF, Printed

Shelby Dress and Romper by True Bias PDF, Printed

Great British Sewing Bee

Serefina Taylor / FinaMakes on Instagram, YouTube, website (under construction at time of writing but is worth signing up to her newsletter)

Like Sew Amazing

Like Sew Amazing workshops

Prym Loop Turning Set


Related blog posts

Zadie Jumpsuit review

Classic Blazer workshop with Claire Tyler

Fitting the Sagebrush Top

Fitting the Sienna Maker Jacket


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<![CDATA[Tulip Hiroshima pins and needles]]>https://www.mingmakes.com/post/tulip-hiroshima-pins-and-needles643185a871c9b06b3cad42baSat, 08 Apr 2023 16:08:10 GMTMingMakesI have never got excited about pins or needles before. Well actually, I will admit to getting a little excited about the Entomology pins from Merchant & Mills. They were just those standard things I had in my kit that did the job. It didn't occurred to me that there might be a ‘luxury’ range … until I discovered these Japanese Tulip Hiroshima pins in Claire Tyler’s shop whilst attending her blazer workshop.


A few Tulip Hiroshima Patchwork Pins loose on an oak table, with a clear plastic test tube packaging with cork, and box


They have some beautiful glass head pins with marbled effect, but I got these Patchwork Pins as you get more in a pack. Here they are being used on the sleeve lining of my Heather Blazer by The Friday Pattern Company.


A few Tulip Hiroshima Patchwork Pins being used to pin a sleeve lining on the Heather Blazer by the Friday Pattern Company


At first the pins seemed to have a little friction, but once I wiped the shaft between my finger and thumb it seemed to do the trick. The pins are polished in a certain way that they minimise contact with the fabric and therefore glide really smoothly.



I also got a pack of needles which are polished in the same way, and make hand sewing a real joy. Who knew basting could feel so good?


A few Tulip Hiroshima needles size 7 loose on an oak table, with a clear plastic test tube packaging with cork, and box


They have a vast range of pins and needles that come in the most beautiful packaging like mini test tubes, and the cardboard boxes have a real sense of luxury. For me personally, I like sewing items to feel like a treat, and these definitely do.




Find me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or scroll to the bottom to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.


Links

I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Entomology pins from Merchant & Mills

Tulip Hiroshima pins and needles

Heather Blazer by The Friday Pattern Company printed pattern, PDF


Related blog posts

Heather Blazer lined pockets

Classic Blazer workshop with Claire Tyler

Sienna Maker Jacket lined pockets

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