I don’t sew for other people very often but when I do, it seems to take me months to start it, months to photograph it and then more months to write about it!
I promised Hayden I would make him a shirt for Christmas… in 2015. I knooooow I know
– bad girlfriend. Having chosen the Negroni shirt from Colette Patterns to make for him, I ordered it in time for him to open it on Christmas day but I wanted him to chose what fabric he wanted it made from. It then took me until May 2016 to actually make a start… And then several months after that to take some photos of him actually wearing it. Like I said at the start of the month – I am still catching up! I’m writing this post from memory as I made it so long ago so a few details are a bit hazy!
Hayden is a fan of linen type fabrics so I ordered a few swatches and settled on this medium to heavy weight linen from Ada and Ina. They appear to predominantly sell furnishing fabrics but they do have linens suitable for clothing which you can find with their really good filtering tool on their site.
They provide a swatch service so we were able to compare colours and Hayden picked a light French grey colour. I prewashed as normal and there was a little bit of shrinkage but generally it didn’t fray too badly and sewed up nicely. We picked up buttons from Sew Creative in Cambridge – blue buttons were specifically requested but surprisingly difficult to find online and in our hometown!
The main issue I had was the pattern itself. Colette Patterns’ website states this is a ‘classic, slightly retro shirt’ but if I’m completely honest this doesn’t represent any vintage shirt I’ve seen before. The collar detail is quite true to period but the button loop? Just weird. I left it out as I knew Hayden wouldn’t like it either The instructions were nice and clear but I just did not enjoy putting it together. The whole thing felt like an unnecessary effort. I’ve read a few reviews from others who have made this up who expressed a similar feeling. I do wonder if the fabric choice had anything to do with it though; the linen was quite weighty but if I am completely honest, I’m in no rush to make another one up. With regards to the fit, it’s a little boxy but not overwhelmingly so and I made the sleeves up as drafted and at first fitting they were the perfect length but made up properly were about half an inch too short. I was so pleased with how the sleeve plackets turned out though, these are sometimes a bit fiddly but to their credit Colette’s instructions are clear and detailed so they were easy to follow. However there is a lot excess fabric around the arms, which is something I had noticed in other versions and I think this is just down to bad drafting. The sleeves are inserted flat and have very little shaping in comparison to a normal sleeve head so I think this is where the excess comes from. Hayden is tall and slim but with quite broad shoulders and the fit across the back is quite nice with the classic pleat detail but I think a more fitted shape would be a better fit for him. However he has worn it to work a few times and apparently been given lots of compliments, so that’s nice to know! Unfortunately it seems to have shrunk a little bit more after washing so I would recommend a cool wash cycle if anyone does order from Ada and Ina, but Hayden has also bulked up a little bit too. I have a different pattern for the next shirt I make him – I’ve got Burda 7045 as recommended by Jamie from the Great British Sewing Bee and Male Devon Sewing and a request for a navy blue shirt with pale pink buttons. Maybe I won’t take so long to sew up this one though!
Sometimes the simplest gifts can be the loveliest things to make for someone you care about. Last Christmas (yes I am quite behind on posts… don’t judge lol), probably for the first time, I did actually make a few gifts. I didn’t want to make for making’s sake, so I tried to find practical items that I could make with care and hope they would be appreciated.
My sister is moving abroad in a few months and will be going on a very long flight to get there, so I wanted to make her something to make the travelling a little bit more bearable. I settled on a simple eye-mask as theyre cute but practical. I hunted around for a pattern and found the Fifi eye-mask from Tilly and the Buttons. This free downloadable is designed to accompany the Fifi cami pyjama pattern which is completely adorable.
This pattern is a great scrap buster – you only need 15cm of fashion and lining fabrics and enough to make the elasticated band, but you could also adapt it to use ribbon instead. Many years ago my sister gave me a beautiful vintage silk qipao to cut up into different projects, so I wanted to use a little scrap of that to make the mask for her. I went to John Lewis and found some matching turquoise silk for the lining, because beautiful cool silk will be lovely on a hot cramped plane! The silk is a little brighter in colour than the pictures show – I must have taken these late at night! You can see how good a colour match the silk from John Lewis was though, I was surprised to find any good silk in my local store at all!
I made no adjustments to the pattern and followed the instructions as written as they were so clear and easy to follow. I had heard from other sewists and bloggers that Tilly’s instructions are brilliantly clear, but I have yet to make up one of her patterns, so I was pleased to find the hype was true. The tip for turning through the strap after sewing – so simple! This was a really quick make but it has come out so nicely. My sister seemed pleased to receive it too which is definitely the main thing – as long as it brings her a little comfort on her long journey I’m happy!
How can it be February already?! I feel like I hardly got started with January and now it’s over! I certainly haven’t been as prolific with my makes as I would like to have been, but I’ve had a busy month, so a slightly more chilled out February with just a few makes ticked off the list will be nice.
Make 3 versions of New Look 6483. This is one of my #2017makenine picks! I know 3 versions of the same pattern in one month seems excessive but there are a few different neckline and sleeve options so it’s hopefully going to be a good wardrobe builder. I have a few simple shell tops like this that really don’t fit any more so I’m keeping my fingers crossed what this will be a quick pattern! Need to raid my stash for fabrics though.
Catch up on 4 more makes from 2016. I lost a bit of mojo this month so didn’t get as caught up as I’d have liked to, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! I’ve got lots of posts to write (if you don’t include the drafts on WordPress!). Don’t worry, you won’t get bombarded – I’ll schedule a few for March too!
Sew a button back onto my Vogue peacoat. I wear handbags that go across my body and for some reason every time I wear my burgundy coat at least one button will pop off!
Buy the Datura blouse from Deer and Doe! This pattern is one of my #2017makenine choices but it’s the only one I don’t own yet! I’ve bought some beautiful cotton to make it already.
January in review
I set 4 goals for January, and am happy to say I managed to do 3 and 3 quarters of them! I made my Steeplechase leggings that some of you may have seen on instagram, and these will be on the Cali Fabrics blog soon. I fixed my coat and my pyjamas but I didn’t quite manage to completely organise my fabric stash. I did make a good stab at it and I got through 6 out of 8 boxes so I feel quite pleased! I’ve already found it useful to have it catalogued so I’ll try to finish the last 2 boxes soon. Maybe one day I can do trimmings etc but until my fabric stash has dwindled a little that can wait…