Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Grainline Augusta Dress for the Hot Weather

I have been procrastinating. The Tai Chi jacket is still on hold, because I can’t face the fiddly job of finishing the Chinese buttons in this heat. And then, there are all the makes I promised myself in my #makenine which still aren’t happening. So what have I been making? A dress. Don’t fall off your chair! Yep, dresses and me aren’t exactly best friends, but with the weather ramping up to 40 degrees, even I have to admit that I actually want to wear a dress!

For Christmas I received a 2 metre length of cotton lawn fabric, in a bold print. On Instagram there are a couple of versions of the Grainline Augusta in really bold floral prints and these were the inspiration for my version (see Below). Naturally, I would have been happy with an Augusta shirt, but with 2 metres to play with I decided to make the dress. My reasoning was that if I didn’t exactly like it as a dress, I could always convert it to a shirt.

Here, I will just mention my one and only bugbear with Grainline Studios patterns. Jen is very very generous with the fabric requirements for her patterns. Looking at my size the Augusta is said to require 2.8 metres. Well, I used only 2 metres and I wasn’t skimping at all. In fact, I actually put the interfacing on one of the wrong lapel pieces and simply cut it again. I still have a little left over, but not much. My guess of needing 2 metres was actually pretty close; 2.8 metres are definitely not needed.

Augusta Dress Back View

The fabric

The fabric is a cotton lawn from Like Sew Amazing. It is quite a crisp fabric and isn’t transparent, so a perfect choice for this pattern.

Grainline Studios Augusta Dress

The construction

Having made this pattern before, it wasn’t a difficult make. I speeded through it nicely. There is also a very comprehensive sew-along on YouTube which is very clear. The lapels look tricky, but being guided through the process they come together beautifully. The instructions for the mitred corner hems are impeccable too. I think I made a better job of these two steps on this version too. (Practice really does indeed make perfect).

Yes, I made a minor error when I ironed the interfacing to the wrong lapel piece, but that was a total user error. I was doing some general ironing, and thought “oh yes, there is an ironing stage I can do on my Augusta” and I couldn’t be bothered to look at the instructions. It happens.

With this version I made the short sleeves with the cuffs. The cuffs are odd. They look fine when completed, but I really thought they were going to look like a hot mess until I got close to finishing them. The way they are folded up hides some seriously weird, “inside on the outside” action. The cuffs work, but somehow I feel uncomfortable knowing that only the fold hides an overlocked edge. I will have to just suppress that thought until the memory of the construction fades. Surely cuffs like this can be made more elegantly? That said the fold does stay firmly in place, unlike other cuffs I’ve made in the past, so perhaps this can be forgiven?

Grainline Studios Augusta Dress

The Outcome

It’s been hot this week and I am so grateful to have this dress to wear. There is plenty of air around me and it looks summery too. But there are no pockets. I know that that will put a lot of people off this pattern. I did toy with the idea of adding in-seam pockets, but I wasn’t sure and left them out. I like the Augusta dress modelled with the Grainline Driftless cardigan, so this would get round the pocket problem, although not in hot weather.


A tour of Vogue sewing pattern envelopes from the 70s

I have quite a collection of 1970s patterns and I must admit a certain fascination with how the fashions and styles of the time are represented on the envelopes. Sadly, I don’t own all the patterns below, so just thank Ebay for the pics.

There are some pattern envelopes that represent the garments in a way that has hardly changed between the 70s and today. Take a look at these two envelopes: disregarding the fashions themselves, the style of the pattern envelope has scarcely changed and even the artwork is similar. I often think of this as evidence that the world of home sewing hasn’t changed too much in forty years.

Modern vs Vintage: The pattern envelope doesn’t seem to have changed much in 40 years.

Then there are the “aspiration” pattern envelopes that feature predominantly in the seventies. We see our fashion hero / heroine in opulent surroundings, descending from an aeroplane (definitely aspirational in the 70s) or standing by a shiny new car. I can think up whole stories around each of these so perhaps the photography is actually doing its job! Take a look at these offerings:

70s Vogue pattern: Galitzine

Here we have our heroine relaxing at her Scottish retreat, dressed up warm just before grabbing her coat for a long, but stylish ramble in the highlands. (That hat won’t stay on long, I fear!)

Here, our heroine sports matching shoes and a chic beret (because she is in Paris). She is just about to hail a taxi to get to a very important meeting. (She has a folder, a key indicator of importance!)

70s Vogue pattern: Balmain

Our heroine is in Rome. There is one of those three-wheel Piaggio vehicles in the background, so it must be Rome. Her expression is somewhat startled; I’m thinking post clandestine lunchtime meeting with lover and wondering whether her skirt hem isn’t tucked into her knickers at the back! Sorry the stories are getting worse!

70s Vogue pattern: Valentino

Of course, I can’t resist also mentioning “Lurking Man”. He appears on pattern envelopes skulking in the background. I haven’t quite worked out what his purpose is. Is he there is give an approving nod to our heroine’s sartorial choices? Or is he another “aspiration” indicator – our heroine is so great she has shock horror …..a man who follows her around attentively, looking brooding and staring into the middle distance!

70s Vogue pattern: Galitzine

Our heroine has just got married at a beautiful medieval castle in Umbria, Italy. Tragically, just after the ceremony her husband dramatically fell is his death from the ramparts, leaving her sad and forlorn and forever without Lurking Man.

70s Vogue Pattern: Fabiani

Just for balance I actually found Lurking Woman: “Ah signore, your beautiful jacket, let me stroke your sleeve, while I stare into the middle distance”

70s Vogue pattern: Valentino

My apologies for the above post, sometimes we just need to entertain ourselves!

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Me-Made-May 2022 Summary and some graphs

It is nearly the end of June and high time that I wrote up my observations from Me-Made-May. . I find the more I invest in recording and analysing the data from this challenge, the more interesting and informative the results. Unfortunately this year I have had some real pressures on my time and well-being and so I haven’t been as organised as I would usually try to be. Never mind! I’m sure there will still be some take homes from the month.

First of all, due to my circumstances I have been quite restricted when it comes to what I could wear this month and it became clear early on that living in trousers with reasonable pockets was best for me, so this will be a very “jeans-heavy” month.

First of all, the spread of wears per pattern company. Unsurprisingly, the largest slices are for Burda (21.4%) and Grainline Studios (17.1%). More than anything this reflects just the quantity of times I use their patterns. I make a lot using Burda’s patterns simply because buying a magazine can work out quite a cheap way of acquiring patterns and I don’t worry if I only make one or two things from each magazine. I have made three Driftless cardigans and as these are firm favourites the repeat wears of these show up as a large slice too.

The last company that makes it into the top three is Scout Patterns . I wore the Navy blue velvet Lulu cardigan so many times this month (10.0%).

I usually make a comparison of the RTW to me-made worn in the month and this year is no exception. The percentage of me-made dropped slightly this year (78.5%) compared to last year (84.9%). I think this was due to my reliance on jeans in the month and had circumstances been different I suspect the figure would have broadly been the same as last year. But, those RTW garments I do wear are well-loved key items in my wardrobe and I cannot stress how important it is to make good use of our wardrobes, whether RTW or me-made.

This all brings me on to a new category I decided to document. I was intrigued to categorise all my garments according to age. This isn’t a problem for the me-mades as these are all documented on the blog or Instagram and I can quickly look up when they were made. For the older items I can only roughly guess their age, because some were bought as far back as the nineties!

I am really pleased with the results shown on this graph because I can see clearly that old and new get equally worn. Yes, I overdosed on wearing my new Lander trousers (made in 2022), but then it made a successful pairing with an RTW shirt from c. 1992 (early university years). This is definitely the outfit of the month:

I have also included some of my older me-mades too; specifically the Bicycle blouse, which dates from 2015, and my first jersey t-shirt from 2015. Looking at the graph I wonder whether the age of the clothing correlates to particularly productive years; I can see there are a lot of items worn from 2017 and 2020. It would be interesting to compare my usage with someone (of the same age) who wears exclusively RTW clothes. Would their clothing age profile be the same?

Number of items for each age grouping. RTW items all bought in 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.

As a final note, I wonder whether this is just an exercise that is useful to me. I know I can thoroughly geek out on data and graphs! So, if you like to do likewise I have a MMM-template that you are welcome to use!


Cashmerette Concord t-shirt: A useful basic

I decided to make this t-shirt after buying the Concord t-shirt pattern with the discount from the Sewing Weekender. I thought this pattern might help me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I would really like to get a great fitting t-shirt, and secondly, this t-shirt pattern had various options with different necklines and sleeve and hem lengths, so once I had perfected the fit I could revisited it time and time again just changing the neckline or the sleeve length. Couldn’t help thinking that Concord should have an “e” at the end of it, and have to check myself each time I write the word and remind myself I’m not writing about the plane!

The fit adjustments

After choosing my size (see this post), I selected the mid-length sleeve, hip length and scoop neckline. I then traced out the pattern and compared it to an existing pattern I have used before. I chose to compare my tracing to a t-shirt that I know fits well across the shoulders. I was rather perturbed by the result. It was obvious that the shoulder was way too narrow. (Looking online I found that this reviewer had also mentioned this.) This wasn’t surprising as this is a standard adjustment I make on patterns. The other thing that struck me as interesting was how “scooped” the armscye is on this pattern. I wondered about why this might be the case. Could it be that because the drafting is for the curvy market? I decided to widen the shoulders and then make the armscye less scooped. Better to leave in more fabric and “nibble away” at the fit if it needs adjustment.

I also needed to grade between sizes: between size 6 and size 12 from the bust to the waist, and from size 12 to size 2 from the waist to the hip. This is quite a big change and essentially makes the t-shirt very straight in shape up and down the body.

Concord t-shirt: Extra was added to the shoulder width

The fabric

I need good basics in my wardrobe, so I chose a very neutral fabric for this t-shirt. But I didn’t go for a plain colour, I chose this Denim-look design in dark grey. It is a cotton-elastane blend. I must admit, I was a little disappointed when it arrived in the post. I had been hoping it would be a marl, yarn-dyed with grey and black. However, it is essentially a print on white jersey. It isn’t what I was expecting. But I wouldn’t call it a bad choice, because it still looks like the sort of thing I was after, something rather plain and grey-ish.

The construction

The Concord’s instructions are nice and simple with very clear illustrations. I particularly liked the tip for basting (tacking) the neckline bands closed before attaching them to the t-shirt. The neckband is probably one of the most even I have ever done and I will keep using this technique, even if it takes a little longer.

My second disappointment with this project came in the form of the sleeve tabs. How I wish I had read the instructions in full before I started! I didn’t notice that these are designed as fake sleeve tabs and that they are not functional. You sew through all the layers and fix the buttons and the sleeve tabs in place permanently. If I had known this I would have made mine functional by adding a button-hole to the sleeve tab. However, I didn’t want to make a bad job of this and felt that the fabric, being light-weight, needed some interfacing in it for the button-holes. I thought it best to leave well alone and not try to take the sleeve tabs off, potentially ruining the sleeves, or indeed make nasty button-holes.

This also lead to a mistake, which was to add the mid-length cuffs to the t-shirt, rather than simply hem the sleeves as directed when making the version with the sleeve tabs. Actually, as this turned out fine, misreading the instructions and adding the cuffs wasn’t really a problem. I think though this is exactly how the t-shirt should be made if those sleeve tabs were functional.

Cashmerette Concord Tee: Useful basic

The outcome

Let’s look at the fit:

  1. The shoulder width appears to be fine, but this was only after my adjustment.
  2. I probably was too cautious about the armscyes and should have left them scooped. There is a little bagginess at the front shoulder and something to correct in the next version.
  3. The extra I added to the armscye on the back shoulder is probably just about fine.
  4. The bust fit is great. I don’t have any excess fabric or overly stretched fabric.
  5. The fit around the waist is generous, but I had to grade between several sizes (between size 6 and size 12 from the bust to the waist, and from size 12 to size 2 from the waist to the hip). I also don’t think the waist and bust necessarily hit at quite the right height in this pattern for my body, which might explain why this was off.
  6. The scoop neck surprisingly is spot on for me. Usually scoops are way too low for my body, so I was surprise that I used the pattern without altering this.
  7. The arms aren’t too tight or loose. I have skinny arms so others might find these a problem area.

I do like the way the sleeves look with sleeve tabs. Alas, this would be even better if the sleeve tabs were functional.

Cashmerette Concord Tee: A little too roomy?

As far as comfort is concerned I have worn my t-shirt all day and hardly noticed I was wearing it, so it definitely passes the comfort test. I do think I made it a little too large, but I will re-evaluate this later in the year. I may decide this is a better t-shirt for the colder months if it works better with a layer underneath.

Overall, I would say this is a great t-shirt pattern with a good range of options for the neckline, sleeve length and hem length. I’m not convinced that I managed to make a t-shirt that was the perfect fit, but it is closer than some of my t-shirts. Perhaps I need to go right back to the beginning and actually made a block for knits from scratch, just like I did for woven bodices.

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Improved t-shirt fit: some initial thoughts

Lately I have been trying to improve the fit of my clothes. Nothing major, it isn’t as if I have massive fit problems with my clothes, but I’m just getting ultra fussy and I’m intrigued to see if starting from scratch will yield improvements.

The first fit improvements I made were to sleeveless tops. I did suffer from gaping armhole problems here. I drafted a custom bodice and when I made a new top, used the improvement armhole and dart size and positioning to get a much better fitting top.

More recently, I have wanted to tackle the fit of my t-shirts. I have used various patterns and some fit better than others. During the sewing weekender I tuned in to Jenny from Cashmerette and was interested in her thoughts on fit. I must admit I have never used a Cashmerette pattern and have generally thought of it as a pattern company aimed at the curvy market. My body is the opposite, being very straight, with hardly any difference between bust, waist and hip. But, on discovering that I needed to make essentially a full bust alteration on my custom bodice, I thought that perhaps looking at the sizing Cashmerette offers might be interesting.

To find out what size you are, Cashmerette offers a sizing calculator. So I made the four measurements it calls for; High Bust, Full Bust, Waist and Hip.

The one measurement I had real problems with was the High Bust. After showing Mister Steely my armpit several times, we concluded that ‘measuring tape over the top of your bust and underneath your armpits’ is not a very diagonal measurement for me. Is that significant? I don’t know. I tried and my measurements ranged from 82-84 cm for the High Bust, so I decided to enter both of these into the calculator.

The two resulting calculations are below:

Those calculations are using the cup size though that I used to buy in the shops. However, when I measured my cup size for the Simplicity 8229 bra I calculated that I was a C cup. However, this uses a Chest measurement (under the bust), rather than the High Bust measurement. So, I tried this out on the calculator and got these results:

At least it wasn’t too inconsistent, despite my difficulties with pinning down one of the measurements:

Size 4 C/ D for the bust

Size 12 for the waist

Size 2 at the hip

There will be quite a bit of grading between sizes as I expected, and I won’t be doing that small bust adjustment.

Luckily, the Sewing Weekender armed me with a discount for Cashmerette patterns. The Concord t-shirt (I keep thinking it should be spelled with the extra e, like the Concorde plane) was just what I was looking for – a good basic t-shirt with several variations in length, sleeve-length and neckline.

I have chosen some not terribly exciting jersey for this pattern, but I fully intend to make some boring workhorse t-shirts.


Tai Chi Uniform: It’s all coming together

In my last post about my jacket I was uncertain about large parts of the project and it”felt” like I was a long way from the finish line. Now I “feel” I’m not far off finishing the Tai Chi jacket, even though there is still quite some work to do.

The Frog Fastenings

After some investigation I found this video on YouTube. When I watched this video for the first time I was struck by the skill of the person making the knot buttons; I really felt that I was watching a master craftsperson at work here! However, watching someone so competent can also feel intimidating. Would I really be able to emulate their skill?

At first, I tried to use the jacket fabric to make the Chinese buttons. The original jacket that I am copying uses the same fabric for the frog fastenings as the jacket. However my fabric is more substantial and I couldn’t turn the fabric to make a long rouleau loop. I then purchased some bias binding. I was somewhat sceptical about the shiny nature of the bias binding, but at least I could turn the fabric to make the loops successfully.

Chinese buttons using bias binding

I followed the instructions on the video and produced two beautiful, but not identical buttons. I’m quite pleased with the result. I did also buy some silver bias binding, and wondered whether to make contrast buttons instead. Either way, the two buttons I have made are a proof of concept, and I will need to make six in total.

Silver and blue bias binding

Front and sleeve facings

The original jacket uses a contrasting white fabric for the front and sleeve facings. The sleeves are constructed with facings so you can turn up the sleeves when you wear it and reveal the contrast facings. I bought some white cotton lawn for these facings on my copy. I drafted my own facing pieces. The front facing was somewhat different from the original jacket as I wanted the facing to extend to the shoulder seam so it could be secured tidily.

Adding the front and sleeve facings

I haven’t really been keeping track of the steps I have been doing as I go along. It has all become a lot more haphazard. The reason for this is I just wanted to plough on with trying lots of different things. So far I have done the bottom hem and side slits on the front left side only, half-finished the sleeve facings and half-added the collar. At least this way I have practiced the techniques and just need to duplicate them on the right side of the jacket.

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An examination of rise (also known as where is my waist?)

I’m periodically bemused by all those Sunday Supplement views on fashion. I’m showing my age here, because I don’t think that many people actually buy printed copies of newspapers. However, I couldn’t think of another generic term to describe those articles where the author tells you about the latest “must have” trend and seems to imply that your life isn’t work living unless you have this blazer or that midi skirt. So, one of these trends that is commonly spoken about is for high-waisted trousers. In fact, I would say that the high-waisted trouser is something much talked about in the sewing world too. The trouble is I don’t really know what is meant by “high-waisted”. Sounds odd I know, but bear with me as I try to explain.

Where is my waist?

First of all, I suppose let’s define where the waist is, because I’ve found there isn’t just one answer for this.

According to this site (medical) this is how we should measure our waist:

  1. Remove or wear thin clothing around the abdomen and hips.
  2. Hold the tape measure between the top of the hipbone and the bottom of the ribs. 
  3. Breathe out normally.
  4. Bring the tape around the waist. 
  5. Do not hold the tape too tight and ensure the tape measure is straight around the back. 
  6. Record the measurement.

The above instructions sound logical, but how about “between the top of the hipbone and the bottom of the ribs”? Depending on your body there could be quite a bit of difference between the hipbone and the ribs.

This site (scientific) maintains that the waist circumference should be measured 2.5cm above the umbilicus. However, the authors were interested in the measurement that the best explains abdominal fat mass.

When I am taking measurements for sewing though, my primary aim is to make comfortable garments, so what do the sewing websites say? I found Jenny at Cashmerette advice probably the best. She asks you to consider the following question – “where do I want the intended waist on my garment to hit me?” She also provides the following advice for people who are pretty straight and up and down (which best describes my shape) – “You can pick wherever you want, and it becomes more about the proportion of upper: lower body in a garment that you prefer”. This explains a lot about my ambivalence when it comes to rise.

What is rise?

Rise is the distance from the middle of the crotch seam (right between your legs) to the top of the waistband. According to my online research, rise can vary from 7 inches to 12 inches (both these websites mention this range – I find it odd that the range is quoted as the same for men and women).

I found this handy picture on this website, describing the fit of jeans:

Diagram showing the fit of jeans

How to choose the rise I prefer for my trousers?

I have just been measuring the rise of the jeans I am currently wearing. It is 6 inches. The measurement is so low it fits below the range I quoted above. These jeans are very old and were bought in the noughties when rise so low you can see most of the person’s bottom was the prevailing trend. But on me they sit exactly at the top of my hip bone and across my belly button. What I can conclude from this is that my anatomy is quite different from the average in this respect and I have a very short body.

Using this website as a guide, low-rise is described as 3 inches below the navel (even lower than the diagram above), mid-rise is described as 9 – 11 inches , and high-rise as over 10 inches. This means that for my body wearing a low-rise pair of trousers at two to three inches below the navel would be very indecent on me! Given that my preferred rise is about 6 – 7 inches, this means that all those trendy high-waisted trousers with rises of over 10 inches wouldn’t be high-waisted at all, but would come up over my ribs and be competing with the bottom of my bra! Or most likely they just wouldn’t stay at this height and just ride down the whole time.

Below I’ve inserted a picture of me wearing my Palisade shorts. These shorts are a toile and the rise is really too high. It isn’t that evident from the picture, but the shorts tend to slide down resulting in a drop crotch look, which isn’t the look I’m after.

Shorts – t-shirt tucked in

I have learned that rise is a measurement unique to the individual and where they wish to wear the waist of their trousers. It seems rather neglected by the pattern companies though. Why don’t we get jeans patterns, for example with different rises, just like there are many pattern companies now doing different cup sizes? I had a look at a few jeans patterns and quite a few describe the pattern according to rise. Of course, that rise will look quite different on different people:

Ginger jeans (Closet Core Patterns) are described as low-rise

Jamie Jeans (Named Clothing) are described as regular-rise

Birkin flares (Paper Dahl), Ames jeans (Cashmerette)and Dawn jeans (Megan Nielsen) are all described as high-rise

Admittedly it isn’t a particularly difficult adjustment to make, provided that the pattern has lengthen/ shorten lines. For me, it is one of the most common changes I make to trouser patterns. It is also worth bearing in mind that you may need a different size of zip if you alter the rise by a substantial amount. (This is one of the reasons why I buy haberdashery as I go along and not at the beginning of a project, tempting as it may be to have everything to hand at the start). The explanation for short rise given here makes me wonder about how this rise is drafted trousers in menswear. Short rise is not the same as low rise. Sadly, I couldn’t find more information on this. I wonder whether there should in fact by two lengthen / shorten lines on trouser sewing patterns; one above the zip and one below?

So, am I any the wiser about what high-waisted trousers are? Yes, I suppose I am. But at the same time, I realise that I am never going to wear them “off-the-shelf”, either from a shop or directly as drafted by the pattern company. They simply wouldn’t fit or be comfortable. I think I’ll continue to do those rise adjustments.


Tai Chi Uniform: Cutting out and first sewing steps

After the Lander trousers interlude I am now back with my Tai Chi uniform. I deliberated for a long time before I bought the fabric as I wasn’t exactly sure how much I needed and the Mind the MAKER cotton twill isn’t exactly a cheap fabric at £22.99 / metre (ouch!). In the end I bought 1.7 m and prayed that my skills at tessellation would suffice. I know this quantity will be enough for the two front and back pieces and I just hope that I’ll manage to get the pockets, facings and collar out of this as well.

The cutting out was therefore a little stressful. I was worried that I would accidentally cut out two left fronts, or some such error, and therefore use up all my fabric. The right side and reverse side of the fabric are very similar, but not identical. There is a slight sheen to the right side so I suspect that if I had got this wrong it would have been truly visible in the finished jacket. To make sure I didn’t mess up, I went really slowly, checked and checked again, and labelled all the pieces as I went along. (You can see my label pinned on to the jacket front on the picture below). Labelling was very useful as it meant I didn’t “forget” that I had already cut a certain piece.

I was incredibly relieved when I had all four pieces cut out. I then cut out the pockets. There are four of these. They are all patch pockets, but the bottom two are larger and are slanted at the top.

My next dilemma is that I have no instructions for the construction. Well, obviously, as it is self-drafted, so I had to have a good think about what to do first.

My first steps have been as follows:

  1. Join two back sections together at centre-back seam, press, finish seams.
  2. Construct front patch pockets
  3. Attach pockets to front of jacket

And that is where I am at the moment…..I think my next step will be to add the facing, but I may have an obstacle here. I haven’t cut the facings out yet, as I think I am going to struggle with the amount of fabric I have left. Admittedly, on the original jacket, the facings are cut from a different fabric, so I could do this, but of course, that will probably need a trip to a fabric shop, unless I can find something suitably neutral in my oddments stash.

Tai Chi Jacket: Starting to add the front pockets to the jacket

In the meantime, I could take a look at the frog fastenings, which I think I’ll probably save for my next instalment.


Red True Bias Lander Trousers: Finally!

I think the Lander Pants, as they are called, came out in 2017, or thereabouts. I have probably had the pattern since then, but this is actually the first time I have sewn them. So what has held me back? After all, they do have that seventies vibe that I really go for. I suppose the first thing is that I had a vintage 70s pattern with a button fly already and I had already perfected the fit on that. I have made two iterations of that pattern, and I love them both; here are the blue jeans and here the brown corduroy trousers. Then I suppose, I noticed that the waistband isn’t graded so I knew I would have to swap that out. All in all, it was just laziness that prevented me for getting on and making some Lander trousers. I have seen so many fantastic examples online, I eventually convinced myself that I really must be missing out and set about making my own.

The fabric

I purchased the fabric from Like Sew Amazing with some vouchers I got as a Christmas present. The fabric is a slightly rust-like red in a stretch cotton twill. The Landers don’t necessarily need a stretch woven, but the stretchiness of this fabric will work out fine with this pattern.

The construction

As with all trousers patterns especially one with pockets and top-stitching it is all a lengthly process. I used some remaining fabric from my The Serpent-inspired top for the pocket lining. In fact, I think that the top will team up well with these trousers.

I made a small change to the pattern. I took out some of the rise (roughly 2 cms of both the back and the front. This meant that I changed the gap between the buttons on the fly front otherwise they would have been spaced unevenly.

I deliberated for a long time about the buttons. I knew I wouldn’t find anything that would match colour-wise, so I chose these contrasting buttons.

Lander Trousers: the button fly

I swapped out the Lander waistband for the curved waistband from the Grainline Moss Skirt. This pattern piece has been used so many times and not always for Moss skirt making purposes, and is looking really tatty. I must remember to re-trace it!

I followed the sew along on the True Bias website for a couple of things just to make sure I got them right. This included the pocket construction and the fly construction. I suppose I have made quite a few trousers now, so this was just to reassure myself, but they are worth following as they have more detail that the instructions provided.

I have to admit that I didn’t go full top-stitching and jeans look on these. I just fancied making these more trouser-looking than jeans-looking in the end. Does this mean my love affair with top-stitching is over? Certainly not! I’m sure my next trousers / jeans will include loads of top-stitching. I think I just wanted a plainer look this time.

Red Lander Trousers: Worn with Grainline Driftless cardigan and blouse made with vintage pattern Simplicity 8924 

The Outcome

I have a feeling these trousers will be a bit of a workhorse in my wardrobe. Sure they are red, which isn’t a common colour in my wardrobe, but I can already see that they gel well with my numerous blue makes and I’m looking forward in Me-Made-May to trying these out with loads of combinations. I can attest after a day of wear that they are also very comfortable. I’m sure to make more of these; it looks like I’ve discovered finally this real indie sewing pattern classic.

Red Lander Trousers: Wearing sandals for the first time this year!


Drape drape 2 no 4 t-shirt in blue

My previous Drape drape burgundy top, or to give it its full name The No4 One-piece Scoop Neck Asymmetrical Top has been a firm summer favourite of mine. I have long harboured plans to create another one in bamboo jersey, but in another colour. As soon as I spotted a range of cotton-bamboo blends in Like Sew Amazing I knew I had the combination of my dreams. I picked the petrol colour which is unfortunately now out of stock but the plum and rust are still available. The fabric is perfect for this design which requires a light-weight jersey with plenty of drape.

The Drape drape 2 No 4 top amongst the daffodils

I had already traced the L/XL size and made the same size again. Sadly, the sizing is rather limited . The L/XL roughly translates as a size 10 /12 women’s size in the UK, so this pattern is far from size inclusive. Not only that, because of its weird shape and design, it would be quite a challenge to size it up.

Asymmetrical top from Drape drape 2 book by Hisako Sato

The construction is incredibly simple and I ran this up really quickly. I did try out a new product though. In Like Sew Amazing they are selling Guttermans Maraflex thread. It looks just like normal thread, but is in fact slightly elastic, in a firm kind of way. Given my perennial problems with hemming using my old Singer, which seems to pull thread ridiculously tight, no matter what settings are selected, I was willing to give it a go. It has definitely given my hems a bit more give although given the loose fit of this top, it isn’t necessarily a critical factor for this make. I’ll try this thread out on more jersey makes and report back.