Thursday 24 February 2022

Greta + Nikko = A Happy Couple!

I recently made a couple of garments that I've discovered look pretty good together! I had plans to make the top for months, but the dungarees came about more spontaneously. 


I've had the Nikko top pattern by True Bias for over a year, waiting for the right fabric to appear. I bought it in the the hope that it'll make useful layering garments to help extend the use of my warmer-weather clothes into the autumn and the spring. To be honest, I already have the Freya pattern by Tilly and the Buttons from her Stretch book, which is similar. But whilst I really like the Freya, the Nikko caught my eye because it looks like the sleeve and armhole are drafted to have a closer fit which I thought might make the garment better suited to layering under things.

I made my usual adjustments to the pattern: grading to a larger size for the waist and hips and folding out 2cm of length from the body. Plus I graded to a larger size in the bicep, but I think I could do with even more width in the arms for next time. 

Eventually I found the right fabric, which had, of course, been under my nose (i.e. on the shelf at work) all the time. I bought the rust and white striped cotton/Lycra jersey from Fabric Godmother, and it has the perfect weight, stretch and recovery for this garment. The leftovers became this vest and undies set

The construction was very quick and enjoyable, I can definitely see myself making more of these tops in the future. 


I can't remember if I got hold of the fabric or the pattern first, but the combination has worked out really well. The fabric is/was, in fact, a pair of 100% cotton curtains bought from a charity shop. They have a ribbed texture which gives them the appearance of corduroy, but without the plush pile. 

The pattern I used is the Greta dungarees by Made My Wardrobe. I'm a big fan of their whole aesthetic and I love how this pattern has zero fastenings. It can be worn tied at the front or the back. I obviously chose to make them so they tie at the front, however, I may go back at some point and shorten the straps so they tie at the back instead. 

Despite there being no fastenings, it wasn't a particularly speedy pattern to make, if that is something that you look for in a sewing project! I made things a touch more complicated by adding a patch pocket to the front. Not only do I like that utility look, but I find it useful to pop my phone in when I'm wandering around the house. I applied a Kylie and the Machine label for extra cuteness (see above). 

I'm not entirely sold on the pale cream colour yet. It's rarely I colour I wear, particularly on my lower half. On their very first outing I spilt my coffee right down the front (which was captured on audio, as you can hear in this episode of my podcast!). I think the colour gives them a definite spring/summer feel, plus also painter/decorator vibes! I need to wear them some more to see if I can get used to both those aspects. 

Thursday 10 February 2022

Reclaimed Denim Freddie Dungarees

I've been so inspired by many of the conversations I've had for my podcast Check Your Thread. I guess it was inevitable that inspiration would express itself in my sewing projects! Speaking to Riccardo Guido made me realise that I'm storing (hoarding?) a number of garments that I no longer wear in my wardrobe. I came to accept that I was unlikely to wear my denim Lander pants again because my body shape has changed now that I am firmly in my middle age. And the Cleo pinafore that I made with that leftover precious denim was almost never reached for, and when I did wear it, I didn't feel great. I realised that the lovely broken twill denim could be harvested and turned into something that would see much more use. 


So I unpicked and cut apart both the trousers and pinafore in order to harvest as much of the original denim as possible. I carefully set aside the pockets from both garments, and the straps from the pinafore for a different, future project. As I did this, I had in mind my conversation with Guy / The Light Touch, in particular his concept of 'decommissioning clothes'. I loved hearing about how he assesses old and unworn garments, and figures out what he can salvage and reuse in new projects. 


Frankie had been asking for his own pair of dungarees (and a boilersuit, but that's a whole other thing!) for yonks. I decided to make some for him as part of his Christmas present. I already own the Freddie dungarees pattern by Two Stitches (pictured below), having made the pinafore version for my daughter when she was about the same age. Handily, I was able to reuse some of the pattern pieces that I traced out for that project three years ago for Lola! 

There are things I really like about this pattern, and things I don't. This time round I was able to amend some of those less pleasing elements, like increasing the pattern's scant 6mm seam allowance, and not lining the pockets. For Frankie's dungarees, I also decided to omit the back pockets and the turn-ups with tabs. I added some extra length to the legs to future proof them somewhat. I used no-sew press studs to fasten the straps to the bib, and for the side openings so they'd be easier for him to take off himself. 


What is extra pleasing about this project is that I was able to take the fabric from the Landers and Cleo and keep it in use as a garment. This is what Shelly Sommer was talking about when we discussed keeping materials at their highest possible level of use. I was so into that concept that I've actually recorded another conversation to be released where I asked her to go into that concept further still. 

Although I made these dungarees before I had the pleasure of speaking with Eliu Hernandez, I can now recognise and appreciate the pocket shadow that I had to include at the top of the back legs (see above). The pocket shadow occurred when I removed the pockets from the Lander pants, but because of the size and shape of the pattern pieces, including that darker section when cutting out the Freddie dungarees was inevitable. I really like it now though: it's a nod to their origins!

Although not exactly thrilled with them when he unwrapped them on Christmas morning, Frankie has since embraced his dungarees. He is very happy to put them on if I select them as part of his outfit for the day. And because they took a comparatively long time to make, compared to the usual simple joggers and such that I make him, I want him to wear them A LOT! 

When you're in the mood, making detailed woven garments, particularly on a small scale, is really satisfying. Thankfully, I gave myself just enough time before Christmas to make these so that they didn't become a stressful rush. I'd definitely consider tracing out a larger size and making them again for him in the future, if he asked me to. 

Friday 4 February 2022

Free Pattern Friday: SoZo Undies and SoZo Vest for Adults


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one . I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. I also firmly believe that pattern designers deserve to be properly paid for their work, so if you enjoy using a pattern and can afford to do so, make sure you support that designer. Some designers' websites offer the option to make a donation, alternatively you can buy one of their paid-for products. If you can't afford to do so, you can support the designer by sharing your project via social media to help draw more attention to their work. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

Ok. I'll admit it. I'm cheating a bit this month. I recently used both my free sewing patterns to use up some leftover jersey to make the set pictured above. Therefore I'm posting (again) about my own free undies pattern! I am, at least, also posting about my free vest/camisole/singlet pattern which I haven't mentioned on this blog for YEARS. I've got some exciting, new-to-me, free pattern road tests in the works, but they weren't ready to post about this month, so look out for those. 

As you may know, I gave the free undies pattern a massive update last year. I extended the sizing greatly and it now includes 32" to 50" hip. I added another version so there are two pattern piece and construction options. One is quicker to make so might be more suitable for less experienced and/or time poor sewers. The other requires smaller pieces of fabric so might be better for those trying to bust their scraps and leftovers. Plus, I gave the instructions a major overhaul to include heaps more detail, tips and information, as well as clearer step-by-step photos. You can find the pattern here, with more details in this post. 

The reason why I don't mention the vest/camisole/singlet pattern is because I released it over ten years ago and it really shows! I haven't given it any kind of update since then, it is what it is. It's available in very limited sizing with pretty basic instructions. Since drafting and sharing my vest pattern, I have seen heaps of effectively identical versions spring up to buy, so there doesn't seem like a lot of point spending my very limited time on going over that one. With my undies pattern, I feel that the fit is different to the other undies patterns I've seen out there, either to buy or for free. Therefore I feel like I'm offering the sewing community something slightly different, but I no longer feel that with the vest pattern. However, if you happen to fit within the sizing, or fancy making it for someone how does, it is also available on this page

Please remember that peops gotta eat and stay caffeinated, so if you do download either of the patterns and enjoy using them, please consider buying me a coffee via the link on the Free Sewing Patterns page

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