Ready to Wear Fast 2018!

Today I want to announce that I will be taking part in the 2018 Goodbye Valentino Ready-to-Wear Fast! This means no purchasing clothing from January 1st to December 31st, 2018. Last time she ran this event was 2014 and I didn't feel confident enough in my sewing back then to commit... but this year, having made jeans, coats, bathing suits, underwear, and even a wedding dress, I am really excited to say I've signed up! Here are the rules, from Sarah's blog:

What exactly is the Ready To Wear Fast?

The Ready to Wear Fast is a vow to abstain from buying clothes for one year. You will give up buying clothes from January 1 – December 31, 2018.  You may sew anything, and you may fabric shop as much as you would like!  The purpose is to Save Money and Improve Your Sewing Skills, but believe me, the rewards of the commitment will exceed your expectations.

1.May I buy sweaters since I don’t knit?
No, you may not buy sweaters.

2. What about bathing suits?
No, you may not buy a bathing suit.

3. I’m attending a ball this year. May I buy a ball gown?
No you may not buy a ball gown.

4. Do I have to make my wedding dress?
Please buy the wedding dress of your dreams. A wedding dress or bridesmaid’s dress is the only exception.

5. What about scarves?

6. What can we buy during 2018?
You many buy underwear, socks, jewelry, handbags and belts.

7. Can we buy shoes on a Ready to Wear Fast?
Y E S !!  Shoes are allowed – Enjoy 😉

8. Can I wear the Ready to Wear clothes I bought before the Fast?
Yes, absolutely.

9. May we accept gifts of clothing?
Of course.

10. Can we buy thrift shop clothes to refashion?
No. I encourage you to refashion clothes from your closet.

As you can see, the rules are pretty strict--if you want to supplement your sewing with thrifting, vintage shopping, etc, this is not the pledge for you, although, of course, you're welcome to create your own version of the fast to keep yourself accountable! I'm going a littttle bit stricter, and I'm going to include underwear in my vintage pledge--I need a kick in the pants (get it?) to start sewing my stash of lingerie patterns and fabric. I also want to try and sew from my stash a decent amount. I don't feel like I need to eliminate my stash entirely, but I really should look through my stash and the stuff I don't think I'll use, put it in the "muslin" pile, or toss/donate.

Here's a little list of what I hope to accomplish by the end of the year:
1. push myself to tackle intimidating things, like bras and underwear
2. make the things I don't like making, like tees, or go without
3. cut down on spending on both clothing and (more importantly) fabric
4. assess wardrobe and stash and clean out both
5. feel fully confident sewing knits and using both my serger and machine on knit fabric
6. create a full me-made "resort" capsule for my cruise

That last one is the most fun I think! I'm still working on my Winter Capsule but I also plan on putting together a mini capsule for a week-long cruise using mostly items I've already made and a few simple things. That will also include swimsuits! I want to make at least one or two in the next few months, since the cruise is at the beginning of March--but don't expect modeled photos when I'm sewing swimsuits in January!

If you want to participate, please note that you must sign up with Sarah by the end of the month! Go to the announcement page to get all the details. Will you be participating? If so, good luck! If not, what's holding you back?


ps: i am preparing for this challenge by buying a black sweater! 

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#menswearmakenine 2018

From left to right, top row to bottom row:
Elastic Waist Shorts - Thread Theory Jedediah (seen previously here and here)
Hoodie - Clothes for All Seasons
Pajama Set- Vogue 8964

Chinos - Clothes for All Seasons
Button Down shirt - Liesl & Co. All Day Shirt
Trench Coat - Japanese coat book

Pea Coat - Thread Theory (or Japanese coat book)
Tee shirt - Clothes for All Seasons
Boxers - Clothes for All Seasons

Is the first 2018 resolution post you've seen? I mentioned in my post about Japanese menswear sewing books that I want to sew more menswear, and although I've never participated in #makenine before (since I usually change my mind about things a hundred times and also, make way more than nine things in a year) I've decided that nine is the perfect goal amount of men's clothing for a year, especially since I've made Alex mayyybe 9 things total in all the years I've been sewing. Time to double my record!

Do you sew menswear? If you do--or if you haven't, but want to start!!--I'd love it if you'd join me and use the hashtag #menswearmakenine to follow along as we do some menswear sewing.

UPDATE: this is about menswear sewing, regardless of recipient. If you want to make someone boxer shorts, it counts, regardless of the recipient's gender. If you want to make yourself boxer shorts, it counts, regardless of your gender.

See you on the 'gram!


ps: expect to see more of Alex on the blog! i guess i'd better brush up on my photography...

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Where do you find Patterns for Men?

I've been sewing for a while now, and recently I've noticed that I've been keeping the clothes I made around longer since they're of a higher quality and I've gotten a better understanding of my personal style. There are definitely staples I'm missing (and I hope to fill some wardrobe holes through my classic capsule wardrobe) but in 2018 I'm less interested in "maintenance sewing" for myself and more interested in branching out to things like lingerie and the topic of today's blog post... sewing for men!

It's insanely annoying to find decent men's patterns, so this is meant to be a round up of all the men's pattern companies/patterns I can find, but also a call for y'all's suggestions; if you know of a great men's pattern company I haven't included here, let me know, I'd love to add it!! In the meantime, this is what I've found so far...

Thread Theory - Probably the most well-known indie pattern brand for menswear! Sweaters, tees, underwear, even coats. In addition to their in-house line, their pattern shop also carries some of the other brands mentioned here (Colette, Merchant and Mills, and others) so check here first and save on shipping!
Patterns I've made: The Jedediah pants, which I've made into elastic waist shorts seen here and here. Really lovely wearable pants with clear instructions.

5 Out Of 4 Patterns
 - A rare boxer shorts pattern, among a few other men's patterns.
Patterns I've made: none.

Colette - I had high hopes that Colette's Walden line of men's patterns would take off, but it looks like it has died off instead, with just three patterns: a camp-collar shirt, a duffle coat, and a convertible bag. Their newer offshoot Seamwork does have a few men's patterns as well.
Patterns I've made: The Paxton raglan, which ran super small and fits me rather than Alex, possibly user error.

Burda - As a general rule, it's safe to assume that anything an indie patternmaker puts out has been done by Burda, better, cheaper, and 5 years ago... if you're willing to wade through their website, trace and add seam allowances, and go it alone or wade through minimal/terrible instructions. The same seems to hold true for their men's selection, which is the most varied of this list.
Patterns I've made: none.

Sew Sew Def - Mimi G's magazine has been including a men's pattern in each issue of this magazine and they really vary from a pretty standard tee to skinny jeans with lots of seaming and welt pockets. Not really sure what's going on with Sew Sew Def since it's marketed as monthly a year but there have only been 5 issues in the past 8 months and no sign of a November issue...? If you're into trendier looks, get it while you can!
Patterns I've made: none.

Tailor Taylor - Primarily a menswear sewing blog (sadly not updated for about a year), but Tailor does have a backpack pattern and kit.
Patterns I've made: none.

Jalie - the go-to online shop for activewear/dance/swim has men's patterns as well! Alongside your usual unisex tee shirts and sweatshirts, Jalie has really specific and unusual patterns for men, like singlets, bodyshirts (for dance, I think?), "gymnastic pants"(??), footy pajamas... even a men's thong. You do you, Jalie, you do you.
Patterns I've made: none.

Big 4 - Consisting of McCalls/Butterick/Vogue and Simplicity, the "Big 4" pattern companies provide a consistency often lacking in indie patterns: you basically know what you will get for better or worse. (On a side note, I LOVE this, which is why I make so many big 4 patterns, more than most bloggers I think.) Although they generally only publish one or two new men's patterns a season, they all typically have 4+ pattern releases a year, putting them about on par with a larger indie company as far as men's patterns go. Bonus: a lot of these patterns are technically unisex and have a men's and women's pattern in one envelope so you get a pattern for yourself too!
Patterns I've made: Simplicity 8528.

Hot Patterns - Although none of these are particularly fashion-forward, Hot Patterns has hard-to-find patterns like jeans and coats for men with nice styling. I especially like the H. P. Hemingway Windcheater and the button-fly jeans, though fairly wide-legged, would be perfect for more vintage-inclined men. Raw denim anyone?
Patterns I've made: none.

Wardrobe by Me - A decent selection of men's knitwear--tees, cardigans, sweatpants, etc.
Patterns I've made: Rebel Raglan, made for Alex.

Peekaboo Patterns - A great selection of menswear basics, if a little too basic: pajama pants, tees, robes, etc.
Patterns I've made: none.

 - this beloved Finnish pattern magazine (think Burda) has "Family" issues in addition to the more frequent "Kids" and "Women" publications--these issues have clothes for men and women alike, but have more of an emphasis on men's clothes since they produce women's patterns year round! You can buy a single issue for about 10 euros, and they ship to the US. Not bad considering the most recent family issue included 11 menswear patterns!
Patterns I've made: none.

Merchant and Mills - Alongside women's patterns, M&M offers a tee shirt, a camp collar shirt, and a field-type jacket as well as a tote and rucksack in their signature "heritage" style.
Patterns I've made: none.

Vintage - There are decades of sewing patterns available for men on etsy if you are able to look through the sometimes cringey pattern illustrations! Obviously a 70s bellbottom stretch poly jumpsuit is always going to look like a men's bellbottom jumpsuit, but a collared shirt can only change so much. On the other hand, where else are you going to find a bellbottom jumpsuit pattern or a men's kaftan?
Patterns I've made: none. 

Patterns for Pirates - This popular PDF pattern company has four men's patterns: a henley, a tank, sport shorts, and joggers.
Patterns I've made: none.

Free Sewing (formerly Made to Measure) - To be quite honest, I'm a bit perplexed at this one as it really seems... too good to be true? Joost de Cock has been hard at work building this site, featuring fully customizable patterns that are all free. You enter in your body measurements (just like Bootstrap/Leko) as well as style preferences (i.e. collar type, placket type, yoke dart, hip flare, omg so many options) and print out a custom pattern... free. You try it and tell me how it goes, okay?
Patterns I've made: none.

Japanese sewing books - I first learned of these types of books through Mainely Dad who made several gorgeous coats out of one. I've just ordered two of these pattern books for men (one on everyday clothes and the coats one as seen on Mainely Dad) and you can read my pre-sewing review here. I will note that the menswear books seem to be more classic styles than the women's fashions are; a lot of the women's patterns are sort of oversized and drapey or look like little kids' clothes in grown up sizes, but the men's patterns are your standard button downs and sweatshirts. (Although a drapey, Yohji Yamomoto style pattern book for men would be amaaaazing right?)
Patterns I've made: none... yet!

Did you notice how many of these pattern companies had "none" after "patterns I've made"? I hope 2018 will be the year I rectify that... but in the meantime, have you made anything by these companies? Which patternmakers am I missing?


ps: a few menswear bloggers it's worth mentioning: Male Pattern Boldness, Mainely Dad, Tailor Taylor (archived?), Mensew.

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Japanese Pattern Books for Men

I recently purchased two Japanese sewing books off etsy and thought I'd do a little (pre-sewing) book review today. Unlike many of the Japanese sewing books that get a lot of press (Drape Drape for example, or Pattern Magic) these two are for men! It's so hard to find decent men's patterns (Thread Theory being the standout) and the ability to purchase a book for $30 and have a whole men's pattern wardrobe was just too tempting to resist. I've been watching a lot of Korean dramas and all the male characters are so well dressed--it's really inspiring me to do some selfless sewing for my leading man! (Although he's much too nice to star in a kdrama :)

The first book is Men's Coats by Ryuichiro Shimazaki (keep in mind that these translations tend to vary from site to site). You may be familiar with it from the "Mainely Dad" Japanese Pattern Challenge blog where Duane tried to make all of the coats in the book. If you are into menswear sewing and don't know about this blog, go get lost in it for a few hours! He is very talented and has a wonderful eye for creative details. The projects in the book are all coats, but there's a huge array of styles, mostly classics: trench coat, pea coat, etc. I originally found it because the selection of men's trench coat patterns is absolutely abysmal, especially considering what a classic style it is, and remembered that Duane had made a wonderful, professional-looking trench--and just look at that trench sample! Gorgeous right? While I was nervous about purchasing a coat book entirely in Japanese, a language I definitely do not speak even a tiny amount of, the coats in the book and on the blog look so, so good, in the end I couldn't resist. The only overlap here with my existing pattern stash is the pea coat, since I recently purchased the Thread Theory pea coat pattern during a sale. Honestly I would have paid $30 for an OOP or vintage Vogue men's trench pattern alone, though (and, for example, the retail price of this Vogue pea coat pattern is $30, although we all know to shop the sales and get them for $5).

The second book I am very excited about. The title is Men's Clothes for All Seasons and it really seems like a very comprehensive men's clothing pattern book, with a little bit of everything. It really does contain everything you would need for casual clothing year round: five button down shirts, four tees, pants, a few layering pieces (hoodie, sweatshirt, field-type jacket) and even pajamas and boxers. I do have a few men's button down shirts patterns already (the Thread Theory Fairfield, the Liesl & Co Everyday Shirt, and a McCall's and a Vogue both of which I have forgot the number, oh, and the Colette Negroni--now I'm really ashamed that I've only ever made Alex two shirts! They do say that buying patterns and sewing clothes are two separate hobbies...) and I also have the Thread Theory Jedediah, so there is some overlap, but this book (plus shipping) was $30 so even if I only make half of the patterns I still consider it a good deal. Finally, all of the patterns should be built off of the same block, so if I decide to do any fit adjustments, I think it will be pretty easy to apply it to a whole wardrobe of items--actually, there aren't 15 full patterns, there are mix and match pieces. That said, I'm pretty much in the dark when it comes to men's fitting, so I don't think I'll be doing too much of that!

Between the two books, I feel like I could easily never have to buy another men's pattern again--actually, I think I could make an entire men's wardrobe if I added one book on formalwear and one knit underwear pattern!

One drawback is that the sizes are small, smaller than american sizes at least. Alex is pretty slim (he wears a small or medium in shirts and a 32 or 34 pant) and I think he'll be a large in most of these patterns; 37" chest, 33" waist, and 38" hip is a size L in the Clothes for All Seasons book. It does go up to 3L (XXL) but the max waist size is only a 36. Something to think about if your man is American-sized :) I have also heard that they run short--Alex is slightly taller than the average American man at 5'11" and the average Japanese man is 5'7" according to Wikipedia--so I'll be doing a lot of measuring and lengthening I think.

Have you sewn from a pattern book before, Japanese or otherwise? I'm embarrassed to say that although I own several pattern books, I've actually never made anything from any of them!


ps: keep an eye out for another post this week with all my meanswear sewing plans for 2018!

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Party Dress Patterns (Vogue 9291)

earrings - shoes - clutch (less expensive) - lipstick (Peut-etre is the perfect neutral) - fragrance - faux fur wrap 

Holiday party season is here and I've chosen a somewhat unlikely pattern as my seasonal cocktail-party go to... Vogue 9291. Yes, this is an "accessories" pattern!. It's classic vogue in it's weirdness but in between the wearable shower puff and the strange felted...thing they snuck in this absolutely. gorgeous. top, meant to be worn as a wrap over a strapless dress I believe.

If you've followed this blog for a while you'll know I have sort of a thing for crop tops, and this pattern struck me as the perrrrfect top to wear not as a wrap but as a top, paired with a full skirt, for a sort of modern Ceil Chapman look in two pieces instead of one. Here I've paired it with the high-low view of V8980 for a little bit more drama, but I've made a wearable muslin of this pattern in a sunny yellow seersucker (because I had it on hand) and with a flirty little mini skirt I feel like I should be on the French Riviera--perfect for my cruise in March! Now I have to decide: I'm tempted to make this in a crisp white oxford cloth that I could dress up (with a full silk faille skirt and some sparkles as shown here) or dress down (it would pair with everything high-waisted in my closet, but imagine it with my blue gingham skirt, for example, eee so cute right?!), but it does look glam in the called-for satin... what do you think? One of each? Watch this space for a Christmassy reveal!

What are you making for holidays? 
I've rounded up some more options, both vintage and modern, if you haven't quite decided yet:

a reprint of the original behind the inspiration (that draping!)
a prim and proper silhouette with sheer details
flirty favorite (seen herehere)
unexpectedly sexy (would be great with a sparkly sash for waist definition)
lovvve this new pattern if you're up for a challenge
the best cocktail dress ever (I'm biased)


ps: did you happen to catch my muslin on instagram stories? i think it has a perfect retro look... for such a random pattern, i think it will be a new tnt pattern for a few of us based on the messages you sent me! xoxo

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Comfortable Cool pt. 2 (Butterick 5926)


For about ten years, my go-to layering piece year round has been a J. Crew Jackie cardigan. Sadly, I've found that "they just don't make them like they used to" and newer Jackies I've purchased haven't lasted as long as the ones I bought a decade ago. As I retire old, worse for the wear cardigans, I've been trying to replace them with some new silhouettes, and so as soon as I finished Alex's knit blazer I decided I wanted one for myself! This blazer/cardi and this skirt are the first couple of pieces in my little winter capsule if you missed that post!  I ordered a plain navy ponte at the same time as his dotty version because I wasn't sure which one he would like and knew I'd end up using both eventually... I didn't know just how soon it would be! Since it's a ponte knit, it's basically the same comfort level as a cardigan, but a lot more put together, as I mentioned when I made his.

Mine is a little more boring than his in solid navy, but it's just as comfortable and versatile (perfect for looking put together on the plane!) and I really love the fit when worn open, although I just made a straight size 10 and should have really graded up at the hips if I want to wear it buttoned closed. I used Butterick 5926 view D (the longer version) and just managed to squeeze it out of a slightly too-short yardage. The instructions for this blazer are slightly different than the men's Simplicity blazer--that one had a back neck facing and this one does not, so the construction order as written was a little different. I decided to draft a back facing and do it the same way as the other one, but then bumped into the issue of having to sew those tricky angled collar seams twice. No fun!

I've paired it with my white Gingers, which I still just love. I've just received some black denim from Harts Fabric to make my third pair of these jeans--I never thought jeans would be a tried and true project for me! I'm also wearing a handmade sweatshirt, a Seamwork Paxton that I made for Alex for his birthday and which obviously did not fit him, since it fits me perfectly... I swear I cut the right size according to the size chart, so I'm not sure what's up with the sizing. I have picked out a different pattern for the next try, I'm done fighting with Seamwork!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or a wonderful weekend for my non-US readers)... remember, ponte is perfect after a big meal! :)


ps: this employee favorite navy twill also arrived with my Harts order and it's an allie favorite too now--it's sooo nice and soft.

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Sew Hayley Jane Subscription Box Review and Giveaway

Thanks to Sew Hayley Jane for providing a box for review and a box to give away!

Sew Hayley Jane recently reached out to me to do a little review here of her subscription boxes and since I know y'all love giveaways, how could I say no? She's been mailing these lovely dressmaking and craft boxes to UK sewists for a while now but she's just started shipping to the US (yay!) so now us Americans can get our grubby little mitts on her adorable boxes! There are three sizes available and this is the medium size, which contains 2.5 meters of dressmaking fabric, 4 fat quarters, and a bunch of little notions and gifts. The smaller box is the same but with 1 meter of fabric and 3 fat quarters, and the larger box has 5 fat quarters and up to 3.5 meters of dressmaking fabric--that's practically 4 yards, FYI--and also includes an indie sewing pattern!

In my box (the November edition) I had a lovely assortment of Christmassy fabrics with a red and grey theme--a pretty cotton poplin with a beautiful silky hand (back left in the box) and 4 coordinating fat quarters--some very pretty buttons destined for a Carolyn pajama top, about 2 yards of cotton lace trim, red Gutermann thread, a sweet donut magnetic pin cushion from Oh Sew Quaint, and some chocolates, not pictured because I ate them all. (Why is British chocolate so much better than American? Oops.)

Although this box is described as a "dressmaking and craft" subscription and therefore contains a mix of fabrics for craft and clothing, I can't help thinking that this box would be the perfect, perfect gift for a sewing mama. I think the fat quarters are intended to make little house goods--like a quilted table runner, for instance--but since the fabrics all coordinate, I imagine some adorable mommy and me looks coming out of these boxes, with mama getting a skirt for herself out of the dressmaking fabric and making some cute matching outfits for littles out of the fat quarters and trim. Lucky for me, I happen to know some babies and have a remarkable collection of children's patterns for someone with no children... but if you do have kids, this would be a wonderful box to get!

You can see all the things that subscribers have made with their boxes by searching #sewhayleyjanemakes on instagram and peek into previous boxes' contents by snooping the Sew Hayley Jane fabric care page. And good news! If you want to try out a Sew Hayley Jane box, follow me on instagram, and tag a friend in the comments of my Sew Hayley Jane post who you think would love a subscription to this box! One entrant will win the a Classic sized box--although not the same one I got! You'll have to wait and see what will be in yours... :)


ps: i love that the box supports indie companies, too--you should definitely go read this blog post from magnetic donut pincushion maker Oh Sew Quaint about her experience starting her own small business! so inspiring.

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Friendsgiving (Sewaholic Rae + Classic Capsule Plans)

Some of you may have seen my instagram post for day 10 of #bpsewvember, "Everyday," where I highlighted a favorite blogger of mine, girlsack (that's her, not me, below). No, I don't know about the name, either. She's no longer style blogging under that name but you can find her outfit posts from ten years ago all over pinterest and tumblr by searching "girlsack" (or on the girlsack board I just made here) and besides that J. Crew bubble necklace we all wore for 6 months, it's still so so good. (PSA: if you still wear your bubble necklace, retire it.)

My outfit (worn to an amazing Friendsgiving feast) is inspired by her signature breton stripes and a specific plaid skirt (J. Crew circa 2009? it's all over that pinterest board). This top was previously seen here two years ago and I think I've had this piece of plaid wool blend in my stash for even longer than that. I decided to finally pair it with a pattern! This is another Rae with a flat waistband, and you can all see how much I like the shape of this pattern because I braved 6 panels of (okay) plaid matching to make this. Not too much to say about this that wasn't said for my leopard version but this is such a wonderful staple pattern and I'm positive this won't be the last one--in fact, I've already ordered some navy twill for a plain navy one.

One of the things I admire about girlsack's style is that she relies on a small amount of classic pieces and is endlessly restyling a small selection of items--you know, like a real human--so you only need a few patterns for a complete girlsack-inspired wardrobe. I've put together a little collection of patterns to use as the basis of a "classic style" capsule, with a little mix of masculine and feminine and a whole lot of girlsack style. This is a lot of sewing, but it's all basics and I think I can get a big chunk of it done this winter and wear it year-round:

Blazer: I'm bad at wearing blazers but I aspire to be the kind of person who can just throw one over anything and look effortlessly put-together. I now have a navy knit blazer (B5926, it will be up on the blog next week I hope!) to match Alex's (S8528), and I think it's a good way to ease into it, especially since my decade-old J. Crew Jackie cardigans are falling apart and I need something to replace them. I'd love to make a second even more sweatshirty blazer out of heather grey french terry, either for myself or for Alex... doesn't that sound so nice? Would you make the lapels and accents (welt pockets, maybe?) out of the wrong side? I've also had a navy wool blazer on my to-sew list for. literallyever. and there are lots of woven blazer patterns to choose from depending on what style you like, but this one by Claire Schaeffer is the most classic I could find, and since it's Vogue you know it will have all the little details that make a blazer special.

Black skinny jeans: I have a round up of possibilities here if you are in the market for a jeans pattern, but my favorite hands down is the Ginger from Closet Case. I have a white pair and a dark denim pair, but I think it's time to add a black version. I've never owned a pair of black jeans before but my black ponte pants are looking pretty faded and I think it's time to replace them. I ordered some black stretch twill/denim from Hart's Fabric for this project. I'm thinking black topstitching and a gold button!

Oxford shirts: now that I've discovered glue stick technique for attaching collars, I'm a lot more enthusiastic about making a production line of collared shirts--it makes attaching the collar so much simpler! I love my short-sleeved gingham Granville and I'd like to make a few more with full-length sleeves and plackets and everything: one in chambray, one in white oxford and maybe with a slightly rounded not-quite-Peter-Pan collar, and one in blue oxford to replace my worn-out Ralph Lauren one. I've just ordered some 100% cotton oxford cloth from Stylish Fabrics and I'm waiting for it to arrive.

Full, mid-thigh skirts: Rae, duh... A navy skirt has literally been on my to-sew list for years and I've never made one! I'd also like to try making the shorter version of my wedding dress (Simplicity 5343) as a skirt, since I love love love those pleats. If you don't have a go-to pattern I think the new Patti Pocket skirt looks really promising, or you can always take my skirt class to make a classic, girly dirndl!

Bonus If-I-Have-Time Trench: there are a few trench patterns available now, and although my personal favorite is the Deer and Doe Luzerne, for this capsule I would go for a more classic one with all the tench details here. I have a copy of M5525 (tragically out of print, seen on Cashmerette here) that I've been wanting to make, so this one is my pick, but it's hard to get a hold of. The Named Isla is also perfect--super trad lines and all the bells and whistles you could ask for.

I haven't forgotten about my coat sewing plans, I promise! I'm still on the hunt for a perfect colorful coating and although the Eagle pattern isn't going towork out, I have a replacement pattern for my wool herringbone, also French: the Blousette Rose Ive. That pattern doesn't come with seam allowances included so I've been putting it off, but it should be a relatively simple sew once I get going.

Since I already have all of these patterns and almost all of them are tried and true favorites of mine, I really hope I can get some of this list knocked out. I also have big plans for menswear in the upcoming year so it may be all collared shirts, all the time around here, I really hope my blog doesn't get too boring with all these classics...! Dress lovers, I apologize in advance, but y'all know I'll never forsake my pink flouncy roots, and come spring it will be seersucker and ruffles and lace again, don't you worry...


ps: off topic but speaking of my wedding dress pattern i've recently had the idea to make a black silk (faille maybe?) version of the short variation to wear with my black lace jacket from the same pattern--basically the ultimate cocktail lbd, right??--and i don't know why i never thought of it before.

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Comfortable Cool (Simplicity 8528)

Alex dresses well and pretty simply--he has few pairs of chinos and a few pairs of jeans, a bunch of button down shirts, and a few cardigans, and that's what he wears most days. Guys wardrobes are so natural capsule-y, right? Despite the fact that I could make his whole wardrobe with about 5 patterns, men's patterns are so hard to come by! I have a few big 4 patterns and a few from Thread Theory, and I just got the new Liesl + Co. All Day shirt (I think this one has real potential!), and my general rule is to snap up any decent men's patterns I see, since they are few and far between!

There was obviously no question if I was going to buy Simplicity 8528--omg just look at that cover! It's amazing! When I showed it to Alex he was equally enthused. I thiiiink this is supposed to be used as a David S. Pumpkins thing (I have not seen that, so I'm not sure?) since it came out with the Halloween patterns and is called "Crazy Suit" but if you look past the wild prints it's a really decent unlined blazer pattern. I recently picked up a knit blazer pattern for myself and so the idea was already in my head; since there's basically no way a men's knit blazer pattern exists (correct me if I'm wrong) I decided to use this one! In this thick dot ponte instead of the suggested linens and poplins, the trickiest part was getting my stitches not to skip (a heavyweight ballpoint needle did the trick). I love the way the insides look since the wrong side has little stripes--it looks really cute with the sleeves rolled up and pushed up a little, don't you think?

I think Alex was a little unclear about the concept at first--is it a blazer? is it a sweater?--but I think he'll end up wearing it a lot in his regular rotation of cardigans, if only because he doesn't have a navy one. Personally, I think it looks really sharp! I used his regular blazer size (38) and the only change I made was to sew the back pleats/vent shut instead of finishing each side of the vent and pressing--this rayon/poly ponte was not about to hold a permanent press and I think sewn-shut pleats look fine for this casual style. It's pretty slim fitting even in a (stable, but still) knit and I would consider sizing up one if I made it in a woven. The lapels are slim, too--slimmer than the collar which I think looks a little funny if you notice but also, I don't know much about men's fashion, so maybe this is normal in slim lapeled suits? (You can't see this in the line drawings but you can tell if you look closely at the models.) Sadly, the pants and shorts don't have any front or back pockets--although they may have side seam pockets, it's hard to tell) so I think they're best relegated to costume pants unless you're confident adding your own!

Would y'all be interested in a men's pattern roundup? They're so hard to find! I've also just ordered some Japanese sewing books for men--the women's styles aren't for me but I'm hoping the men's stuff will be great since it's all very classic. Have you used a Japanese pattern book? So stylish!


ps: he's such a ham :)

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Leopard Mini (Sewaholic Rae)

skirt: Sewaholic Rae (also seen here and here, pattern here) | jacket: Deer and Doe Luzerne (also seen here, pattern here)

When I had such success with my first Rae a few weeks ago and then successfully used the pattern as the skirt portion of my girly trench dress, I immediately wanted to try it one more way, as a flat waistband skirt!

I've had this leopard print twill in my stash for a few months having ordered it thinking it would be light enough to make a dress, but it's really more of a denim weight--perfect to try this new variation on the Rae! The twill would be much too heavy to gather into a waistband at my usual 2 or 3:1 skirt:waistband ratio, but the flare along with the light gathering of the Rae at the waist means I get all the poof and none of the struggle to gather too-thick fabric. (ps: If you want all the fullness of a dirndl skirt but down want all that poof right at your waistline, a gored skirt like this one is perfect.) I only made a few slight changes to the pattern itself and I mostly just guessed at what I should do. I ended up taking a little bit off of the top of each pattern piece because the waistband is built into the elastic-waisted Rae, but not into this skirt. Luckily it was a success!

I love the girly silhouette of this shorter-length full skirt in a fabric with a lot of body; I think it looks really great with matching tights and heels to give the illusion of long long legs. It would be really cute with over the knee boots, too--I don't have any of those because they don't really seem work-appropriate for me, but I like the look on other people.

I wont be giving up my dirndl skirts any time soon (after all, I have a whole class on making them) but I do love this modified version of the Rae for a lower-volume skirt, and it takes a lot less fabric, too!


ps: if you follow the @mccallpatterncompany instagram, you may see a familiar face over there this week!

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Love Witchy (Rachel Comey for Vogue 1558)

Thank you McCall Pattern Company for sponsoring this post.

This past year I was lucky enough to attend a showing of The Love Witch, which I then immediately
added to both my amazon cart and also my "Allie's Favorite Movies" list. While the more campy aspects of the movie may or may not be to your liking, I (unsuprisingly) loved loved loved the costumes worn by Samantha Robinson, who plays Elaine, the main character and titular Love Witch. They are mostly late-60s/70s and Anna Biller, the director, made some of them herself using vintage patterns! I even bought a similar pattern to one of the costumes and intended to make it but I couldn't figure out how I would wear it and not look like, well, costumey.

Although Vogue 1558 is not a vintage or retro pattern, and honestly doesn't look much like any single dress from the movie, I think the long, pleated sleeves, midi length, and high neck give it the same feel as a lot of the 60s/70s Edwardian-ish dresses--with none of the over-the-top frills. Streamlined seventies? Yes, please. And in a knit? Even better--this dress is a dream to wear and swishes around beautifully.

The sample for this Rachel Comey dress is made in a silk jersey with an all-over print in red and shades of blue, which is gorgeous, but doesn't show off the interesting pleating that really makes this dress unique--I think this pattern really shines in a solid. The details at front and back waist are so flattering and y'all know I love a raglan sleeve! I was a little nervous going into this project, since I very rarely use Vogue patterns--for some reason they're intimidating to me--and I'd never made a designer Vogue pattern. In fact, it was very simple to make; if you have made other knit dresses or tees before and are confident about pleats, you can make this dress without issue. This is a size 10, one size down from my "body measurements" size as usual, and made without alterations besides shortening the skirt by about 4 inches (I cut off 5" but took a shallower hem than called for). Personally, I followed the instructions to the letter, but I heard from a couple of people who even left out the zipper... make sure you use a stretchy fabric with great recovery if you go that way since you want to be able to get it over your head!

Now that I'm feeling more confident about Vogue patterns I have my eye on some of their holiday releases--view B of this one would be gorgeous work as a top paired with a full skirt, right??--so this dress won't be the last Vogue pattern you see on this site! Do you have a favorite McCall Pattern Company brand? I used to wonder why they had three brands under one umbrella but I do think that Vogue, Butterick, and McCall's have different aesthetics... which one do you like best?

Photography by Alex Craig.


ps: can you believe this is the very first vogue pattern i've ever blogged?

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