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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