Just casually hanging around, you know.
I worked on these trousers for a very very long time! I think it was in November/December last year when I started drafting my own trouser block and then doing various trial and error toiles to experiment with fit. I worked on them on and off and, voila enfin, they are done!
I used pinstripe suiting fabric that I’d used before for this dungaree dress in 2017. I had originally bought the fabric with some ‘cigarette pants‘-style trousers like these in mind so I’m glad I finally got them out of my head and through the sewing machine! The fabric is a wool/blend suiting and comes from Gold Fingers on Boulevard Anspach.
I’m not 100% happy with the fit – I think they could be a little less snug in the thighs but it’s also because I’m not used to wearing trousers – I feel so strapped in! Also, the fabric does not have that much body to it so they are a little stiff. But I’m glad I have a good fitted trouser pattern now that I can adapt to other styles.
And I’m so into the shape of the pockets!
And because the outside should be as pretty as the inside, I used a ‘Hong Kong’ finish on the side seams with some nice satin binding.
The closure is a lapped zip in the side seam with a spring snap. For the construction order, I followed this amazing lapped zipper tutorial from Closet Case Patterns – as I did for some shorts I made last year.
And talking of Closet Case Patterns, I also made another Kalle shirt – which I’ve untucked here so you can see it better. This is my third version of this pattern (hello number 1 and number 2). I adapted the neckline slightly for this one so it sits flat – it is a sort of bias binding sandwich finish! I love the pairing of the yellow buttons and the red fabric – some classic Atelier Brunette ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ fabric I bought a few years ago in Paris and which I’ve been keeping for something special ever since. Well, you can’t take fabric with you, so I decided to stop hoarding it and that this was as good a time as any to use it. I really like it and hopefully I’ll get a lot of wear out of it.
And if you are wondering what the title of this post is all about then it’s time to read some Edwin Morgan poetry!
I made a Honeycomb dress by Cocowawa crafts and I can report it is a very sweet pattern, just like honey. I’d seen lots of lovely versions online and I was curious about the construction. As I said in my previous post, I’m curious about patterns with ties rather than zip closures. The Honeycomb’s gathered skirt is cinched in thanks to two front ties on both sides. I definitely could have sewn my gathers better but gathering is not my strong point.
It’s such a comfy dress to wear and it feels both dressed up and dressed down at the same time.
The fabric I used was bought on a wee trip to Amsterdam with my sister in 2017 – I found about 3 metres of it at the bottom of a remnant bin and took pity on it and decided to give it a home. For a while I regretted buying it as I couldn’t think what to make with it. But it was the perfect fabric to try out a new pattern on, and see if I could get at least a wearable muslin out of it.
But luckily, I got a full on dress I love! The fabric is very light flowy corduroy/needlecord that could possibly be curtain fabric.
You know when you make something and at the end you have the ‘ok this is why I sew’ feeling? Well, I had that feeling big time making this dress. And as we all know, that feeling is certainly not a given with sewing – or any hobby you really care about.
The pattern is the Tea House Dress from Sew House Seven – and I. LOVE. IT.
The dress ties together with a waist tie and drapes really nicely, there are no fastenings, no gathers, and loose sleeves. I’m not a massive fan of gathers or elastic, and while I do love a zip and some buttons, the chance of messing those up – whether in terms of fit or finishing – is high. You can’t really mess up the fit of a dress that just pulls in with a waist belt. It’s the type of dress I know I’ll be able to make in both ‘everyday’ versions and in a fancier fabric for a wedding, for example.
The fabric is ‘Ledding Viscose Twill – Mustard’ from Fabric Godmother which I bought myself as a Christmas present – the first time I ever bought fabric online, I think. It’s gorgeous and I just love the colour.
The waist belt I used is a trim I bought in Chien Vert with no particular plan for, I think the deep blue spots go really well with the yellow. First of all I used a different trim for the belt which didn’t work at all as it was too poofy when tied at the back, so I unpicked everything to change it for this and I’m so glad I did.
This dress also made me think of the relationship between the design of a pattern and sustainability in terms of how often you might need to wash the garment. Obviously this is very personal and everyone is different, but as this is not really ‘all up in my armpits’ I don’t feel it needs washed as often. Definitely an aspect to consider when choosing patterns with sustainability in mind.
Did I mention I love this pattern? I’ve got two more versions cut out already – this pattern will hopefully help me do some serious fabric stashbusting.
Here is a photo burst – couldn’t get my camera to properly focus in some of these but you can still see the dress 🙂
I’d been looking for a dungaree pattern for a while when I came across the Ophelia Overalls from Decades of Style’s Everyday range and I was immediately drawn to the original design. They are roomy and loose, but straps and D-rings at the side cinch them in a bit at the waist. I love the big pockets on the side. I took up the hem by about 11cm so they would skim my ankles and I think it is a length that looks nice with sandals or boots. I hardly ever wear trousers so they do take a bit of getting used to for me but I’ve been wearing them loads since I finished them a few weeks ago! While having a wide trouser leg feels a bit odd sometimes to me and I have to hike them up a bit when I’m on my bike, all in all they are an absolute dream to wear and I don’t know how I lived without them before!
And can we talk about this lovely mustard yellow corduroy?! Like lots of other sewists, I certainly am a sucker for the mustard yellow. I bought this fabric in Pauli Stoffen in Leuven (best fabric shop in Belgium!) in January. The Ophelia overalls pattern envelope design even has one of the illustrations in yellow corduroy, so it was meant to be! It was so lovely to sew with and I’ve got loads left over so I plan to make some dungarees for my cousin’s wee baby.
I really took my time to make these dungarees and one thing I did was spend a lot of time researching and sourcing my hardware. I used spring snaps for the closures at the side seams, this is the first time I’ve had any success with spring snaps and finally finding some that work for me was so satisfying! After a LOT of research I bought some spring snaps and set in tools from the Laughing Lizard Store on Etsy. I’ve never mastered those annoying Prym plyers and I find it so frustrating that most sewing shops sell plastic snaps or, at best, quite bad quality ring snaps. Closet Case Patterns has an excellent read about the difference between spring and ring snaps and how to install them.
One thing I’ve definitely learnt when it comes to trying to be as sustainable as possible with your sewing is that it is better to take three months to make something and really make sure it is well made and that you’ll wear it, rather than bash something out only for it to languish in your wardrobe.
Can’t wait to make more things with spring snaps!
I got the fabric for this dress in Antwerp way back in 2014 (!) in a shop that I can’t remember the name of and that I probably wouldn’t be able to find again. I had a voucher to spend which was my prize for taking part (and coming last) in the Belgian/Dutch online sewing competition ‘Sew it up‘ that Hanne and Caroline used to organise. So, wow, it has taken me four years to make something with this fabric! It is a soft drapey viscose that was way easier to work with than I anticipated and I’m glad I kept it for so long until the idea for this dress was born.
The pattern was the result of a day of pattern drafting experimentation! My favourite part is the cut-out back, although I think I’ll be wearing this with a top under it and tights from here on in as the wintery weather has just arrived in Belgium.
Here is a photo of the bodice pattern piece in case this is useful to anyone interested in drafting a similar pattern. Be careful with this type of ‘French dart’ as you can end up with a ‘pointy boob’ situation if the end of the dart is too close to the apex of the bust, so it can be worth shortening the dart a smidgen more than you would if it was in another position. As this fabric is really busy it is pretty forgiving but in a different fabric the darts might look slightly off. Not that anyone should be paying that close attention to the dart positions on your clothes (unless they are a fellow sewing aficionado).
The skirt is a slightly modified version of the skirt I used for this dress. For the sleeves I followed the ‘very flared sleeve’ method from Winifred Aldrich’s classic ‘Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear‘ book.
For the back, I cut two pieces that look like this:
I wore this dress to my dear friend Anna’s wedding on the Isle of Mull recently and as always seems to be the case when I make something for a particular event, somehow I end up hemming it at 1 in the morning the day before I need to get a train or a plane…all part of the fun! (You can read more about Anna’s wedding in my last post as I also made her wedding skirt!)
These pictures were taken a few weeks ago just before all the leaves on this tree started to fall!