Alexandria and Jarrah

Happy Spring lovely sewing people! I’m back outside and I have two new makes to share with you … the ‘Named – Alexandria Peg Trousers’ and the ‘Megan Nielsen – Jarrah Sweater’.

Have you ever ordered some fabric online and loved it so much when it arrived that you instantly shelve all other project plans to make something with it as quickly as possible? Well that’s what happened to me with this gorgeous jacquard jersey from Guthrie & Ghani. It is so, so soft and so, so cute (I have a little collection of real life cacti so I already had a soft spot for them).

Straight away I knew which pattern I wanted to make with it – the Jarrah sweater. I’ve made this top before, I’ve even made this version before (with the tie waist) but in a plain pink fabric that made me feel like a freshly washed piglet.

One of these days I will remember to put on some proper shoes in the photos!

This time around I decided to lengthen the body a little bit. I know this is a very weird thing to do when you’re 5’3″ but I remembered that the previous version, once tied, tended to ride up and leave a little space above the top of my pants. If there’s one thing I CAN’T STAND in winter clothes it’s any access for a cold breeze!

I’ve made the funnel neck version too in the past and it’s a lovely pattern, both to sew and wear. It’s quick to come together and there’s nothing very tricky about it. Probably the most difficult bit is getting the curve around the ties to look neat. With this very stretchy jersey it was fine and I’m happy with the overall finish.

I paired the top with a pair of Alexandria pants that I made a week or so ago. I’ve made these before too but only in jersey so I was interested to see how they work in a woven fabric. (it’s one of those patterns where you can use either). The fabric is a sort of linen, I can’t remember where it came from.

Do you get inspired to sew things by people you see on the street, in a magazine, or on TV? I do all the time and it’s usually a pretty mundane look rather than something super stylised like the Pinterest suggestions I get served up. There was a scene in The Morning Show where a character was wearing some casual sort of sweat pants that I instantly wanted to copy. I didn’t bother pausing the TV to study the pattern or anything so these are probably nothing like the version I saw but I like them all the same. Sometimes the spark of the idea is all you need.

I didn’t shorten them as much as I usually would because I wanted to roll up the bottoms. I also tried to emulate a technique from the Closet Case Pietra pants (made three times so far and not blogged once!) where although they are held up by elastic, the front waistband is kept flat and all the gathering is in the back. I know I am not alone in loving the comfort of stretchy waistbands but not wanting to showcase that I’m wearing elasticated trousers (anyone else in the UK have a horror of looking like something out of the ‘Classics Collection’ in M&S?)

Anyway, this outfit is a bit off track for my resolution of sewing more smart and fancy items but as an ‘around the house’ set I feel it is a success. The only thing I’m less than happy with is the back pockets. I can never just do plain pockets as given in a pattern, I always have to mess around and put my ‘creative stamp’ on them. I’m vaguely aware that there are a set of rules regarding pocket size and placement for ultimate ‘flatteration’ and I’m pretty sure I have made the back as unflattering as possible. Probably they are just spaced too far apart … all suggestions welcome!

Until next time …. happy sewing!

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket

Hello sewing people. and thanks for dropping by. I finally finished it! My Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket and I love it! (Sorry about the miserable grey photos – winter just won’t give up yet here!)

Last year, I didn’t blog much but I was definitely sewing … just not the sort of sewing that’s terribly interesting to show and tell. This year I’m going to get out of the sweatshirt rut and sew some more exciting things.

It wasn’t my goal to have a completely hand-made wardrobe but things are heading that way and it makes me very happy. Moving away from the city two years ago (less access to clothes shops, more space and time to sew) has meant that I’ve been focusing on useful basics. I work from home so I don’t need office appropriate outfits and my social life is far from glamorous so I’ve just been filling my wardrobe with comfy jersey.

Just before the Christmas holidays last year I decided I wanted to get my teeth into a big project. I had a gap in my wardrobe for a fancy winter jacket and really wanted something with a fur (fake of course) collar. I already had the perfect pattern in my stash – the Ninot Jacket (I love Pauline Alice – I want ALL her patterns)

All the fabric and notions came from myfabrics.com who have an amazing range. Their shipping to the UK (I think they’re based in Germany) has got loads quicker than it used to be (for this order it was free as it was over a certain amount.)

For the project I ordered:

2m fulled loden

3 matching buttons (I was so happy that I could get these in the same grey fabric)

1/2 m Whorly Faux Fur

1.3m lining fabric

With the matching thread the order came to £59.17 – so not super cheap but surely cheaper than you could buy most winter jackets for in the shops?

I would say that this pattern is intermediate level. There are some high-end techniques involved such as welt pockets and bound button-holes but the instructions are great and there are some tutorials on the Pauline Alice blog which I found really helpful. I didn’t have any major issues sewing this up, the pattern is very well written and comes together nicely.

For info I am 5’3″ so the length is pretty spot on if you’re on the short side.

I sewed view A which includes the collar but doesn’t have the sleeve tabs. The only change I made was to add fur collar and cuffs. I think the most time-consuming part was hand stitching the lining in place.

The whole project took a few weeks but I did it in small chunks of free time. I’m really happy with the result, it’s cosy and warm and I feel very glam when I’m wearing it.

We are currently being battered by storm ‘Dennis’ so I couldn’t take the photos on my usual ‘posing stone’ outside – these are taken on the inside of the Roundhouse and are a bit rubbish due to it’s a grey coat against a grey wall in the grey British February light (or lack thereof!)