Finished - the repeat offender....

 Lately I've been guilty of repeat offenses with my sewing - not that I'm particularly apologetic about it, but I'm aware it probably doesn't make for very scintillating reading! Looking back the last few months I've made mostly repeats of several basic wardrobe building patterns - Style Arc Elle pants, the Burda dolman tee, the Tessuti Boat Tee, my New Look/Laurel mashup.... I know it's less interesting than reading reviews of new patterns, but my main sewing goal this autumn-winter was to build up my self-made cold-weather wardrobe up with well fitting, warm and wearable clothing. I've got a pretty generous stash going on too, with many pieces of fabric purchased well over 6 months ago (sometimes more) destined for certain types of garments. So I figure the best way to ensure efficient, non-wasteful sewing was to focus on making and remaking those patterns that work well for me. You only need to look at my fairly unexciting MMM 14 posts to see how much wear I get out of these pieces (speaking of MMM I did complete it, but my photo efforts really fizzled out in the end. I'm yawning just thinking about them!).



Anyway, today's outfit is yet another repeat, but I am so happy with the combination. For me it's a perfect winter outfit - warm, chic, comfortable, understated but 100% my style. Last year I found a remnant of a super stretchy very fine black pinwale cord at Rathdowne remnants. Having at least 20% stretch I knew it would probably be ok for a pair of Elle pants but be too stretchy for something like the Colette Clovers (which do best with a 3-5% stretch woven). I've tweaked my Elle pants pattern a few times now and it's about as good as I can get it. I must confess to wearing my ponte version at least once a day (usually in the morning when I get up) and when they're in the wash I'm a bit like a sad small child waiting for their favourite toy to come out of the washing machine.....But back to the corduroy. Most stretch cord tends to have about 5% stretch, so this remnant was a bit unusual. It was about 1.5m - usually I can squeeze a pair of Elle's out of 1m but that crazy lil' thing called nap meant I couldn't invert my pieces. I cut each piece out singly, to ensure perfect grain (I have a pair of fine pinwale RTW cords that have one leg cut off grain and it shits me to tears every time I have to wear them. Which is weekly, to work). Because I was making these 'for good' rather than 'for work' or 'for stretchywear' I wanted them to be a little smarter, so I used this excellent tutorial to give them a snazzy little split hem. The cord was lovely to work with and there was no 'shar pei' issue with this pair! The cording is so fine they almost look velveteen, and has a lush, rich appearance. 



My top is a Renfrew. My first since last winter, when I had a flurry of Renfrew making and then lost interest. I'd been planning this since late last winter, then the weather got too warm and it got bumped. I had an image in my head of how this was going to look, and I couldn't be happier. I used the same deep inky purple wool jersey (in our sad thin winter light it looks more grey in my pics) that I used to make this top, and trimmed it with left over wool from my black wool Renfrew. I absolutely ripped off the neckline idea from the lovely Amy at Sew Well who made a similar Renfrew neckline change a couple of years ago. Similar to Amy, I used the v-neck neckline and neck binding but made the binding triple the width. I then attached the binding with the join at the back, and left about 4cm open at the centre front, at the V. I ummed and aaahed about how to nicely finish the unattached edge, and in the end there wasn't really a nice way to do it. I staystitched along the edge with a straight stitch as I worried that the V-shape would encourage laddering, then zigzagged the raw edges of both the top and the binding. The neck tie is a simple tube that is narrower in the centre to reduce bulk when tied and a little wider on the ends for a cuter bow. 


I actually really like it with and without the tie - I just have to make sure the raw edges of the hole are hidden when I wear it sans tie. This is definitely one of my most favourite makes ever. I'm just thrilled with how it turned out!



 I think a black top with a contrast cream or pale pink neck finish would look gorgeous, or one all in red..... Or stripes with a navy nautical trim.....

I'm very happy with my progress in my rather long list of autumn/winter sewing plans, first posted here. I've ticked off 3 more pairs Elle pants (ponte, brocade and these new cords), 3 long sleeve wool knit tops (pink Mandy Tee, black wool dolman tee and this new Renfrew), my beautiful cherry blossum blouse,  an unblogged ponte pencil skirt, and my recent wool Burdastyle funnel neck jumper. But it is time for some new patterns, and coming up in the next couple of weeks I will be making my first Nettie (striped, of course), trying the Salme Cropped Blazer as part of the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Challenge, and making a lovely wool version of the Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan. Then it will be time to crack on with the rest of my winter sewing - a couple of more long sleeved tops, some winter dresses and some more cardigans. 

What's on your sewing list with the change of seasons, wherever you are in the world?

Comments

  1. I don't find basic wardrobe building pattern posts boring at all. That's all I really want to sew for myself, so I'm happy to read which patterns are drafted well and work as TNT's. Personally, I've had good luck with the Grainline Tees (Scout for wovens and Hemlock for knits.)
    :-) Chris

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    1. Thanks Chris, I'm glad! Can you believe I've never tried a grainline pattern yet? This coming summer I'm definitely giving the maritime shorts a go!

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  2. I really like your top and specially neckline! I might use the idea in future.
    There are some tops and dresses for summer in my list.

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    1. Thanks very much! It's a lovely variation!

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  3. Fab sewing basics - its really important because these are the clothes you end up wearing the most!
    Love the little side split in the hem too - awesome little tweak that looks very professional.

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    1. Thanks Caroline, I was really happy with it!

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  4. You are getting to be the master of pants making! Well done you. And way to go on reaching your sewing goals this winter. Did you end up getting to The Fabric Store during their merino wool sale for your Scarf Neck Cardigan? I still have dreams of this one as well, but missed the damn sale. Ahhhh well I'll just have to knit one instead... and I am!

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    1. Meh I'm just in denial that one day I'll need to master a fly zipper.... No I didn't get to the Fabric Shop - I had zero cash for fabric that week, but I have found some bargain wool knit at a local remnant store that is definitely 'wool rich' which will be a good toile for the cardigan...... Next week I should get to it!

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  5. Lovely pieces both!

    You know, I've been struggling with a similar issue lately with my blog posts. Part of me feels like, "Should I even bother to blog about my tenth {insert pattern name here}?" But the truth is, I love seeing other people's makes - the same pattern done is different fabrics! Like you, I feel that I get redundant sometimes, but I think it's nice to have a large pool of inspiration to draw from.

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    1. Thanks Gail! Ultimately we are sewing for ourselves, not our readers, and it's great to see how others interpret and reinterpret their favourite patterns - like your many Archers, each so different but wonderful!

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  6. You look fabulous! That is all I have to say on the matter :)

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  7. Brilliant Renfrew hack! I think creating many looks from one pattern is an art! Keep posting your 'collections' !

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  8. Now that is one gorgeous outfit! For the record, I think "repeat offender" posts are great - I love seeing how patterns vary with fabrics or the ingenious little tweaks that people come up with.
    As for your autumn/winter sewing plans, I am in awe! Very impressive checklist :D My sewing plans-for-me have ground to halt at the moment; it's all costuming here. Last night I actually dreamed I was being chased by nuns...

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    1. Thanks Danielle! It does help when one has to sew for no one else. I'm guessing that right now raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are NOT a few of your favourite things!

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  9. You know how much I love wardrobe basics... It's so nice to work with a pattern that you've invested precious time to fit! Your outfit looks like a winner, and super versatile as separate pieces. And nice job on that pants hem!

    I wish I could plan out my sewing. The best I can do is keep a gigantic list of potential sewing projects and maybe pick one on a whim if I'm feeling real compliant!

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    1. Thanks Morgan! I do get such pleasure over little details like that hem! I think I'm a planner to the point of slight OCD at times...... I get equal pleasure from the planning and research as the actual sewing a lot of the time, especially if I know I've ironed out most of my fitting issues with a repeat make!

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