Hi, everyone. Happy week before Thanksgiving! Today I have a lovely linen blouse to share with you. This is the Fibre Mood Norma blouse.
I got this for free when Fibre Mood gave it away as part of a sewing challenge.
It took me awhile to get around to making it, but I got there in the end! Actually, this version was inspired by melt.stitches who made Norma in bone colored linen. I think I saw her version on Pinterest or the Fibre Mood site, and fell in love with this top in a pale linen.
I had read numerous blog posts by people who had gotten linen from fabrics-store.com and been happy, so when white midweight linen went on sale, I snapped some up. It was very nice when I got it, both before and after washing, and made me think of the midweight linen I had bought from Fabric Mart to make my yellow Roscoe Blouse. Cutting and sewing the fabric was great. I did find one flaw in the fabric that I didn’t notice until after I had cut everything out, but luckily it ended up on a facing, so no one but me (and all of you) will see it.
For this pattern, I made a 16 bust, 16 waist, and for the hip, I straddled the line between a 16 and 18 (this is in the US sizing). I made a note to myself to cut wide seam allowances at the hip in case I wanted to let the seams out a bit there for more room, but I think I forgot all about it when I got to cutting and sewing. I did a major broad back adjustment, as I often do on shirts, and that worked out great.
I also lengthened the sleeve cuff since I wanted them loose enough around my lower arms to be comfortable whether the sleeve was hanging down or pulled up over my elbows.
When Fibre Mood first started, you had to add seam allowances to all of their patterns. This often (though not always) seems to be the preference in European patterns. I don’t think this originally had seam allowances, but in my copy of the pattern, it does, which was nice–one less step to do!
The order and steps for sewing this were a little bit different than some patterns I have used, and I really enjoyed the change. This pattern often has you finish seam allowances before sewing pieces together. This works out great if you are going to serge or zigzag your edges.
If you plan to finish your seams together, you will need to change things around a bit, but that wouldn’t be too tricky.
After hemming, I sewed my facings down. I HATE facings that flap around. I know facings are supposed to give you a beautifully finished edge without stitching around it, however I don’t mind the look of a stitched down facing as much as I mind my facings flapping around and getting wrinkled every time they go through the wash.
I took a bit of time going back and forth over my button choices, and chose some vintage white (shell?) buttons from the collection my mother-in-law gave me.
I’m really happy with how they look. I had thought about green glass or pink plastic buttons, also from that collection, since I love distinctive details, but because I don’t have a lot of white shirts in my wardrobe, I wanted this one to be versatile and neutral.
There’s a nice tip at the end of the pattern to add some tulle into the shoulder area if you want to keep your sleeve heads extra puffy. I didn’t do that this time, but it’s a great idea.
Changes for next time and overall thoughts
If I were to make this again, I would do a few things. It’s clear to me that I need to do a forward shoulder adjustment as the top ends up shifting back as I wear it.
This doesn’t affect how it feels. It really just affects how it hangs on my body, giving it the look of a shirt with a high-low hem. It works out well for this shirt because the neckline is a little low for me (another thing I would change if I made this again), but because the shirt tends to shift to the back, it effectively raises the neckline to a point I’m comfortable with. Other than that, maybe I would lengthen it an inch or two, but I’m not really sure. That would be a good round three potential change, if I got that far with this pattern.
Otherwise, though, I love this shirt. I have been reaching for it a lot. While I don’t think I need a million of these shirts in my closet, I like this enough that I wouldn’t mind one or two more, and I would definitely consider using a midweight linen again–it’s so nice. It’s turned out to be a great (and pretty!) wardrobe workhorse as we have transitioned into the cooler weather.
Hey, everyone! Sorry I missed you last week. It was finally COVID time in our house after managing to avoid it for so long. Luckily, not everyone got it and it wasn’t too bad. I’m happy to be back to blogging this week, though.
McCall’s 6848 was my last summer project, finished in September. I really didn’t think it would still be weather-appropriate in November, but we have had some warm days here!
It’s been great to wear the shirt a bit and get a feel for what I do and don’t like about it. First, details!
This is McCall’s 6848, View C, which is technically a pajama top, but it’s just a good boxy top in general, so I like it for daily wear.
It’s from 2013, so it’s out of print now, but is probably findable on Etsy or eBay.
I have made this pattern several times before, making it a real TNT for me (a tried-‘n’-true pattern). I still have several of my previous versions of this around, and although I have changed sizes, they still fit since this pattern has a fair amount of positive ease. For this version, I made an XL bust, XL waist, and XL/XXL hip. I used a “neon highlighter pink” silk crepe de Chine (CDC) fabric from Fabric Mart that was one of their NY Designer fabrics. I don’t actually know which NY Designer this is from, but I picked it for the substrate and the color rather than the designer status. I really like silk CDC. It’s such a nice, drapey, wearable fabric. I don’t find it hard to sew, and I throw mine in the washer and dryer rather than dry cleaning. This was a great deal, too, at just over $10/yard.
This pattern is pretty quick and easy to sew. I used French seams on the shoulder and side seams, which looks so nice.
I did notice, at this size, that the shoulders seemed to be different lengths for front and back. It’s possible that I traced something wrong, or maybe it was the pattern. I didn’t feel like going back and checking the original pattern, so I just made sure the shoulders lined up at the neck. I figured I could trim the armhole if necessary.
The neck binding is a really nice touch on this pattern.
I suggest trimming down the seam allowances a bit before applying it to make things easier on yourself.
For the finish at the armhole, I skipped the basting and did a one inch double turned hem, sort of diagonally folding under the areas at the bottom of the armhole.
One additional thing I added that was not in the pattern, was some little lingerie straps on the shoulder seams near the neckline.
This top would really make a great pajama top, but since I wanted to wear mine as an every day top, I didn’t want it to keep slipping from one side to the other and showing my bra straps. I found some lace seam binding in my stash that coordinated remarkably well. After estimating the length by comparing it to my bra strap and adding in some extra, I sewed one end to my seam allowance and then sewed snaps to the other end at the part of the seam allowance closest to the neck. When I tried using these by snapping them around my bra straps, I initially thought things looked pretty wonky, but once I moved everything into the correct spot, it was perfect! The shirt no longer slid around on my shoulders. It stayed perfectly in place.
As for the shirt as a whole, I don’t really love it untucked, but I do like it tucked in or tucked in the front.
It’s a wonderfully breezy, comfortable shirt. I’m really glad I made it. It can join the two others in my closet. 🙂
To check out my other versions of this pattern, click the links below:
So…I may have made this t-shirt last spring, and am just now blogging it.
And maybe it’s been hanging up on a hanger near my sewing machine waiting patiently to be blogged after only having been worn a handful of times. Yikes.
Now that it’s getting cooler again, I want to wear this shirt! I love those leopards! Not leopard print, but actual leopards, which I like much better.
This is the Thread Theory Woodley Tee in the women’s sizing, sewn up in 100% cotton jersey from Joann’s POP kids fabric line plus some ribbing, which I think is 100% cotton, although it may contain some spandex. I really like this new line, and find a lot of fabrics and prints I like for me, as well as prints I would use if I were making clothes for kids. Unfortunately, I don’t see these two fabrics on their site, so they may be sold out. In the past, I have felt pretty unimpressed with the fabric selection at Joann’s, but in recent years, they have started to sell more options that I really like.
The Woodley Tee is a relaxed-fit t-shirt that’s meant to be a great basic.
I was really excited to try this since my preferred t-shirt fit of late is more relaxed. I also like that you can use low-stretch knit fabric with this pattern. I made version 1, the solid color/long sleeve option.
When I looked at the finished measurements, I decided to size up one size. After sewing the shirt, I think I would always do that on the arms, as I wouldn’t want them to fit any closer. They’re just right one size up. I could go either way on the body. Probably I would size up one again, as I did here, but if I didn’t, I think it would also be fine.
As for construction, it was pretty straightforward with one addition you don’t always see in t-shirt patterns. This pattern has a shoulder binding on the inside that works to stabilize the shoulders (so you don’t have to sew in elastic or twill tape) and gives a really professional finish.
I won’t say I managed to sew it in perfectly. I found it a little tricky, but I got it well enough in the end. To be fair, I doubted the instructions since they didn’t tell you to stabilize the shoulders at the beginning, so I went ahead and did it myself with twill tape. Then I got down to the shoulder binding and realized I should have just trusted the pattern (or read all the way through before starting). Since the shoulders were already stabilized, I didn’t bother to cut my fabric on grain. I just cut it on the cross grain to save fabric and since my fabric was directional. Next time, hopefully, I’ll just do what the pattern says.
Other than that little hiccup, everything went great! I skipped the pocket, used the serger on the main seams, and zigzagged the hem. Initially I wasn’t sure how I liked the shirt, but now I’m into it.
I like the fit and the fun design on the fabric. I think I would make this again. The color blocked option is one that would be fun to try, too. It’s a great way to use up some scraps. So, if you’re looking for a relaxed-fit tee, I can highly recommend this pattern which comes, not only in women’s sizing, but also in men’s. Thread Theory always has excellent, high-quality patterns, and this one is no exception.
Let’s start with the pants! These pants, made using Simplicity 8841, are a repeat pattern for me–not something I always do. Each sewist/craftsman/artist has a way they like to dive into projects, and for me, it usually involves trying something new, often a new pattern, so I rarely circle back to previous patterns unless I really liked them and want more versions in my closet or they are just right for the fabric I want to use. I really liked the style of these pants, and I wear my first version a lot. However, I kind of overfit that version, and I thought I could do better…plus I really did want more of these in my closet!
The other thing that drove this repeat performance was some great denim I found at Joann’s. It was 100% cotton, and pink from being vegetable-dyed. The vegetable dye made me curious about how the color would hold…and I really like this shade of pink. Simplicity 8841 seemed like a good match for the denim. I got what I needed when it was on sale. Yay!
According to my measurements, I was a size 24 in this pattern. It only went up to a 22, so I did some very inexpert, cheater-style grading. I looked at the distance between the last few pattern sizes, and sized up the largest size by that amount, by just tracing around it, and trying to make things look like they would have if there had been one more size. I wanted to make View D, but with the longer length of View C. This was pretty easy to do.
Using the book, Sewing Pants that Fit from The Singer Sewing Reference Library, I added 1.5″ to the back crotch length by making a wedge adjustment for a protruding seat. This entailed cutting into my back pattern piece from the crotch seam to the hip, without cutting all the way through. I then tipped the top of the pattern up 1.5″ making the back crotch seam of the pattern longer. After doing that, you have to smooth out the hip/outseam because making that wedge creates a little divot at the side seam.
Then I lengthened the back crotch point by 1.5″ and lowered it 0.25″ to true the pattern. This can help with full thighs or a protruding seat. I have found that it works for me, whatever the reason may be. I tend to need more length in the back with Big 4 patterns. Somehow it always feels a little bit like trial and error, but I usually end up making the maximum crotch seam length adjustments on the back pattern piece and find those really comfortable.
These pants are pretty straightforward to put together with good directions.
I changed up how I inserted the elastic into the waistband a little bit, but otherwise followed the directions as written. Since these pants have no fly, and only front patch pockets, I pushed myself to finish them before meeting up with a friend who was visiting. It’s always really fun to have something new to wear for something like that, and it’s good for me to occasionally give myself artificial deadlines to speed a project on.
Once I started wearing the pants, I had a few thoughts about them. They are definitely a style I like, and they’re very comfortable. The dye in the fabric seems to be holding well, too.
I’m not sure I love how they look, even though I love how they feel. They look a little too big to me. I’m all about preserving design ease and not making the smallest size you can squeeze your body into, but maybe I could have made these a little smaller, especially since the size 22 pants that I made do still fit. The other iffy part is that the waistband doesn’t feel as strong as I want it to. The pants stay up just fine, but it feels like if I load up my pockets, things could get saggy. Yikes.
I have toyed with the idea of taking off the waistband and cutting a new one that would allow for 2″ wide elastic, like the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Pants pattern, but I cannot tell you how much I really don’t like going back into patterns once I have finished them. I know they would be more wearable if I altered them, but the joy of alterations is not the reason I sew. The fact that they do fit and are comfortable will probably be enough for me to wear them and not bother to alter them. The good news is that the paper pattern adjustments I made were good. I don’t feel like the back of the pants are too short or tight (i.e. no wedgies or “plumber’s butt”–yay!). They feel just right.
The real kicker, though, is that while writing this, I looked back at the blog post I wrote for the first pair of pants I made, and those had the same problems! Yes, if I had carefully read my own post before starting on these, I wouldn’t have graded up, and I probably would have tapered the legs of the pants. I still would have made the flat pattern adjustments I made this time–I did remember the need for those–but I could have made an even better pair of pants if I had listened to my past self and reminded myself of all the changes that would have been helpful. Oops.
So, I guess this project is a little bit of a mixed bag, but overall good. I do recommend the pattern if you are looking for a simple pair of elastic-waist pants. These could definitely work, construction-wise, for a beginner, and they are loose enough that you wouldn’t have to think about fitting to the level you would with a pair of skinny jeans or something like that. I would potentially make these again, with some slight tweaks (after actually reading this post and my last one; haha).
News from the Fair!
And now for something unrelated, but awesome! If you read this blog regularly, you may remember that I submitted some garments to the Topsfield (Massachusetts) Fair for the first time. Well, the cardigan I knitted got a first place ribbon, and the reversible vest I sewed got both a first place ribbon and Best in Show! I was so excited!!! I knew that I had worked up to my skill level at the time and pushed myself beyond on those projects, but it’s really, really nice to occasionally have some outside validation for your work, from people who also make things.
Making clothes is my art practice. My work will probably never be in a gallery, and I don’t want to turn it into a business, so I don’t get that kind of positive professional critique on a normal basis, so it means a lot. That being said, I do very much appreciate all the cheerleading and support I get from my family and friends. That is what has really kept me going all these years.
My parents and kids were with me when I went to see all the entries, and they can tell you that I had a pretty big smile on my face. What a great experience!!!
Hi, everyone! It’s fall! Yay! While I still have a few summer projects to show you, time really got away from me this week, and I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of them. What I do have pictures of, though, are a few projects perfect for the start of fall: two more Twig + Tale leaf blankets and a quick upcycle. All of these projects are almost a year old (yikes!), but just haven’t made it to the blog yet.
Last October, I whipped up a Quaking Aspen Leaf Blanket from the North American collection for a friend that was visiting. I used a golden corduroy left over from some pants I made since aspen leaves turn yellow, and for the other side, I used the last scraps of this bit of green blanket someone gave me years ago.
I also used it on my own Monstera Leaf blanket (which I still love and use all the time). This blanket came together really fast, as these blankets all do, and was a fun present to give my friend.
The other leaf blanket I made was the English Oak from the European Collection. I wanted a blanket to use on our couch, and I let my husband pick which leaf shape he liked best since he loves trees. I used a cream twill originally from Fabric Mart that I have used in many projects, and I backed it with a mystery home dec fabric that feels like cotton.
I have probably had this fabric since before I began sewing regularly. I really had to piece it together to make it work!
While I like the shape of the oak leaf blanket, I don’t love the finished object as much as the others that I have made. I think it’s something with my fabric choice. It’s good functionally, but it’s just not my favorite one. Still, it works well, and I’m glad I made it.
One other project I did last October was a quick little upcycle. Sometimes it’s the details that make a garment, and that was the case here. I thrifted a nice flannel shirt for my husband, but it wasn’t quite his style, so I kept it for myself. I liked it, but it kind of needed something. I realized that if I just changed out the buttons for some really fun ones, it would give the shirt a distinctive detail without much work required and would make it more interesting and fun to wear.
Of course, this completely dovetailed with my desire to try out some of the super fun buttons by Tabitha Sewer that Pintuck & Purl had in stock. Yes! I chose some that are neon pink with neon orange edges…or maybe neon orange with pink edges? These buttons aren’t cheap, so ironically, my “small details” cost more than the shirt, but oh, well. Tabitha Sewer has so many fun buttons, but so far I have held off buying more until I have a specific project for them. Adding some to this shirt turned it from something a little too normal into something really fun! That also means I wear it a lot more. I am so motivated by good colors in my creative work. I just love the fun they bring.
All these projects are great for fall! Have you tried making a leaf blanket? Do you have favorite details you add to bring a garment from just ok to extra special? Let me know!
Hey, everyone! Long time, no post! That was unexpected, but we’re all fine over here. One week Flickr (where I store my blog photos) was down when I needed to upload. Then our computer showed the blue screen of death and was out of commission for awhile–luckily that has been fixed. And then it was school vacation week. Life! What are you going to do? Oh, well. Thankfully I’m back, and while it’s been a surprisingly busy week, I really wanted to get this post out.
It’s been awhile since I had a real craft fail, but these tights are definitely that! And it’s not the fault of the pattern. Oh, no. It was a combination of user error in the form of a serious rookie mistake and a miscalculation on my part about how stretchy my fabric was and what that meant for the pattern.
So let’s dive in! I made tights! Yes, I actually MADE TIGHTS! You don’t see a lot of patterns for tights, although it’s not hard to imagine that you could combine a leggings and sock pattern or something, but as someone who loves sewing from a pattern more than drafting or hacking patterns, I wanted a tights pattern. After making my fun wedding guest outfit back in October, I realized that the cost of awesomely-colored tights could really add up. I started to wonder if there were any patterns out there to make your own. That’s when I stumbled on this blog post from Lauren Taylor’s blog, Lladybird. A long time ago, she had tried out the Rose Hip Tights by Seamster Patterns.
This is an “old” pattern as far as modern indie patterns go, and it came out before there were a lot of indie patterns on the market as we know them today. That made it a little hard to track down because Seamster Patterns seems to have disappeared in the mid-twenty-teens. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found the pattern on Kollabora, so I bought it and tried to download it.
Here’s a PSA for any of you that think that is a good idea–don’t do it.
I couldn’t get the pattern to download on my computer. It seems the site had made me a mysterious login and password which I hadn’t chosen and couldn’t access. After searching the internet, I started to see forums and discussions pop up where other people had tried the same thing, paid money, and gotten no pattern and no response from Kollabora. I had also e-mailed both Kollabora and a blogger friend who had once made the pattern to try to find out what happened, but had gotten no response from Kollabora.
Then I remembered reading an article by the Craft Industry Alliance about the founder of Kollabora and her newest venture, CraftJam, so I e-mailed the help section of CraftJam to see if they could assist me, even though it seemed like a bit of a long shot. Around the same time, my blogger friend sent me a copy of the pattern, since I had paid for it and didn’t seem to be getting a response from Kollabora.
Luckily, CraftJam was both very responsive and kind enough to dig up the pattern and send it to me. Their customer service was amazing and they really went above and beyond since they are a different website from Kollabora altogether.
As for Kollabora, while it’s still around, it isn’t really active at this point. That’s a long, drawn out story, but I wanted to share it in case anyone else has the same issue that I did. I don’t recommend flooding CraftJam with questions about Kollabora. I just wouldn’t try to buy any patterns from Kollabora at this point since it seems to be largely inactive at the moment. Maybe someday a new company will buy it and revitalize it, but as of this writing I don’t think that has happened.
All of that means that I’m now blogging a pattern that is more or less unavailable, which is an interesting choice. I know. I still want to discuss it, though, because some of you may have this pattern, but have never tried it, and I have a not-so-good memory, which means I might just forget I made these tights if I don’t blog them! Haha. Sad, but true!
So let’s get to it. This is the first time I have ever tried a Seamster Pattern, and this one is really cool. The Rose Hip Tights have options for thigh high stockings, low rise tights, and high rise tights. I decided to make the high rise tights. It’s clear that the designer put a lot of thought into these. There are only four pattern pieces–the main leg piece, the foot, the crotch gusset, and the waistband (or leg band for the thigh high stockings). The seams are strategically placed to look nice and not chafe, which is cool, and there are instructions for how to adapt the pattern to your fabric depending on your height, foot length, and the fabric’s stretch. The sewing is not too difficult. I think I did all or almost all of it on my serger. (I’m struggling to remember since I made these in fall 2021). Overall, it was a nice, quick project. And the thought that I could have tights in whatever color I wanted was pretty appealing.
I decided to try the pattern out first with double brushed polyester (DBP), which I bought from Cali Fabrics. I got some in mustard yellow and some in lavender. DBP is, as far as I can tell, what they make those super soft leggings everyone loves out of. And the nice thing is that the fabric is usually not very expensive. Seems like a win, right? Well, it could be…if you don’t mess it up like I did. Hahahaha. Here’s where the rookie mistake comes in.
When you cut out a pattern piece on folded fabric, you are actually cutting out two mirrored pattern pieces. When you cut a pattern out on a single layer of fabric and need two of a pattern piece, you need to cut one with the pattern right side up and one with the pattern upside down to get those mirrored images. Well…in my mustard fabric I cut two right side up. Yep. I’ve been sewing for a respectable number of years now, and I totally did that to myself. And the real kicker is that I didn’t even notice until I was sewing the crotch seam, almost at the end of the process! I was very confused for a moment there! Haha. Then I figured it out, but I was so close to the end, that I just decided to finish them so I could at least check the fit. Guess what? Perfect fit! Too bad one leg will always look inside out.
Sadly, the purple pair is also a bust.
These two fabrics had a slightly different amount of stretch to them, and using the calculations in the pattern, I decided to sew an XL and lengthen the yellow by 4″ and shorten the purple by 2″. I did not change the foot length. Figuring out exactly how much to shorten or lengthen was the one part of this pattern that I found confusing. I managed to cut the purple fabric out correctly and the sewing went great. When I put them on, however, the crotch of the tights was probably about 2″ too low. Looks like I didn’t need to shorten them after all. Ugh. I knew I would never wear these as tights if they fit like that. Another fail! (A pretty funny fail, just like the last one, but a fail nonetheless.)
On the plus side, I tried one pair of tights with optional elastic in the waistband, and the other without, and I liked both options. The feet fit great, and it was a cool pattern with a great fit overall.
After telling my mom about it, she suggested cutting off the feet and using them as footless tights, leggings, or pajamas. This seemed like a brilliant idea (Thanks, Mom!), so I did that and just used my regular sewing machine to make a little bar tack at the edge on the serged seam so it wouldn’t come undone. After testing these, I found they wouldn’t work as regular leggings for me, since they are a little see-through. On my daughter’s purple leggings (blogged here), there is a bit more ease, and they really aren’t see-through. With the tighter fit of these on me, though, they are. So, they could still be pajamas (the yellow) or footless tights (the purple). And maybe the feet could make some “interesting” socks? I don’t know. In all honesty, these may not stay in my wardrobe for long, but we’ll see.
And despite the total failure of this particular project, having this pattern in my pattern library really is a win. It’s a good pattern with real potential. I also appreciate a good laugh at my own expense once in awhile. 😀
That being said, if you have a great tights sewing pattern or fabric recommendations for sewing tights, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
We’re in the last few weeks of fall, winter starts on December 21, and the temperature is dropping! Time to work on cold-weather clothes. Yay! Now, I’m not talking about coats. That’s an area I haven’t yet explored. I’m talking about the clothes you wear throughout your day.
I don’t live in the coldest place in all the world, but it does get cold here in Massachusetts. We usually have a respectable amount of snow, and the temperature spends plenty of time below freezing. I get cold. But the Alaskan proverb I used as part of the title of this post has proven true for me. I have learned how to layer, and in order to do that, I need clothes with some room in them, unless they are made of stretchy, warm fabric. So let’s talk patterns and fabric that will work for winter and winter layering!
During the cold months, I typically wear a camisole, t-shirt, sweater/sweatshirt, and then sometimes another sweater, vest, or flannel shirt over that, if I’m really cold. I love the idea of wearing cute woven tops, but I always reach for the knit t-shirts. If you find that you do the same, here are a few to try:
This t-shirt is “a classic relaxed fit t-shirt sewing pattern”, according to Thread Theory’s website. It looks like the perfect everyday t-shirt. Thread Theory pays meticulous attention to detail, so you know that any pattern from them will be high quality. They also have a men’s version of this pattern here.
Not only am I excited about this pattern because I know Thread Theory creates great things, I’m also excited that it’s being shown as a pattern you can do real work in (check out the other pictures in the pattern listing on the site to see what I mean). No, I don’t work on a farm (at least not yet), or on a construction site, but I still like clothes I can “get things done” in. I work in my home, and I need to be able to do a million different jobs in my everyday clothes, not to mention that I love quality workwear as a clothing type for its design and durability.
Another pattern that I have long wanted to try, but haven’t yet is Vogue 8950, which is one of their “Very Easy Vogue” patterns.
This pattern would be great with leggings or if you need a shirt long enough to tuck in. It could also help you use some smaller off-cuts of fabric you might have around for the back, chest, and shoulder sections.
Another top that you could take in a lot of different directions (base layer, fancy top, everyday shirt, sweater) is Burda Style 6990.
This raglan top can have a wide or narrow neckline, mock turtle, turtle neck, or cowl neck, as well as a few different lengths. I wish Burda Style’s size range was more expansive, but regardless, it looks like a good pattern, and is listed as “super easy”.
For a raglan with a few different options, but more expansive sizing, check out the Visby Henley from Itch to Stitch.
I made this last year, and found it to be a great pattern.
Pants and Leggings
I like two types of bottoms in the winter: either woven pants with room for long underwear underneath or leggings–the cozier the fabric, the better.
The woven pants I’m excited about this winter are from Simplicity 8391*, a pattern I have really grown to love.
The pants in this pattern are cropped, but it’s easy to add length. My last pair was made from denim.
It would be a cinch to add another inch or two and make these from velveteen or wool (lined, of course), both of which I have in my stash. Keep the decorative buttons, like I did on my denim pair, for a cute sailor-inspired look, or leave them off and make straight/wide leg dress pants. It would be no problem to wear a pair of long underwear pants, leggings, or tights underneath for added warmth.
For an (almost) all-in-one option, what about the overalls from Kwik Sew 3897*?
I had sort of written this one off as not quite what I wanted until I saw Martha’s version of it on her blog, Buried Diamond. I absolutely love her overalls. In fact, I highly recommend her blog for some major sewing and bright color inspiration.
Now, let’s think about leggings! My favorite leggings in the colder months are the ones made from stretch fleece, like Polartec Power Stretch. I source most of my Polartec fleece online from Mill Yardage. My husband got me their complete swatch pack, since Polartec makes so many different types of fleece, and it has really helped me choose the right fabric for various projects, even when ordering from sites other than Mill Yardage. Power Stretch is one of my favorites.
I think it would be great used in the free Peg Legs Pattern from Patterns for Pirates.
From what I have read, they fit like compression leggings, so if you want that fit, use your size according to your measurements. If you want a slightly more relaxed everyday fit, go up one size.
I really can’t believe I haven’t tried this pattern yet. Not only is the the basic pattern free, they have created an add-on pattern with different options like side pockets, colorblocked side panels, a contour waistband, etc.
Now we need something to wear over the t-shirt or over the sweater that’s over the t-shirt. I’ve got it covered! (haha, no pun intended)
One very intriguing sweatshirt/sweater I found is Vogue 1635.
I hadn’t even noticed this pattern until I saw Lori’s version of it on her blog, Girls in the Garden. It’s a really interesting pattern that uses a zipper as a design element along one sleeve and up into the collar.
Just about the only woven shirts I wear when the weather gets cold are flannels and shirt jackets. Simplicity came out with a unisex pattern in three lengths that looks really cool. It’s Simplicity 9388, and I’ve already seen the longer version making the rounds on a few different blogs.
McCall’s 7913* is great if you have a pre-quilted fabric or if you want to quilt your own. This one is also unisex and has a shirt jacket or a vest option.
I love a good vest. Right now I’m in the process of making the Men’s Santiam Vest from The Green Pepper Patterns for myself, since the size range in the women’s version was a bit smaller than what I wanted.
I’m pretty excited about this one, but I seem to be sewing at a glacial pace these days, so it’s coming, but it’s not ready yet. I’m planning to use some insulated Carhartt canvas I got at Field’s Fabrics in Holland, MI this summer, and I’m going to line it in a curly Polartec fleece from The Rain Shed and add wool accents. So exciting!
I’m also interested in The Green Pepper’s pattern for the Plush Polar Jacket and Vest (#507). I have a gray fleece vest from L.L. Bean that I got in high school, and these days it’s a little snugger than I would like. I’d love to replace it with one that fits me better in a fun color. Someday!
If I wanted to dress up, I like Burda 7769, which I have had in my pattern library for a long time, but have never made.
It looks like they have reissued this pattern with updated photos. Wouldn’t it be cool in wool or velveteen? Yes, it would! I don’t need too many nicer-looking clothes these days, but I do need a few, and this would be fun.
One last vest that you could make look sporty or dressy is Simplicity 1499.
I made this once from a quilted flannel I upcycled, but I have never tried View C. That style could easily be made nice for when you want to look a little more put together.
Hopefully this has given you a few more winter things to try. I always love seeing pattern round-ups and people’s ideas of different patterns for different seasons. What are you sewing that you are excited about this season?
*For any patterns no longer listed on their company’s website, I have linked to Pattern Review, so you can see a picture of the pattern with line drawings. This usually means the pattern is out of print. Out of print patterns can often be found on third party websites like Etsy and eBay.
Hi, everyone! My blogging has certainly slowed down a bit, but I’m back today with a whole bunch of knitted hats I made over the last year or two that have yet to make an appearance on the blog. So uncharacteristic! Luckily, this means I have a good-sized group to share, some of which were real successes, and some of which missed the mark. Since my knitting skills are not as advanced as my sewing skills, this is pretty much par for the course. I love knitting hats, though, because I like wearing hats, and they are a smaller project, so they don’t take as long to knit as a sweater or something larger might. If you’re a knitter, maybe you’ll discover a new pattern here. Let’s dive in! First up, successes.
Hats that Worked!
Pattern: High Cliff
Pattern source/designer: the book Plum Dandi Knits by Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary; this pattern is by Melissa Schaschwary
Yarn: bulky; I used a really beautiful hand-dyed 85% wool/15% mohair yarn that I got from Pindrop Shop on Etsy during last year’s Black Friday sale.
Of all the hats here, this is my most successful and most recently made hat. I checked this book out from the library, and chose this pattern because I have been wanting to try cables again, and this just has one big one. It turned out to be really fun, interesting, and fast. I made this hat in three days of very occasional knitting. It probably helped that I made it an inch and a half shorter than the pattern calls for.
As for the yarn, it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to use it for, but it was perfect for this hat. To my delight, the yarn sort of faded from one color to the other, reminding me of decorative corn where each kernel is a different color.
I still have to decide if it needs a pompom.
This hat fits great, and I have already worn it a lot. I love it!
Pattern: Ribbed Watchman’s Hat
Pattern source/designer: Channah Koppel
Yarn: worsted; Encore by Plymouth yarn, which is 75% acrylic/25% wool and is machine washable; I got this at Yarn on Front in Dowagiac, MI
This hat is actually a gift (shhh!), but I think I’m safe. I don’t think the intended recipient reads my blog. This was knit to said intended recipient’s requirements: a ribbed hat that is machine washable in yellow with a fold-up brim.
I’ve been really into the Twisted German Cast On lately, so I used that to cast on, and I knit to 11 inches before decreasing, rather than the 9.5 inches in the pattern, so that the brim could be turned up. This took me awhile, but not forever, and I think it turned out pretty well. Hopefully it’s well-received!
Pattern source/designer: Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits
Yarn: fingering; Sock Yarn by Birch Dyeworks in colorway Pixie on a Bender, which is 80% superwash merino wool/20% nylon
Perennial by Kelbourne Woolens in Purple, which is 60% superwash merino wool/25% suri alpaca/15% nylon
Both yarns came from Pintuck & Purl; the Birch Dyeworks yarn was actually given to me by Maggie, the owner, for some socks we were going to knit together that we…uh…never really completed. I think we knit about half an inch before calling it quits. Haha.
New Technique: BRIOCHE KNITTING!
I am so proud of this hat. I had never successfully knit brioche before trying this hat, so I was barely hanging on through this whole pattern. There are a ton of mistakes in it, but due to my inexperience with brioche, I wasn’t sure how to fix them, and sometimes I’m sure I didn’t even notice them! Somehow, though, I made it through, and I love this hat. I think it is probably a little slouchier than it should be, but I don’t even care.
It’s really a testament to Andrea Mowry’s great patterns and YouTube video support that I even completed this. Someday I will have to try another brioche project to really get the technique down. One of my favorite things about this kind of knitting? It’s reversible!
As for the yarn, I love, love, love both of these yarns. Mary, the owner of Birch Dyeworks is a real artist who has an amazing eye for color, and is excellent in several crafting arenas. There are a lot of beautiful hand-dyed yarns out there, but Mary’s are some of my favorites. And the Perennial is soft and lovely. I have it in a few colors and definitely need to use it more. If I were to do this pattern again, I don’t know that I would use this exact color combination, but I would definitely look for colors that contrast like these do to really make the design stand out.
The Hat that Worked Some of the Time
Pattern source/designer: Wild Honey Design on Etsy; no longer available
Yarn: the blue and light pink hats are made from Comfort DK by Berroco in colors 2705 (light pink) and 2753 (indigo blue); this yarn is 50% super fine nylon/50% super fine acrylic; I got this at Coveted Yarn in Gloucester, MA
the purple, gray, and white hat is in worsted weight 100% Shetland wool yarn from Yates Farm in Vermont many years ago
This wasn’t a well-written pattern, but the color chart was a lot of fun. The pattern says to use Alafosslopi yarn, which is a bulky weight, but I have tried it in various yarns with various needle sizes to adjust the sizing. It looks like I didn’t take as many notes as I should have, but my first try in DK yarn gave me about a toddler or teddy bear sized hat. I often (though not exclusively) like natural materials, and before buying this Berroco Comfort DK, I confess to being a little bit snobby in my heart about yarn, only wanting to use wool or alpaca or something. This yarn really changed my mind. It is a delight to knit with and washes and wears great!
For my second try, I used larger needles and came up with a larger child’s size.
After that, I tried some of my worsted Shetland yarn that, for me, with my looser knitting, typically knits up to a bulky gauge. It worked, but the brim let the wind blow through while the colorwork section was pretty warm.
If I were to do this again with the same Shetland yarn, I would double the length of the brim so I could fold it up, and go up one needle size for a better fit in the colorwork area. I absolutely loved the look of this purple and gray hat, but in the end, I gave it away because I could tell I wouldn’t wear it if the wind blew through the part over my ears, and I was too lazy to alter it! I don’t like to go back into old projects. I’m still coming around to the idea that I can unravel knitwear that didn’t work out the way I wanted.
Despite the sparse directions, I have made enough of my own notes that I would definitely make this again. I love knitting hats and I love stranded colorwork, so this is a good project for me.
Hats that Did Not Work
Before we get to these, I’ll admit that these failed due to user error. I’m definitely still learning!
Yarn: worsted weight 100% Shetland yarn from Yates Farm in Vermont; this pattern calls for chunky weight yarn and this yarn knits to a bulky weight, plus I am a loose knitter, so that probably adds up to chunky, right?
This pattern looks so cool, and I dove in with some of my worsted weight Shetland yarn (I seriously have so much), but somewhere around Round 15, I messed something up, and I could never figure out what I had done. The hat fit fine, but it bugged me. Whatever mistake I had made obscured the design, so I gave the hat away.
I would love to try this again at some point. It’s a really cool design.
Pattern source/designer: Rachel Illsley of Unwind Knitwear
Yarn: white mystery cone yarn given to me by Maggie of Pintuck & Purl; I did a bleach test and it is a natural fiber–I’m guessing wool, maybe superwash; it’s fingering weight
Perennial by Kelbourne Woolens in Neon Coral, which is 60% superwash merino wool/25% suri alpaca/15% nylon; fingering weight; this also came from Pindrop Shop on Etsy during last year’s Black Friday sale
hand dyed lace weight yarn in Lilac Dreams from YouKnitIDye on Etsy; this is 72% ultrafine mohair/28% mulberry silk
So…you’re supposed to use DK weight yarn and lace weight mohair in this pattern. I didn’t have DK that I wanted to use, but I was excited about the colors I had in fingering weight with the mohair, so I held my two fingering yarns double to equal DK. That should have worked, in theory, but the Neon Coral yarn is definitely thinner than the white yarn. Also, I’m a loose knitter who doesn’t do gauge swatches for hats.
My hat came out huge. HUGE! It sort of looked like a toadstool hat when I was done with it. I probably should have only doubled the coral and not the white or just used fingering with the mohair. Oh. And I shouldn’t have made the large slouchy version.
I did eventually (after putting the hat in a long time out) unravel this one. The yarns were a little too special to just get rid of a hat that maybe no one would even want to wear. It was a beast to unravel, though, since I was unravelling five strands of yarn at once. Ugh.
You know, I usually never like leopard print, but I do like it in this hat. The colorwork chart is very interesting. It’s possible that I will revisit it someday. It’s definitely a cool pattern, even if I didn’t make it very well.
Whew! Now I’m all caught up on blogging my knit hats! Hopefully you will find a hat or two you might want to knit, or maybe you can laugh at my mistakes.
On the sewing front, I was actually starting to lose my sewjo, which has never happened to me before. I could never understand how people just stopped wanting to sew, but it began to happen to me. You know what I think it was? My work space was buried under piles and I had a million ideas, but hadn’t committed to a single one.
So, I cleaned up my space, and chose and committed to my next few projects. Then I made a plan to work on them a little bit most days. Now I’m back up and running, so I hope to have some projects to share with you soon. 🙂