Belt Up Fifi - Agnes is Here

 Despite the slightly aggressive title, this is quite a nice post! Let me explain... (Grab a coffee it's a long one.)

Having tried on about 100 pairs of wide leg trousers in various shops, obviously none of them fit. I then bought the Closet Core Mitchell Trousers when they first came out with good intention of getting stuck into those. It didn't happen. I think the complexity and lack of time on my part put me off. They are still on the list, but relegated to next autumn!

Style Arc then popped up with the new Spencer Woven Pant which looked a more casual style. I am a fan of Style ARc and the fit so whizzed up a toile. Ohhh they were not good. The pattern is probably fine but the front pleats gave me some seriously unwanted crotch volume. 

Plus I have realized a fixed waistband just doesn't work for me anymore. They fit on about 1 day every revolution around the center of the Milky Way.

The very wise Fabric Wrangler then had a word and gently stated 'You don't have to reinvent the wheel' in her mystical Oracle way. 

Hmm.. you're right. I don't have to reinvent the wheel - but I can whack a belt on it. 

Enter my TNT pattern - Style Arc Fifi Woven Pants. Of which I made many last year. 

The flat front style and wide waistband are much more flattering for me. (Although I have been informed we're not allowed to say 'flattering' anymore but tough, there it is).

To get that 'trouser' feel I thought it might be nice to add some belt loops so that the back elastic would be hidden a little and create a 'fixed waistband' illusion. I then got carried away and decided to make a matching belt!

I had some amazing teal stretch linen from Minerva bought for a Heather Blazer, however I pilfered it for this project instead.  

I did add some top stitching to create a faux fly and back yoke detail however I should have used a brighter, more contrasting thread as you actually can't see it!

This great video tutorial popped up on Minerva by pure fluke on the day I'd decided to tackle the belt. It made the whole measurement and construction process so easy. 

Essentially you measure waist + 30cm and interface a strip of fabric.This gets stitched and voila, the base of your belt is done.

The fun part is cracking out gadgets. I have a belt hole punch which I use for rivets, snaps etc and eyelets so this got used. I also have a Big Green Machine that makes inserting such hardware a breeze so it gave me a chance to play with that too.

And comfortable wide leg trousers were achieved! They don't look the greatest from the back but I figured that's not my problem I can't see it. 

The stretch of the linen makes them very comfortable to wear and aids with pulling over the hips. It was lovely material to work with and I'd definitely buy some more. Obviously as it's linen, they do crease as soon as you look at them.

 A little added extra to this post is my attempt at a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top. I bought this after it was re-released in the extended size range. I think I made a Size 8 thinking I didn't want it too tight but I did have to take it in a bit and is more of a Size 7. 

It's a fairly simple sew, not much to tell you about that! The instructions are very clear and illustrated in true Tilly style. It's more of a wider neck than I'm used to but I don't hate it. 

 What I do love is the beautiful jersey bought from Hey Sew Sister - this is the Monet Waterlillies cotton jersey and the quality is wonderful. Do check out Georgie's fabric shop - not only is she a lovely human but her fabric choices are gorgeous. 

 Topped off with a little silvery moon sewing label by Sarah Hearts.

If you made it down here well done and thank you! Wishing you all a great week. 

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Snap! It's a Heavy Shirt

 A little menswear today!

We were after a new men's shirt pattern for MrCC and knowing how well Wardrobe By Me patterns fit him - that was the natural place to start.

I opted for the Heavy Shirt - described as an 'oversized shirt for medium-weight fabrics such as flannel, corduroy, twill, denim, or canvas. The shirt has a collar and stand, front placket, chest pockets, and two-piece sleeves with cuffs.'

With regard to size I cut a 2XL and like their other patterns, this was true to size. 

This amazing blue brushed cotton is part of the Minerva core range (bought not gifted!!) and is just so vivid and soft.  I may have to borrow it as it appears to fit Olivia (my mannequin) just fine aswell.

The construction is fairly straight forward save for the two piece sleeve which has a funny little cuff placket I had not come across before. Neither a bind, nor a chimney. A sort of hybrid!

There is however a handy little video on how to deal with that and that too, was fairly straightforward once explained.

The shirt has several pocket options however none of them were requested so a 'plain' shirt was produced as ordered!

As Bagel Cat was present for a lot of the sewing and sitting on the fabric, this label seemed appropriate:

 The best bit of this make is that I had a go at snap fasteners! I ordered some antique gold snap fasteners from TrimmingShop along with the die that inserts them for the Big Green Machine. I love that machine - no fuss hardware installation. 

It was a bit trickier than buttons in so far there was no room for error on the corresponding sides of the button placket. The plaid pattern actually helped with that.

I think I did the placket the wrong way round (male/female directions) but never mind. Gender neutral shirt. 

I am pleased to report the shirt went down well. It was put on immediately and has been worn regularly since!

Another great Wardrobe By Me pattern - excellent instructions and helpful videos to go along. Would recommend. 

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If Staedtler did Coats - Butterick 6720

That time I made a High-Visibility coat disguised as Butterick B6720. Or rather a fluorescent highlighter pen...

So pink it can be seen from space. What with all these UFOs flying around at the moment I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

This absolute mega-fluro boiled wool is from Rainbow Fabrics in a batch I bought before Christmas. I am please to say I have used it all up! Two Alex coats and a B6720 later and there is now room in my sewing space.

PSA – Rainbow Fabrics have 40% off the wools at the moment and there are some beautiful colours left for Spring. If you want a bright pink like this one you can find some here. 

This is a ‘wool-mix’ and perfect for a lighter coat as it has a little drape and softness to it. It cut and sews wonderfully and I didn’t have any issues with it at all. (The fabric – not the coat construction!)

Minerva were having a February ‘#sewnwithButterick’ challenge with prizes to be won. At the beginning of the month, I was kindly gifted this Butterick B6720 pattern. (It sounds so formal without a name!) I have not made many Big 4 patterns, being put off by the ease in previous makes, and so I wasn’t initially sure what size to make.

The chart put me at a L-XL however the pattern comes in two pattern envelopes. S-L and then XL-XXL.

I made a gamble and went for the L pattern envelope assuming there would be crazy ease in there. Once I’d cut all my pattern pieces out I did give them a measure and it was actually a little snug. To counter this, I graded about 1.5cm outwards on each piece and therefore – it ended up being an XL in any event. From this experiment, I would say the pattern is true to size!

The pattern is a classic design – dare I say ‘timeless’? Princess seams give it a nice shape, the back is slightly curved and the pockets are patched on – woop no welts!

 I did modify this coat in a couple of minor ways. The first was to line the pocket pieces. I felt it would just give a much nicer finish to have the pocket interiors lined in some soft satin to match the jacket inside. This was simply a case of stitching 2 pieces together, flipping inside out and ironing. The pocket was then just treated as normal and top-stitched onto the coat where indicated. 

The second ‘modification’ was to entirely ignore the lining instructions. There was some faffy kind of hand-stitching to seam allowance method that I couldn’t be bothered with. I opted to just sew the lining of the coat in it’s entirety – like a mini-lining-jacket – stitch it into the facings of the coat and bag it out. (Much like the Alex Coat method – which had I not just made this I may not have been brave enough to do).

The lining I used was this amazing Ted Baker dead-stock from Fabworks – it has an iguana on!!! ‘Linings must always be jazzy’ mantra remains in place. This is a high-quality satin and you could probably make clothing out of it not just use it as lining. 

There are four very sharp corners in the facing at the collar which presented some challenge. No amount of pivoting and pulling could result in a crisp finish, so a ‘bit messy’ was the result but I can live with that. It was not worth my sanity to re-do it for the 19th time. 

As the wool was a little thinner on this coat, I did pop some tailors shoulder pads in to keep the shape. Not sure if I’ve gone a bit too ‘80s with that but it does the job of non-saggy shoulders.

No buttons, just a belt on this one which means the button-hole maker could breath a sigh of relief.

So here we have it – a pink coat! Cutting it a little fine on the Butterick February front but it got there in the end.

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