Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Vintage Rose Rayon Kalle Shirt Hack

I can't remember which image I saw that inspired this top. I possibly spied it on Pinterest or while I was scrolling through Instagram. All I can remember is that I couldn't find a sewing pattern for it! Again I'd limited my options by wanting to make it last minute before holiday so it had to be a PDF download but it sort of surprised me as I felt sure I'd seen many boxy little button up tops with v-necks around. Anyway, admitting defeat I turned to my pattern stash to see what I could use as a starting point.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

The closest to the vision in my head was the Kalle Shirt & Shirtdress from Closet Case Patterns. I've made a maxi length version of this before which incidentally I also wore a lot on holiday and got a lot of compliments on! This time around I started with the cropped length of the pattern and I cut the size 8 as before. I'm sort of between the 6 and 8 on my top half and could probably stand to go down to the smaller size but I'm happy with the relaxed look of this. It sits nicely across the shoulders and doesn't shift about.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

My first pattern hacking step was the lengthen the shirt by 5cm using the lengthen/shorten lines on the pattern. I decided to do this after seeing Lauren's version and liking how that added bit of length looked. I wanted to have the option to tuck the top in to high waisted bottoms which I now can. I also reduced the size of the centre back pleat in the same way as Lauren by shifting the pattern piece over the edge of the fold of the fabric by 1". This is a really easy way to reduce the roominess of the top without sizing down and potentially ruining the fit across the shoulders.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

Next to create the v-neck I set aside the centre front placket, collar and stand pattern pieces and drew a straight line on my front pattern piece from the edge of the neckline at the shoulder down to the centre front. I used a pattern piece from the Sutton Blouse as a guideline for how deep to go. I think I could have got away with a couple of inches deeper as this is quite modest but very wearable! I then drafted a facing for the new neckline and centre front by tracing the shape of the front edge from the front pattern piece and making it 2" wide (including 5/8" seam allowance) all the way along. The back of the neckline remained the same shape and would now be finished using the yoke so there was no need to draft a facing for that.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

When constructing this new neckline and centre front finish I first attached the facings along the centre front, under-stitched them and pressed them back to the wrong side. I then attached the back of the top to the front following the burrito method in the instructions. This means the whole front including the facings is sandwiched between the yoke pieces giving a clean finish. When 'burritoing' the yoke and front together sewing the shoulder seams I continued right the way along the back neckline, sewing the two yoke pieces together wrong sides together. I then turned the top to the right side through an armhole opening and the back neckline was finished neatly along with the shoulder seams. I wasn't 100% sure it would work (sometimes these trial and error methods of bagging out have resulted in a tangled loop of fabric!) but luckily it did and I'm so pleased with the clean interior finish.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

Rayon and viscose are my absolute favourite type of fabric to wear; it so perfectly suits a whole variety of garments. It is not that easy to come by in good wearable prints so whenever I see it in a print or solid colour that I love I can't resist it and my stash has been growing! I've been adding the solid colour rayon crepes from The Fabric Store to my orders for a little while now and have a nice array of them in my stash. I tend to order just a metre or metre and a half as I see them all as little sleeveless tops or camis but recently I've been drawn to various styles of big billowing sleeves which require rather more fabric...Anyway for this top I decided to use the vintage rose colour, of which I had a metre and thought was a nice modern neutral to pair with other garments.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

Rayon crepe like this can be a little shifty to work with particularly when cutting. I often cut it out on carpet rather than a smooth table surface or wooden floor as it has a little grip to keep it in place. To help keep everything on grain when you lay your pattern pieces out I often pin the selvedges together - if you're working on carpet you can even pin into it! Working with a rotary cutter can also help cut accurately as cutting with sheers lifts the fabric off the cutting surface slightly and can distort your pattern pieces. When sewing up be careful not to stretch it out and make sure to stay-stitch where required. Use lots of fine pins and keep your pins within the seam allowance if possible so as not to mark your delicate fabric.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

As the fabric was only 126cm wide and I had only one metre I had to play pattern piece tetris and omit the sleeve cuffs from the original pattern. This was a design choice I was considering anyway and I'm pleased with the resulting look. I only had teeny scraps of fabric left when I finished cutting. I could have chosen to leave off the hem facing and chose an alternative finishing method but I love the dramatic curve of the hemline which is only possible because of that facing. A regular turned and stitched hem which wouldn't work around such tight corners and a rolled hem wouldn't give the same weight and structure as the facing which emphasises the shape.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt Hack in Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

I've been trying to use buttons from my button box rather than buying new as I have so many. There were a few I tried out and I was initially after a more organic natural looking button but these one out in the end as they tie in tonally with the pink very nicely. Size wise they're spot on. I love a statement button. As I can just about get the neckline over my head without unfastening the top I faked the buttonholes. I love the automatic buttonhole function on my machine (the Brother Innov-is F420). However it creates such beautiful buttonholes I can hardly bear to cut them open! For these I sewed the buttonholes on the machine (so quick and easy!) then hand sewed the button on top, right through both layers.

This weight of rayon crepe is perfect for this oversized style of top, it hangs well without clinging and has beautiful movement. I can see me making a few more of these perhaps with different shaped necklines, a square hem and with sleeve cuffs to use up some of those small cuts of viscose lurking in my fabric hamper. Plenty of time to sew at the moment anyway. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Linen Cielo Top and Rayon Pietra Pants Hack

When we decided to head back to Africa again this winter one of the things I knew for sure that I wanted to add to my handmade holiday wardrobe was a pair of harem style loose fitting cuffed trousers. A lightweight and breathable pair of full length bottoms with an elasticated hem to keep the mosquitos off in the evenings.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top and Pietra Pants in Linen and Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

Initially I went on a pattern hunt for a simple shape of harem pant. As I was on quite a tight turn around time I wanted a PDF pattern that I could download and get started on right away which limited options to indie designs. This turned out to be surprising hard to find! I hunted through the whole Foldline database of trouser patterns before deciding I was going to have to add my own elasticated hem to a straight/wide legged trouser pattern. I didn't want anything too voluminous but did want a bit of width in the leg to create a nice billow at the bottom where the elasticated hem pulls it in. I was looking at a number of options including the Paper Theory Miller Trousers, the Papercut Palisade Pants and the French Navy Now Calyer Pants. I've since noticed that Made by Rae recently released the Luna Pants which would have been perfect! I'll try this pattern out next time; I wore these pretty much every night of the holiday so definitely could do with another pair.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top and Pietra Pants in Linen and Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

In the end I went with adapting the Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants as I already had the pattern in my stash. I also already knew that they had a nice comfortable fit and a bit of width in the leg as I have actually already made a pair that I haven't got around to photographing and blogging yet! I had some fit issues with my first pair; either too long in the crotch or all around too big (I'll discuss and show you in another blog post). However as I wanted this pair to have a bit of room in them I stuck exactly with the size I'd cut previously - the 8 at the waist grading out to a 10 at the hip downwards. This has turned out really great and I don't notice the bulk and excess fabric around the bum in this finer drapey fabric. If you want to make a pair in this style and have made a more tailored pair I'd recommend sizing up from whatever you originally used.

I was sure I wanted to use rayon/viscose for its lightweight and breathable properties, but also for it's beautiful fluid movement which is important for this style of trouser. I was drawn to the idea of using a print and had my eyes peeled for the perfect one. I couldn't be happier with this lovely dotted chrysanthemum viscose crepe from The Fabric Store. The fact that it is just grey and white feels contemporary and not too bold of a statement. The trousers work with so many different tops, even other prints.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants in Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

As the Pietra's have a quite generous hem allowance I figured that would be plenty to create a narrow channel for the elastic. I actually think I could have done with a little bit more length in them to allow for the blouson effect of the fabric into the cuff. I'm happy with how they look but I'd like to be able to pull them down over the ankle a bit further for extra mosquito protection! I made the elastic around the ankles a bit too tight initially but is has eased up with wear and now they are comfortable. I used 5/8" width of elastic; I didn't want it to look chunky but also thought a narrow one might dig in and twist.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top and Pietra Pants in Linen and Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

I've never been a huge fan of an elasticated waist but I love this one. The trousers have a flat front which a nice deep facing which I think is so much more flattering than elasticated the whole way around. Also the elastic around the back is nice and wide at 2" which is much more comfortable than a narrow elastic which rides up and digs in. These trousers actually stay in the right place! I very much recommend to follow the instruction to pin your elastic in place and give the trousers a try on to determine that it is the right length rather than diving in and sewing the length of elastic recommended for your size on the pattern. I needed to shorten it quite considerably to get a snug fit. I think the quality and recovery of the stretch in your elastic can affect this quite a bit.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants in Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

When I chose the Pietra's I wasn't 100% sure that the cut of them would work as they are designed to be a bit more tailored and shapely. Each leg is made of three panels with a large pocket sitting in the panel between the centre front and side seams. It turns out I love the shape made up in a lighter fabric with a bit of movement and I adore those big interesting and deep pockets. Pockets are so useful when you're travelling around and camping! I made sure to reinforce the pocket opening edge with fusible interfacing as instructed. I feel like a bit of twill tape wouldn't have gone amiss either as a viscose crepe like this does have a tendency to stretch out. It is really hard to see any of the seam lines and design details in this print but do check out the line drawing and I'll try and post my other plain pair soon!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top and Pietra Pants in Linen and Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

I think if I hadn't made them before I would have plumped for the view with the wide leg but I knew that the slightly tailored cut had the kind of width in the leg I envisioned for my harem style pant. I love that these have turned out to be quite a slim. They feel quite modern, especially when paired with a boxy little top like the CieloCielo (also from Closet Case Patterns) is a fantastic pattern. If I'd had more time I'd definitely have made a dress version for holiday (check out those front pockets!) but that plan will have to wait for summer! It is one of those designs which looks super chic and minimal but has some well thought out details which elevate it slightly. In particular I like the bit of interest the back yoke pieces give. I topstitched these in a matching thread but you could draw attention to that detail with some contrast top-stitching.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top in Linen from The Fabric Store

I used this chambray linen in the smoke colour for the top. The Fabric Store have a fantastic range of linens and I particularly love their yarn dyed collection which the chambrays are part of. The yarn is dyed before weaving rather than after which means you get a really interesting variety and depth of colour rather than it being totally flat. This particular linen is the perfect weight and opacity for a top. Linen is a great choice of fabric for this pattern as the crisp hand lends a bit of structure to emphasise that lovely boxy cut and shape of the sleeve. I imagine the view with the big billowing sleeves would look wonderful in a silk or viscose with drape though. I think this is a great example of a pattern which can look completely different depending on the fabric you choose and you could use a huge range of fabrics for it. A wonderful blank canvas for adding your own twist too.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top in Linen from The Fabric Store

I like that the neckline of the Cielo is finished with a bias tape facing rather than a facing left loose to flap around. Necklines sit so much nicer when finished in this manner. Especially if you under-stitch the binding before turning it over to the wrong side. The inch deep hem is also a nice touch that adds a bit of weight to the hem which I think works well with this slightly cropped length and boxy shape. I opted to slip stitch the top edge of the cuff down rather than topstitch. I prefer the clean finish and with this kind of linen it is easy enough to make your stitches invisible from the right side. I like that the instructions have you secure this down all the way around rather than at just a few points. I've done this before on a couple of projects like the Emmeline Tee and find they never sit quite neatly, particularly once you've put a jacket on top.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top in Linen from The Fabric Store

I cut the size 6 of the top (without the FBA, so the A&B cup pattern pieces) after seeing how much ease there was in the finished garment measurements and am pleased with the fit. It feels boxy without being overwhelming. I'm really pleased with how these two garments work together and feel like I could create a whole wardrobe of garments to mix and match using just these two patterns. They were both part of the Closet Case Patterns Rome Collection. The third is the Fiore Skirt which I wasn't that interested in when it was released but these two have been such a success I might have to give it a whirl.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top and Pietra Pants in Linen and Viscose Crepe from The Fabric Store

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Stitched Silk/Cotton Olya Shirt and Washed Linen Persephone pants

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that Ed and I went back to Africa for a couple of weeks in January. Ed has spent a lot of time in a number of countries there but last year's big trip to Botswana and South Africa was my first and I completely fell in love with the continent. We couldn't resist returning and this time travelled around Uganda, again camping in a tent attached to the roof of our hired 4WD. The absolute best way to experience the wilds of Africa! We had another amazing experience including trekking to see the mountain gorillas in Bwindi and the chimpanzees in Kibale plus a whole heap of other adventures on our self drive safari. I'll write another post with more details of our itinerary if anyone is interested but for now I'll try to stick to the sewing!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store and Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

I'm sharing with you today the two biggest successes of my handmade holiday wardrobe. After our last trip there were a couple of things I wanted to add which I thought would be useful. I needed to make some kind of lightweight cover up that would work as part of numerous outfits, something that would keep the sun (and mosquitos!) off but not get too hot. I had my zero waste kimono with me last time but it wasn't always the most practical garment; better suited to lounging around on the beach! I've never been much of a shirt wearer but this was definitely going to be the most useful kind of layering garment I would take with me. I love making shirts for other people but wasn't hugely inspired to make myself one. In the end I was inspired by the fabric to make a nice soft oversized shirt that could be styled in a number of ways to suit a number of purposes.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store

I used this stitched silk/cotton from The Fabric Store. This fabric is an absolute gem. I very rarely buy fabric without a specific project in mind as I hate waste and also hate having a huge stash sitting in the corner. I feel like it puts so much pressure on me to make more things and faster! This however was a fabric that I ordered just because I wanted it. I was so intrigued by the unusual texture and description of 'horizontal stitches across the full width which gives it a lovely weight and natural hand feel' . I had in the back of my mind that it might work for a shirt but had no specific plans. It was a little crisper than I imagined when it arrived but after a wash softened up a treat. It is lightweight but still has a bit of body because of the stitching. I was worried about the inside stitches catching and pulling but it is a surprisingly sturdy fabric. It rumples SO beautifully when worn! It doesn't look creased just beautifully soft and worn in.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store and Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

The pattern I chose is the Olya Shirt from Paper Theory. I've been meaning to try out another of Tara's designs since I made and fell in love with the popular Zadie Jumpsuit last summer. Chic, contemporary, clean lines and interesting cutting and construction seems to be the key theme of the Paper Theory collection. The Olya shirt is a prime example of that. It might at first look like a classic oversized shirt but in fact the front yoke is part of the sleeve pattern piece and the breast pockets are slotted into the seam between the front yoke and body pieces. Such clever drafting.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store

The unusual construction of this shirt made it such and enjoyable project for me as I really had to think about what I was doing and follow the instructions to the letter. I love sewing when it feels like a glorious surprise that those steps you just followed turned in to this garment in your hand and that feeling crops up less and less now I've been sewing nearly a decade. Assembling the pockets and front yoke/armhole area was a little tricky and confusing but I took it slowly and got there in the end. I'm pleased with the results but feel like the pocket openings could be a little neater with practice.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store

I like the way the design details carry through the whole shirt in a unified way. The squared cuffs work with the square ended sleeve plackets and those right angled corners carry through into the pocket top stitching and where the back of the sleeve meets the shoulder. I prefer the sleeves rolled up (particularly as you get the lovely contrast of the stitches on the inside of the fabric against the outside) but I did wear them down quite a lot of holiday to protect from the strong equatorial sun and mosquitos. The buttons I've had in my stash for a little while. They came from Ray Stitch who have a really beautiful selection of buttons. I like the effect of the darker wood against the pale fabric. I noticed when I was packing for this trip that I seem to have a bit of a thing for wooden buttons! I used a lightweight fusible cotton interfacing for the plackets, collar and cuffs which was a good match for this fabric.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store

When I first finished the shirt I was pleased but not blown away. However, after about a month of wear it has become one of my all time favourite additions to my wardrobe. In the heat it was great for wearing open over clothes too as a sort of lightweight jacket but also on its own done up. I swear I wore it nearly every day hence why there is dirt in areas of this that is never washing out now! O that African dust never leaves you! I didn't get time to photograph it before we went away so you're seeing a very well worn in version in these pictures. The fabric rumples SO beautifully when worn. It doesn't look creased just beautifully soft and worn in. It almost feels like a piece of well loved vintage clothing already.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store

The trousers are a pair of Anna Allen Clothing Persephone Pants which I made way back last spring. They haven't seen a huge amount of wear over the last 9 months or so but on holiday they were a surprise hit! These were meant to just be a muslin to test out the size and fit before I cut into some denim but they are actually more successful than the denim pair which I haven't blogged yet. The design is based on mens 1920s-40s US Navy sailor trousers and I absolutely love the cut. The super high waist and width of the slightly cropped leg is a winner in my book.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store and Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

What is really interesting about this design is that there is no side seam. Or at least there is supposed to be no side seam...there actually is on my pair as I pieced them together from linen I'd had in my stash for ages and I didn't have two pieces big enough for the huge pattern piece needed for each leg! As I was cutting a muslin I didn't mind a side seam and simply cut my pattern piece in half and added a seam allowance. I rescued the linen from a show I did a couple of years ago. It was actually sewn into a large ancient robe but the show was only on for one night and the fabric was good as new! The fabric originally came from The Cloth Shop on Portobello Road which is one of my favourite fabric shops in London. All their fabrics are exquisite; particularly the linens. This is their washed linen in slate and it is the ideal weight for a trouser. It is soft and has movement whilst retaining a little structure and I really love the slubby texture. I thought in this linen which has more drape than a sturdy denim or twill you might miss the structure of the fabric which emphasises the lovely cut of the leg but I don't think you do.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store and Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

With no side seam I was a little concerned about adjusting the fit if needs be. I fall between sizes for this pattern; a 4-6 for the waist and 8 for the hips. Without a side seam how do I grade between sizes you may ask! Anna recommended I cut the size for my hips and then take in a little extra at each of the two back darts to fit my waist. This worked a treat. There are a couple of issues with fit around the bum which I've seen a few other bloggers comment on. The 'wedgie effect' doesn't bother me at all in this linen and I feel the trousers hang nicely but in my denim pair fit issues are much more pronounced. There's definitely too much fabric below the bottom in the denim but I don't see it with these; then linen must be much more forgiving!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

These are so quick to make (even with my added side seam!) and the instructions are fantastic. The only thing I did differently was to take a tip from a post on the Tessuti Fabrics blog and add a horizontal line of stitching between each button hole on the fly. You can't see it from the right side as the buttonhole piece is just attached to the rear of the fly but it makes a big difference in terms of how flat the fly sits to your tummy. Without the stitching the fly would be likely to gape open and show the buttons. As I was making what I thought was a trial of the pattern I just grabbed some buttons from my stash. The grey ones for the fly aren't a brilliant colour match but they are hidden away enough that I haven't bothered to change them. The little colourful button of the waistband makes me really happy!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

I adore the way the pockets look and are constructed (there is a slit opening just along the waistband seam) but they're quite hard to get things in and out of because of where the opening is right on your natural waistline. The bag is the perfect size for a phone but it is quite uncomfortable to sit down with a phone in a pocket there and it is not the most flattering place to have a phone shaped lump either! If I made a shorts version I'd probably omit the pockets.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paper Theory Olya Shirt in Stitched Silk/Cotton from The Fabric Store and Anna Allen Persephone Pants in Washed Linen from The Cloth Shop

I love these two garments together but also with multiple other garments in my wardrobe. I can't wait for the warmer weather to hit Britain so I can get these out again. It feels like a long way off yet...

Friday, 21 February 2020

Textured Rayon Wilder Top and Dawn Jeans

I (like the majority of half of the online sewing community it would seem!) fell in love with the Wilder Gown pattern from Friday Pattern Company when it was released last year. Bohemian and easy breezy chic with on trend gathered tiers, it was irresistible to image it sewn up in a plethora of different fabrics (and if you search #wildergown on Instagram you can see just that!). Despite wanting to make it and wear it right that second I was a little hesitant about what the high gathered neckline would look like on me. I'm quite petite and short in the shoulder with a bit of a bust so this kind of style is never a failsafe win in my book. After seeing it look wonderful on lots of different body shapes as it surged to popularity online though I thought it was worth a go. As the pattern for the full length gown is quite a fabric eater I decided to give the top a try first to check out that neckline before investing too much time and money in a dress.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company and Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

The month before I'd ordered a metre of this stunning rayon textured check from The Fabric Store on a whim (sadly now sold out but they have some other beautiful sheer textured fabrics in at the moment). I didn't have any plans for it but on rummaging through my stash it appeared to be perfect for a Wilder Top. It is really hard to capture the beauty and delicacy of this fabric on camera. For some reason it looks a lot more dense than it does in reality! In real life t has this gorgeous diaphanous quality with almost sheer sections running through the check. The texture is quite unlike anything I've come across before with those pronounced ridges running throughout. I think it is the bold scale of the texture which makes it so unusual. Despite the chunkiness of those textured stripes it is still really soft and drapey.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company

Size-wise the measurement chart puts my bust in a small and my waist and hips more in the medium. As it is a voluminous style from the bust down I cut the small which feels right. With oversized styles which I feel might overwhelm me I have a tendency to want to size down even further but I'm glad I didn't with this as it actually fits quite neatly across the shoulders and chest which balances out the volume beneath.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company

I really loved sewing this up. For a design which has a bit of interest and drama it is actually really fast and straightforward to put together. There is a centre front seam which makes cleanly finishing that neckline opening easy and raglan sleeves are so much quicker than a set in one! Threading the tie through the neckline probably takes longer than most of the other construction steps. I think the gathered neckline manages not to feel twee because of the depths that the designer has so carefully chosen. The inch depth of the frill at the top then the chunky inch thickness of the tie feels quite bold and modern. F.Y.I I've been really enjoying wearing this under a toaster sweater during winter with the frill just poking out of the neck!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company and Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

To squeeze the pattern pieces on to the small amount of fabric I had I shortened the bodice pieces ever so slightly (an inch at most). I am however really missing that extra bit of length as it doesn't like to stay tucked into my bottoms no matter how high waisted they are! If I'd had more fabric I would have actually liked to cut the dress version of the bodice which is a little shorter than the top and add a ruffled plum around the hem. Will have to save that idea for the next version! The limited amount of fabric I had meant I couldn't do any pattern matching along the raglan sleeve seams. The matching on all the other seams is a bit shoddy too as I approached it as a muslin I wasn't all that sure I'd like. Had I known how much wear I was going to get out of it I might have taken more care!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

The jeans are made using the Dawn Jeans pattern from Megan Nielsen. I've made the shorts version before but this is my first time making the full length jean. The pattern is incredibly versatile with 4 different versions to make and a bonus ebook with choices of zip, button and exposed button fly. There is a tapered leg, a straight leg, a wide leg and a short, plus lengths for tall, regular and cropped. I sewed up View B - the straight leg jean in a non stretch deep dark indigo denim from The Fabric Store. I've had a few pieces of denim in my stash for a while now so can't remember which exact one it is but I believe it to be about a 12oz one, so quite robust. From what I've seen it sews up great in non denim fabrics like linen too. What I love about this pattern is that it is a true classic cut of high waisted jean.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company and Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

As I've made and blogged this pattern previously I don't have much to add construction-wise but one thing I will say is that they fit like an absolute glove - straight out of the envelope! But that is almost too well in this very rigid denim! They are certainly taking some wearing in but (as I finished these back in December) after a couple of months I'm starting to feel them soften. No high kicks or bicycle riding in them for the time being though! I could have made them in a size up but I feel like the snug fit gives them somewhere to go as they age. If I made them the size up I think when they softened up and stretched out they'd end up too big and baggy really quickly. If you prefer a more relaxed fit with your jeans though I'd go ahead and size up.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

As I always do now, I used G├╝termann extra strong thread for my topstitching rather than the thicker topstitching thread. I've always had problems with topstitching thread snarling up in the machine but have no problems whatsoever with the extra strong thread. It is slightly thinner which I prefer, it looks a bit more professional to me than chunky topstitching. I kept to a classic copper colour and matches my button and rivets to that (all of which came from my stash). I omitted the rivets on the rear pockets simply as i didn't have enough but like that I now get to show off those topstitched corners as I'm really proud of them! Does anyone have any tips on where to get interesting jeans hardware? I'm bored of using the same old buttons and rivets!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company and Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

I know a lot of you will be wondering how the pattern compares to the famous Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns. It is actually quite tricky to compare the two as the Gingers are designed for stretch denim and the Dawns for rigid denim(non stretch). If you want a pair of jeans which are comfortable for most activities straight off the machine then I'd go for the stretch option but if you want a truly classic pair of non stretch jeans the Dawn's are a great choice. The rise of the Dawn is slightly higher than even the higher rise version of the Gingers and I personally love how that feels to wear. I love the pocket/tummy stay on the Gingers (larger pocket pieces which reach right over to the fly and effectively hold your tummy in!) but that would be easy enough to add in to Dawn. Both patterns have fantastically thorough and detailed instructions with clear illustrations. I personally found the Megan Nielsen fly construction method slightly easier to follow and get a neat finish on but that might just be because I've got a couple of years more sewing under my belt since I made the Gingers. Without that amazing sew-along from Closet Case Patterns I'm not sure I'd be able to finish a pair of jeans at all!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Textured Rayon Wilder Top from Friday Pattern Company and Megan Nielsen Straight Leg Dawn Jeans

I'm so happy to have another pair of handmade jeans in may wardrobe and feel like with each pair I'm getting better and better! I only wish I had time to sew more. My test version of the Wilder was a resounding success and (spoiler alert) I plunged straight in and made a gown version soon after. Will hopefully get some photos and get it on the blog soon.