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

12 comments:

  1. Those are very stylish! I bet the light grey is practical in the heat too.

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    1. Thanks Catherine! Nice to feel at least a little bit put together and stylish even when you are sweating buckets in the heat! Haha. Yes the light grey is definitely a good choice in the sun

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  2. i found a lovely harem pant pattern at Pattern emporium. It offers a variety of styles. I also am not a fan of elastic waist and replace the elastic with the yoga waistband. Since I wear my shirts out ie, untucked, the yoga waistband does not show. I love your fabric and those pockets are great!

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    1. O thanks very much for the pointer, I've just taken a look and think they are probably just what I needed! O well, next time!
      I've not tried a yoga waistband, think I'll have to add that to the list as it sounds very comfortable!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the patterns. I'm considering the set of 3 patterns - On sale till Fri 13th - and your softer fabric choices help me. You made a lovely outfit!

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    1. I think all three patterns can turn out so differently depending on fabric choice, you can really get a lot of mileage out of the set of three! Hope you've enjoyed making them if you did decide to buy!

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  4. This is such a lovely outfit and looks so comfy too! I love the trouser fabric.

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    1. I love both fabrics! They were so good in the heat!

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  5. I really like your cielo top!
    That gives me some motivation to finally make my own cielo!

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    1. Now I've made one I can't stop thinking about all the other versions I want to make! It's a great pattern

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  6. What a great outfit Fiona and such lovely fabrics - I think this post may just have coaxed my sewjo out of hibernation! Can I just ask about your experience of ordering fabric from overseas and how the import duty was paid? I'm always deterred from ordering fabric from abroad and those fabrics do look good.....!

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    1. Woohoo for a re-emerging sew-jo!
      Sorry for my slow response, been a bit distracted from the blog of late! I haven't had any trouble with ordering from overseas (obviously at the moment the Fabric Store aren't shipping though). I've only had to pay taxes a handful of times out of dozens of orders and it was about £20-25 for an order of $200NZD. The shipping is free when you order that much at once so I figure the duties are worth it for such gorgeous fabrics at what I think are very good prices for the quality. Paying the taxes is very easy to do online and the delivery was still really quick

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!