Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Merino Mandy Boat Tee and Herringbone Wool Pietra Pants

After all those garments from my holiday wardrobe I've got something more seasonally appropriate to share with you today...an entirely woollen outfit!

The Mandy Boat Tee is a free pattern download from Tessuti Fabrics which is very popular with sewists online. I'm sure many of you have made one already! I've finally jumped on the Mandy train and am wondering what took me so long when I am such a fan of Tessuti's pattern drafting and suggested construction techniques. This top is a slouchy knit style with boat neck, dropped shoulders and close fitting three quarter or full length sleeves. It is a very quick sew and so so easy to wear! I like to wear mine with a high waisted bottom and a french tuck - very Tan France!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Merino Jersey Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee and Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

I think I had been tentative about making this top (despite the rave reviews) as I tend to prefer a more figure skimming silhouette. I'm quite petite and don't go straight up and down so always feel a bit swamped in 'oversized' or 'relaxed fitting' styles. I think Tessuti have got this design spot on though. The amount of fabric around the body feels just right and is nicely balanced by the tight fitting sleeves and boat neck exposing skin around the neck and collar bone. I feel very comfortable but not at all sloppy in this.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Merino Jersey Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee and Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

Construction wise I followed the pattern directions exactly and made no changes to the fit either. Their standard sizes (XXS-XXXL) are grouped into four sizes for this pattern and I cut a size 1 of which I am at the top end of the size range. As with all knits I sewed it up with a stretch stitch on my machine, then finished the seams on the overlocker. All raw edges including the neckline on this pattern are turned and stitched with a twin needle; there is no neck band.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Merino Jersey Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee and Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

I used the merino jersey in port from The Fabric Store's premium range for this version and made a second one of these up in a pale linen knit for my travels but I like it nowhere near as much. I think it is to do with the colour not suiting me and also the texture of the knit not working for this style. Despite that one being less successful I can see this working in lots of other fabrics and know this is a pattern I'm going to return to again and again. The winter version of the Ogden Cami which I live in all summer!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

The trousers are another pair of Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants which I blogged about a few weeks ago. I thought it was worth blogging about these too as the design details show up so much better in a solid than the print I used for the other pair. For this pair I used an amazing spongy herringbone wool from The Fabric Store (unfortunately now sold out). It is quite a thick fabric and whilst they have been amazing to wear in the cold and windy British winter I think my second pair in the lighter weight rayon was more successful. The more structured fabric choice has highlighted some fit issues which weren't a problem with my floaty summer pair. Very interesting!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Merino Jersey Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee and Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

I think partially these just have a slightly more relaxed fit than the tailored pant I was envisioning in this fabric and I should have paid closer attention to the finished measurements to achieve that look. I'm usually quite lucky with most pattern companies in that my measurements fall pretty much in to one size but with Closet Case Patterns I have to think a little harder about my choices! My measurements fluctuate a little but on their size chart I'm generally a bust 8, waist 6-8 and hip 8-10. For these trousers I cut the size 8 at the waist and graded out to a 10 at the hip downwards. I sometimes have issues with the width of trouser legs being a little snug on the calves so I thought the larger size could benefit there too. On hindsight I think I should have cut the size 6 waist and graded out to an 8 at the hip. There's a good amount of ease included.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Merino Jersey Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee and Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

There are also a few issues in the crotch and bum. I think they are a bit too long in the crotch; it feels like there is too much fabric in that area! Seeing them in photos the issues around the bum are less obvious that I thought and I've had a lot of compliments on these trousers so perhaps that is just my own personal misgivings with having too much fabric emphasising that area! The elasticated back waist creates a bit of bulk; in the lightweight drapey viscose I used for my second pair I don't notice it at all but in this thicker wool it adds quite a bit of bulk.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

Despite my misgivings about the fit I've actually worn these a lot as the accidental relaxed fit is very comfortable and they pair so well with smarter trainers and casual tops like the Mandy for work. Also those big, clever, roomy pockets are SO useful for keeping pins/pens/tape measures when I'm crawling around on the floor during a fitting! The fabric is very cosy too. It has a slightly rough texture and a subtle herringbone stripe which I think adds a bit of interest rather than being a flat solid. The back of the fabric is equally interesting as the colours are reversed.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Wool Herringbone Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants The Fabric Store

I love how the stitching through the elasticated back of the waist looks in this fabric. The whole design of the waist area is very clever as the flat front makes them more flattering while you still get the comfort of the elastic. The elastic is nice and wide so doesn't shift around and that combined with a nice deep facing at the front makes them very comfortable indeed. I'll definitely be making a pair of these in linen for summer and probably some shorts once I've got the fit nailed. I'm in love with all the colours Heather has used for her samples; especially the little pink pair of shorts with the topstitching detail!

2 comments:

  1. The top and trousers look lovely together. The pietra pants are definitely on my list of things to make.

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    Replies
    1. They are a great pattern, chic yet comfortable!

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