Linen Biker Jacket

Linen Jacket_0Just in time for Me Made May 2016 I’ve added another staple to my wardrobe, a cream coloured light weight biker jacket.

I’ve had this lovely herringbone linen sitting in my stash for quite a while. My mother picked it out for me and I’ve been looking for the perfect pattern since to do this gorgeous fabric justice. When my friend brought me back a Patrones sewing magazine from Spain last year and I saw the biker jacket on the cover I knew I had found the perfect match.

Since I hadn’t sewn anything from a Patrones pattern before I decided to do a full muslin. It’s very rare that I actually make muslins; in most cases I just use cheap fabric to try out a pattern. In this case I actually really enjoyed the muslin process. It’s a lot more fun when it’s a complex garment and the muslining feels like proper engineering. The fit actually wasn’t too bad from the start. I made a Spanish size 42. As expected I had to lengthen the sleeves and the body. I also took in the shoulders and added more room around the hips. Thanks to the princess seams at the front and back it was very simple to make adjustments to the pattern.

The construction itself unfortunately didn’t go that smoothly. The linen as well as the Cupro Bemberg lining were very shifty and it was impossible to be exact in the cutting. Instead of using some stabilizer, I decided to just forge ahead; after all I was going for the crumpled linen look which should allow for some inaccuracies.

The instructions, like Burda Style instructions, were very sparse, so I abandoned them quite quickly and treated the pattern like a jigsaw puzzle. As I had figured out the basic construction when doing the muslin I thought it wouldn’t be very difficult to sew up the final garment. I was wrong… Only after 2 hours of pocket construction and topstitching I realised that I had mixed up the front and back side pieces. I had to take the whole thing apart and re-do it. The positive thing though, I can now construct princess seam pockets in my sleep ;-) For some reason I also managed to attach the sleeves the wrong way round, making the whole thing look like a straitjacket. Oh and when I put in the zipper I realised that the jacket closes the wrong way round. Why? Because I used the photo on the cover of the magazine to figure out the construction of the zip and not the technical drawing. The photo, I only later realised, was back to front. I should really learn to label my fabric pieces properly, especially with a fabric that looks the same on both sides!

To finish the jacket I attached the lining at the hems by hand. For the fastenings I used a copper metal zipper and coordinating sew-on snaps which I got from MacCulloch & Wallis, together with the lining. I just love the copper against the cream fabric!

It is a little bit hard to see in the photos, but the jacket has lovely curved seams which I highlighted with some subtle topstitching. I especially like the little detail where the shoulder piece meets the princess seam. The pockets are tiny, as expected since they are sitting in the princess seams. I still decided to keep them as I love how the pale blue lining peeks out and I like to be able to put my hands somewhere.

Linen Jacket_1Linen Jacket_2Linen Jacket_3Linen Jacket_4Linen Jacket_5Linen Jacket_6aWhile this jacket definitely was not my smoothest and most accurate make I ended up with a lovely summer jacket. I know I will get a lot of wear out of it now that it is warming up here in the UK. Yay, to versatile garments, that you can add to any outfit! Here I paired it with a rtw t-shirt and my favourite high-waisted Ginger Jeans.

Happy Me Made May everyone!

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The Grainline Studio Morris Blazer

Morris Blazer 1Yesterday after a grey and rainy day the sun came out just before sunset and we went outside to snap a couple of pictures of my Grainline Studio Morris Blazer. I love all the Grainline Studio patterns, such cool wardrobe staples, but the Morris Blazer was the first pattern that I actually bought. In an attempt to build up a closet of cool work clothes the Morris Blazer was ideal to fill the dressy but cool blazer gap.

I made this first version out of some black jacquard that I found for free in the reminants bin at the fabric shop. Except for some sample holes the fabric was in perfect condition and I easily managed to squeeze out this blazer. I cut a straight 8 as suggested by the size chart and overall I think it is a good fit. The only change that I made to the pattern was to lengthen the sleeves. Even though I like the bracelet length, I work in an air conditioned office and always freeze, thus prefer having my wrists covered. In terms of construction it was all quite straight forward. I had to read the instructions on attaching the hem facing twice, but thanks to the pictures I figured it out and love the clean finish. To match the rest of the insides, I finished all seams with pink bias binding including the sleeve hems for a pop of colour when rolling them up.Morris Blazer 6

Morris Blazer 5Overall I’m really happy about how it turned out. It has the perfect cropped length to wear with high waisted trousers and skirts. It has already become one of my go-to work wardrobe staples and I’m sure that some more Morris blazers will follow. Outside of work I haven’t worn it yet. The black blazer makes me feel a tad too dressed up, even though I think it goes well with these Ginger jeans and a simple t-shirt.

Morris Blazer 2Morris Blazer 7Morris Blazer 8All in all a very satisfying sew. I’m already eying the other grainline Studio patterns. I’m thinking Alter shirt dress out of Liberty print fabric, I’m just not sure if that’s really weather appropriate at the moment. I might have to put that plan on hold until spring. In the mean time I might venture into coat-sewing, I just have to find the perfect wool fabric. Wish me luck!


Cropped jacket

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Cropped Jacket 3 Cropped Jacket 5 Cropped Jacket 6 Cropped Jacket 7I love when projects that I planned for a long time turn out exactly how I envisioned them which is the case with this fun little jacket. When I started my job here in the UK I suddenly needed work appropriate clothes and that within a couple of weeks (which is why sewing was not an option). Having studied engineering for 6 years there were basically no business smart clothes in my closet. My student “uniform” consisted of skinny jeans and oversized jumpers, sometimes mixed up with a mini skirt, casual button ups and cardigans. All quite practical and nothing fancy. As my job required business smart clothes I needed a full set of new outfits. Not being a big shopper and also not very inspired by the average business apparel, the task became tedious. I was surprised how difficult it was to find a simple white blouse that was not completely see-through or trousers that weren’t so cropped that they showed half my calf. Without a decent budget either I ended up with a random selection of ok-ish clothes with not a lot of pieces that I loved. Since then I have slowly been expanding and replacing my wardrobe piece by piece, trying to create a work wardrobe that is stylish and consists of garments that I love wearing. It’s been a slow process. I still haven’t found/developed the perfect dressy trousers pattern or tackled a simple long-sleeved blouse. But I am getting there.

One thing that I found was that I was getting tired of cardigans. While they are comfortable and can look really cute I felt the need for something more structured. On the other hand, while I think that a classic blazer is an important staple, I find them too restricting for a whole day sitting at the computer. So I needed something in between and found I was gravitating either to slightly oversized and loose shapes or cropped little jackets. The one here falls in the latter category and I really like the silhouette. The fabric was an attempt to bring more colour and patterns into my wardrobe. I’ve been trying to find a patterned jacket or fabric for ages, but I found it incredibly difficult to settle on a pattern that I really like and won’t get sick off after a couple of wears. So when I found this pretty fabric online, I bought it right away. In real life the fabric has a slight polyester-y feel but nothing too terrible and the pattern and colours are just too fun to pass it up.

Taking advantage of having the flat to myself I finished the jacket in one weekend to wear it to work on Monday. For the pattern I used a BurdaStyle pattern that I had bookmarked as soon as I saw it in the 08/2015 magazine. The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen the body and the sleeves by 5 cm and to narrow the shoulders a little bit (a common problem I seem to have with Burda patterns). Coincidentally the pattern was the one pattern with detailed instructions in the magazine, however, midway through I completely forgot about the instructions as putting the jacket together was very straight forward. I did my best at pattern matching at the back seam and sleeves and realised that I had never had to pattern match set-in sleeves (definitely a sign that I don’t work enough with prints). I finished the seams with a zig zag stitch for the sleeve and shoulder seams and used a Hong-Kong finish for the rest. I got a little bias binding happy and used two different ones, a simple grey one and a black and white polka dot one. I like how they both look in combination with the wrong side of the fabric. I also finished the sleeve hem with bias binding. Originally I had planned to turn it under and hand stitch it in place but I like the contrast of the grey bias binding. I will admit that I used an iron-on tape to finish off the hem of the body, for some garments I like to use this as a quick and simple solution.

Cropped Jacket 10 Cropped Jacket 9 Cropped Jacket 8All in all putting it together was a really enjoyable process, the fabric didn’t fray as much as expected and pressed surprisingly well. As for the fit, I am quite happy with it. I should take out some width at the back of the shoulders next time as the fabric bunches up a little. Unfortunately I don’t have my dressform here in the UK and my boyfriend is of little help when it comes to sewing, so achieving a perfect fit is quite a challenge at the moment. For now I am not too bothered though. I can see myself wearing this a lot and it definitely fits the bill of smart but stylish at the same time. I styled it here with some old skinny jeans and a t-shirt for a more casual look. At work I have worn it with a cream pencil skirt and a silk top. The longer I work on this business wear wardrobe challenge the more I am actually enjoying it. And it just makes such a difference if you start your work day with a “meh” look or an outfit that you feel confident and stylish in.

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