Summer of Basics Part 1 – The Tello Jacket

After all the fun I had last year with my Summer of Basics (here the final outfit from 2017) I knew that I wanted to participate this year as well. I love the concept of focusing on making three basics over the course of the summer. I’ve already shared my plans for this year on Instagram (see here). Like last year I’m planning to make a full outfit. The first garment from my list (my June project) was a work wear jacket, and (spoiler alert) I love the final garment!

But let’s start from the beginning. I love sewing outerwear and wanted to make a casual jacket that I could easily throw over everything. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of workwear inspired jackets in the shops and after trying some of them on I was determined to create something similar. Here a couple of my favourites.

Source: Toast, French Connection

Looking for a pattern, the Tello Jacket by Pauline Alice Patterns immediately came to mind. I’ve been seeing some lovely versions popping up recently (e.g. Sara’s or Clare’s). While the design is slightly different to what I was looking for, I knew it would be easy to adapt it.

Regarding the fabric, I had ordered some natural bull denim from Empress Mill, originally to make some Lander pants. When it arrived I loved the texture but thought it might be slightly too thick and stiff for trousers, perfect for a jacket though.

To get the style I was after, I made a number of changes to the pattern

  • First I made a straight size 42, which corresponds to my hip measurements but is two sizes larger than my bust. Since I was going for an oversized look, I decided to size up slightly.
  • The front facing of the original is curved at the bottom but I wanted a straighter look so I squared it off.
  • I slightly widened the sleeves for a more relaxed fit, necessary with this heavy fabric.
  • The original collar is a lot more pointy. I sewed it up as is first, but decided it was looking too 70s; I however was going for more of a Japanese style look. At that point the collar was already attached to the jacket, so I decided to just opened the seam at the collar points, make them more square and top stitch them down. Surely not best sewing practice but I don’t think it’s noticeable.
  • Finally I changed the pockets. The original pattern has one zipped breast pocket and the lower pockets extend over the side seams. To match my original inspiration I decided to just stick with patch pockets. One of the upper pockets attached on the inside. This was a feature that I saw on one of the ready-to-wear jackets and really liked. It’s perfect to keep my phone secure. The pockets were all attached through the facing, which keeps the latter in place.

So that’s it. A long list of changes but all of them easy to make. I think this pattern is a great starting point for a jacket style like this. The instructions are great and it has lovely details such as the elbow darts. I finished all seams with bias binding, which gives it a clean look and a pop of colour on the inside. I also added a hook from bias tape, which I attached with bar tacks. The buttons are simple plastic ones from John Lewis.

While I was sewing the jacket, I wasn’t 100% sure if I would like the finished garment, it looked shapeless and in this calico a bit like a muslin. However, now that it’s finished I love wearing it! It’s such a great simple summer jacket, which goes well with a lot of my wardrobe at the moment. I was contemplating dyeing it (I already sewed it up with cotton thread so it would take the dye) but this off white is growing on me. So for now I’ll keep it as it is, I can always change my mind and dye at a later stage.

I hope you are ready for a lot of pictures. It’s the first time that we are taking pictures here in Colmar and there are so many great back-drops!

Oh and this? Just me casually walking along a colourful wall. I didn’t know that this was so difficult. How does everyone else make this look so effortless?


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!

Linen Jacket_7

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!