Monday, 16 April 2018

Tartan Wool Ailakki Trousers

Say hello to my new favourite trousers! I'm not quite sure where the idea for these came from. They're one of those projects that fester away in the back of your brain for a long time and when you finally get around to making them then turn out to be so much better than you initially hoped!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I ordered this beautiful tartan wool suiting from The Fabric Store back in January with a pair of classic trousers in mind. My intention was initially slim fitting cigarette pants and I was thinking about using the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. However, I personally have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this pattern; in that I LOVE the style and idea of them on me but I have had a total nightmare trying to fit them. I've had two goes at them but each time have fallen down a rabbit hole of alterations, none of which seem to help or if the adjustment does make a positive difference it seems to have a negative effect elsewhere. I've even tried changing the crotch curve of the pattern to be that of a pattern which does work for me but to no avail. Any fitting tips and advice for this pattern would be most welcome as I am determined to conquer them at some point but perhaps I should concede that they're just not made for me. Ultimately the close fitting cut of those is better suited to woven fabrics with a little stretch anyway so not a match made in heaven with my firmly woven suiting.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I was looking online at other patterns for slim or peg-legged trousers with a high waist when I realised the cut I was envisioning already existed in my pattern stash in the form of the Named Ailakki Cross Front JumpsuitMy berry coloured version of this pattern is one of, if not THE all time favourite thing I've made and I've since used the trouser portion of this pattern again to make my black tuxedo style jumpsuit. The tapered cut of these is beautiful and the fit of the size 38 is nigh on spot on for me straight out of the envelope, especially through the lower back and bum. I did make one change to the pattern to achieve a slightly slimmer leg. While I like the volume of the leg on the jumpsuit as it balances the fairly skimpy bodice nicely I wanted a slightly more tailored look from these. I both narrowed the leg and raised the crotch slightly by using a 1" seam allowance instead of 1cm on the inner leg seams. I was worried I had overdone it and would end up restricting my movement but I couldn't be more delighted with how this has turned out.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

To make these as trousers rather than a jumpsuit was really straightforward. I cut all the trouser pattern pieces as usual and the two waistbands. Once the trousers were assembled I sewed the exterior waistband to the top then sewed the waistband facing to it along the top edge, as you do for the jumpsuit just without sandwiching the bodice between the two pieces. At this point I decided to under stitch along this top edge to keep it crisp and clean without the facing rolling out to the right side. Then I inserted the zip as usual, running the top of the teeth up to the top of the waistband. Then pressed in the raw edges of the waistband facing and stitched it all down by hand.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

The waistband could do with being a fraction tighter but gives me room for a big meal! The room in the waistband is not as noticeable with the full jumpsuit as the bodice is holding it up but with a separate pair of trousers the waistband needs to be fairly snug to keep everything in place.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I've noticed with both my jumpsuits and now these that there's something a little awkward about the way the pockets sit. The pocket bags almost feel like they want to head towards the back of the garment rather than sitting nicely in front. I'd added in the step of under stitching both pocket edges on my previous versions so tried combatting the strange hang by just under-stitching the front opening and it has helped but not solved the issue. I'm now wondering if it is to do with the facing on the rear pocket bag which is actually a feature I really love. I might try making the back piece a little larger next time to see if that helps it swing forward. I actually think I'd make the pockets a bit larger in general anyway as they don't quite fully hold my phone at the moment an that is always handy.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

As for the fabric it has been an absolute dream to work with and a dream to wear. It has a lovely smooth hand and is fairly fine as you would expect from a suiting but still has some substance to it. Some wool suitings are a little too flimsy for my preference, especially for trousers. This feels quite robust and like it will withstand some wear. Which is a good thing as they're certainly going to get some! I'd say it has the perfect weight and drape for a tailored trouser and these hang so well. I've been washing and handling it in the same manner I do all my merino wools; a 30 degree gentle/wool cycle in the machine, a cool to medium heat on the iron and I gave it a good steamy press before cutting to really minimise the chance of any further shrinkage. I used a size 80 microtex needle in my machine and it sewed up so smoothly.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

This fabric does fray quite easily so I finished all the internal seams on the overlocker. If you are planning on making this pattern I would recommend following the advice to finish your seam allowances before assembly as it is tricky to get into some areas (for example around the pockets) afterwards. I hemmed the trousers at just above ankle length (removing an inch) but have often worn them rolled up to a slightly shorter cropped length. If I'd realised I'd do this so much beforehand I might have considered a different seam allowance finish as I'm not a big fan of seeing the overlocking exposed in the turn up. Next time I might try a flat felled seam or perhaps binding would be a nice touch.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I had 1.25m of the wool which was just about right although I could probably squeeze them out of a metre of a solid colour. I really like that the navy and green tartan combo is fairly subtle. I don't think I've got the confidence to pull off full Rod Stewart style as much as I would like to! I'll hold my hands up and admit that my pattern matching isn't fantastic. I did give it a stab by lining up the side seam notches on the same line in the tartan and this has worked to some extent but I should have cut everything out on a single layer to ensure a good match all the way around. I was simply too lazy to trace my pattern pieces off a second time! If I had I might have avoided the slight mismatch along the crotch seam and left leg. I'm kicking myself slightly for not putting a bit more effort in but at the time of cutting I didn't realise how big a success these were going to be. At least I can't really see those areas when they're on so it doesn't overly bother me!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

These feel so on trend right now as well as incredibly comfortable and I have been really enjoying wearing them both dressed up for date night with heels or with scruffy sneakers for day. A simple tee tucked in the top works great for either or these and one of my many Ogden Camis also make a great pairing. I think I could definitely find use for another couple of pairs of these in solid colours. Proof of how much mileage can be had out of the patterns you already own. I'm glad I got around to making at least this pair before summer arrives (if it ever will!) as they the perfect weight, warmth and style for spring.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

March Indie Pattern Update!

Still it doesn't feel like Spring has quite sprung here in London but that hasn't stopped me furiously planning some sewing projects for warmer weather! I've got a stack of projects cut out and waiting to sew but the chilly temperatures have stalled me from cracking on with too much as yet. There's been plenty of new season sewing inspiration amongst the crazy number of new pattern releases over the last month always my sewing queue has near enough doubled!

New Pattern Companies!

  • One of the most inspiring bloggers I follow Handmade by Carolyn has launched the Carolyn & Cassie Pattern Co. in collaboration with her daughter Cassie who has been handling the Illustrator part of the pattern creation process! The first pattern is the Perth Dress & Blouse which is currently available in both PDF and paper format. Its a summer dress with menswear influences and I love the feature neckline which is pleated into a classic shirt collar.
  • Nikki from Beaute' J'adore already has a couple of free pattern downloads for kids available on her site but this month released her first ladies wear pattern for a pleated sleeve belted coat. The oversized style would be straightforward to fit and being fully lined would be a nice challenge for a beginner coat-maker.
  • The Wearable Studio launched this month with their first pattern being the Franki Top. My favourite feature of this elegant feminine style is the keyhole and tie detail on the cuffs although it can also be made with plain short sleeves and optional ruffle on the high low hem. Easy to wear but with interesting details...just up my street! 

New Patterns

  • I really enjoyed listening to Emily from In The Folds talking about collaboration with Peppermint Magazine on the Love To Sew Podcast. This Ruffle Sleeve Top is the latest in a long line of free pattern downloads she has created for them and fits in beautifully with the rest of her easy to wear, fresh and contemporary classics.
  • The two new patterns released with Seamwork Magazine's March Issue are the Kimmy Dress and Audrey Jacket. The adjustable ties to gather the shoulders of the Dolman sleeves on Kimmy are a nice feature but it is the jacket that has really piqued my interest...I think it might be about time my wardrobe contained a handmade classic denim jacket!
  • Schnittchen released the Cleo Dress and Blouse. A versatile collared design which you can make your own by adding plackets to the cuffs, a large bow to the neckline and patch pockets or leave them all off for a clean and classic style.
  • Style Arc have started thinking about winter in the Southern Hemisphere and launched the Parker Outfit which includes a coat, pant and tunic (all available to buy separately). I have been struggling with fitting a pair of slim trousers recently so perhaps I should change pattern and give these knit cigarette pants a try. They are my namesake after all! Their second release is the Talulah Knit Dress which could be just the easy to wear item my spring wardrobe needs. Love the dropped side gathers which gives the design a twenties vibe.
  • The Wanderer Tank is the latest release from Friday Pattern Company and has got me longing for summer sewing. It's a simple woven tank with a unique laced up back but best of all the way it is lined makes it reversible! 
  • Among Mood's new releases in March were the Jamesia Pants, a simple and sleek pair of flares, the Jasmine Tunic and Juniper Skirt which is a fun wrapped midi style. Also released were the Kelseya DressKerria Anorak, Kalimeris Moto Jacket, Lunaria Dress and Corvus Cosplay Dress which is their second design inspired by the costumes of Black Panther.
  • The new Ostara Top from Jennifer Lauren Handmade is a 1940s inspired knit tee. The choice of elbow length or long sleeves and wide set round neckline or pleated sweetheart give it a really classy feminine vibe.
  • Hopefully we are seeing the end of the need for big fluffy dressing gowns in the northern hemisphere this winter! I've got my eye on the new Inara Robe from Goheen Designs for summer. I really like the curved hem and placement of lace on the samples. 
  • DG Patterns released the Margareth Shirt and Wendy Dress which are the first of their patterns to come with an accompanying video tutorial! If you're a visual learner this could be a great first shirt and knit dress to try. The patterns are available in PDF format and can be purchased with regular printable instructions too. They also released the Lana Top & Dress which has a simple cut with cute cut out sleeve detail.
  • New from Kommatia Patterns is the Mysig Sweater Dress which has all the features of a classic pull on hoodie including kangaroo pocket and ribbed cuffs and hem.
  • The latest release from Now & Then Patterns at Til The Sun Goes Down is the Evelyn Blouse & Dress. This design has a gathered neckline and raglan sleeves. I love the breezy 1970s vibe of the fit and the gathered long sleeve variation. Wouldn't it be great in a lovely double gauze or cheesecloth?
  • Itch to Stitch released the Mountain View Pull-on Jeans which have the look of a classic pair of jeans but has a secret comfy waistband with added tummy control. With no zip to insert these sound like dream jeans to make and wear!
  • New from Wardrobe by Me is The Perfect Tunic which has a lovely collection of challenging to sew features including a front placket and sleeves which are cuffed or rolled up and fastened with a tab. It can be made as a tunic or blouse and with or without a yoke. They have also just released the Belle Skirt which is a tiered boho style skirt. Basically the skirt of my teenage dreams which I might not be able to resist making as an adult!
  • Cashmerette added the Montrose Top to their collection. A real blank canvas, this timeless woven top has two variations with different necklines and sleeve lengths. What I really love about it is that as well as their regular range of cup sizes it has two sleeve sizes, standard and full bicep.
  • Waffle Patterns always seem to knock it out of the park with the design details of their coat patterns and this Tosti Utility Jacket for Men is no exception. I love the variety of practical pockets including zipped ones on the breast and sleeve plus the funnel collar with detachable hood is a great feature.
  • The new pattern in the Sew Wardrobe collection by Alison Smith is the Daisy Bralette and Pants. Kits are also available for this set which really appeals to me as I think a major hurdle slowing down my lingerie sewing progress is just getting all the bits and pieces together!
  • The March PDF pattern release from Sew Over It was the Ultimate Culottes. I never thought I'd get back into culottes after wearing them in my early teens but last summer I lived in them! Many more pairs are in my sewing queue and I love the sleek cut and simplicity of these.
  • Sarah Kirsten released the Fennel Fanny Pack which is a beautifully simple and functional design that looks like it would be fun to sew up. Big enough to hold all your essentials it has two zipped pockets.
  • Also with a new accessory pattern this month is Making Patterns Fly with the COM504 Bolsa Tote Bag. I love how roomy this is and the big exterior pocket. I can never have too many of these in my life and am considering one in a sturdy and practical waxed cotton.
  • Ethical clothing brand Seamly launched their Spring Collection in collaboration with Indie Sew. It consists of three patterns for knits; the No Sweat Pants, Jersey Popover and my personal favourite the Moto Sweatshirt which features an asymmetrical zip fastening and cowl collar in the classic biker jacket style.
  • The Tailoress has released a new Kimono pattern. What sets this apart from other Kimono designs is that its fully lined and has welt pockets on the inside as well as a tie on the interior side seam to keep those slippery fabrics that suit this style in place.
  • New from Sophie Hines is the Cartesian Crop; a lined soft bra. As well as the one piece view the second view has extra design lines to enable you to play around with colour blocking and various stretch fabrics like mesh. It could be great as a swimsuit top too.
  • The Maker's Atelier released the Keira Fogden Dress which is the first in their Design Studio project line. Each design in this collection is created in collaboration with fashion students and graduates. This pattern takes the elements of a classic mens shirt and exaggerates them with large cuffs, a centre back button placket and coloured topstitching details. 
  • Pipe Dream Patterns launched not one but three new coat patterns! The Dùn Èideann Coat is an oversized cocoon style with darted hem and generous cowl collar and I love the distinct 80s vibe of the batwing Marion Jacket; wouldn't it be great made up in stonewashed denim or leather?  My favourite of the bunch though is the Inbhir Nis Trench Cape. This sleeveless trench has a removable cape and two collar options along with buckets of easy glamour.
  • Tessuti have a new free pattern available to download! The Monroe Turtleneck has a boxy style with dropped shoulders and three quarter or full length fitted sleeves which balance the volume in the body nicely. Love these patterns so I'll defiantly be trying this out.
  • Ready To Sew released four new patterns which form a great little capsule wardrobe for the new season. The collection includes the Jamie Cardigan, Juliette Skirt and Jeanne T-Shirt, Dress and Sweatshirt which is a pattern packed with variety. My heart has been stolen by the Jim Dungarees though. The combo of super fitted waist with the bib starting under the bust and pleated slim leg trouser is a winner.
  • New from Sew Liberated are the Arenite Pants. I think these are an incredibly versatile style suitable for all kinds of occasions when made up in different fabrics. Love them styled with both boots for winter and sandals for summer. Plus deep slouchy pockets are always a win in my book!
  • Fresh Press Patterns released the Willow Top with dropped shoulders and ruffled sleeves and the Iris Top which made up in silk would be a lovely way to elevate jeans. It's a loose fitted woven tee with curved high low hem and cuffed sleeves.
  • New from Rosy Pena Patterns is the Marie Wrap Skirt which is available for free as a PDF download if you sign up to their newsletter! I was thinking about drafting my own wrap skirt for some beautiful blue viscose crepe in my stash but this may be just the thing.
  • The Liv T-Shirt & Dress is the latest release from Daughters of Style. It is an oversized style with short or long sleeves and the sweatshirt dress features a gathered sleeve and kangaroo pocket. It would be lovely made up in a french terry.
  • I AM Patterns released two new skirt patterns this month, both of which would be really interesting projects for a beginner to tackle or a more advanced seamstress to play with. I AM Victoria is a gathered skirt with three pocket options and I AM Félicité is a cute circular skater style with big bow belt.
  • Seamstress Erin rebranded her pattern line under the new name Tuesday Stitches and released her next pattern; the Tropo Camisole. It is a fitted style with four necklines to choose from and an optional built in shelf bralette for lightweight support.
  • Issue 2 of Lisa Comfort Magazine is out and included with this issue is the Lea Dress pattern. I just love the clean lines and shaping of this design. It is a really wearable vintage inspired style that screams true Lisa to me!
  • I am loving the trend for clothing designers releasing some of their more popular styles in sewing pattern format for us to create our own. The latest from Anna Allen is the Persephone Sailor Pants and Shorts which have already been getting big love within the sewing community. I'm very drawn to this high-waisted wide leg look for summer and interestingly these don't have a side seam.
  • I only discovered DIBY Club this month and love their ethos of creating sewing patterns that teach. This month they released a collection of four new jeans patterns which can be bought individually or as a bundle and all come in misses and plus sizes. They include the Dauphine Skinny Jeans, Bravado Bootleg & Flood Jeans, Walker Shorts and my personal favourite the Augusta Moto Pant & Capri with stitched and tucked detailing on the front thigh panels. Also available are free downloadable guides for back pocket stitching designs. 
  • Sew Different treated us to another free pattern download in the form of the new Ruffle Top. This classy design has a high neckline and raglan sleeves with a ruffle inserted into the sleeve seam.
  • New from Scroop Patterns is the Otari Hoodie. A classic zip front style, this pattern includes two views one with a regular hood and kangaroo pocket and the other with a pointed hood and scalloped pocket.
  • 5 Out Of 4 Patterns launched three new designs this month. The Men's Rocky Tee is a classic design with various style options and a wide size range. For women there is the Jessie Top, Tunic and Dress and Gloria Peplum and Dress which features a gorgeous draped split sleeve.
  • Last but by no means least Liesl & Co released two new women's patterns alongside bringing back the paper format of one of my personal favourites, the Weekend Getaway Blouse & Dress. The new Terrace Dress has a loose fit and kimono sleeves with a gorgeous obi style wrap belt/sash to add shaping and the Extra-Sharp Pencil Skirt is a wardrobe classic.

Pattern updates and expansions

  • Tessuti have launched plus size versions of two of their popular dress patterns. The Eva Dress and Milenda Dress are now available in Australian sizes 18-12 in both paper and PDF format. Going forward Tessuti will be releasing a limited selection of their current and future designs in the new extended size range.
  • Pattern Fantastique released a new sleeve expansion pack for their Celestial Maxi Dress pattern. Its a seventies inspired voluminous sleeve design with elasticated cuff.
  • Kelli from True Bias released the Lander Zipper Expansion Pack for her popular Lander Pants; great for any of you who love the shape of these trousers but aren't a fan of the feature button fly. I've got a few of these planned so am definitely going to be giving this a try for some variety.
  • Orageuse have just launched an updated version of the Lisboa Top & Dress. The PDF file now includes the 'layer's option so you can choose which size(s) to print and there is also now the option to add sleeves!


  • A sew-along for the Hanna Bralette (released last month by Studio Costura) is up on their blog now. I think this pattern with the sew-along could be an excellent entry point into lingerie making.
  • There's a sew-along running on the Mika Patterns blog for their Sophie Wrap Skirt. Guiding you through every step of the process; from printing and assembling your PDF pattern to finishing techniques.
  • 5 Out Of 4 Patterns have been running a sew-along for their recently released Jessie Top, Tunic and Dress over on their blog. The posts cover all the different back options which include a low open ballerina cut, criss cross straps or an inserted racer back.


  • Designer Stitch are currently testing a Vintage Tea Dress design.
  • The Friday Pattern Company Vernazza Two Piece Swimsuit is set for launch in April and after the little peak posted on Instagram I can't wait to see more and get my hands on this one for summer!
  • Maven Patterns are currently developing their next pattern; the Good Times Skirt.
  • Pauline Alice have two new patterns coming for spring/summer 2018 which are promising more of her classic retro vibe.

Other Exciting News

Phew, that feels like a lot this month and has certainly got me inspired to sew for the new season! As always I'll leave you with a bit of indie sewing inspiration from around the sewing community to get your creative juices flowing!

  • Jen made a gorgeous Kew Dress from Atelier Brunette Double Gauze. I love that she chose to remove the button front and add an invisible zip in the back to keep the lines clean and really show off that fabric.
  • I don't think I would have ever looked at the Pattern Fantasique Terra Pants as something I would wear but after seeing the way Novita wears her stunning green pair they've become an unexpected addition to my sewing queue! Her Lempi Button Down Dress is also a beauty
  • I love the longer length of Debbie's Oslo Coat and in one of my favourite colours too! I'm still really head over heels for this pattern and might well make up another next winter. Possibly belted this time.
  • This viscose was an excellent choice for Emily's Zinnia Skirt, just look at that swish! This paprika colour has been creeping into my spring/summer sewing plans too.
  • Kelli's maxi version of her popular Roscoe Blouse & Dress pattern is an absolute stunner! Love the combination of prints in the same colour-way and her placement of them. She's basically created my dream boho dress!