The other week, I had a clear out of my sewing patterns.
Early on in my sewing journey, I was one of those people who was inwardly horrified to see the massive pattern stashes that some sewists have. Like, ‘why do you even NEED all of those patterns?’ I would think. But, erm, yeah I seem to be one of those very same people now ?♀️ I have three smallish plastic crates that are packed full of patterns. I haven’t counted, but I’ll take a stab at about 60 patterns. I then started wondering why I had so many… some I’ve used more than once, so they’ve legitimately earned their place, some I may or may not use again but I’ll keep them just in case I want to swipe the bodice/skirt/sleeve off them one day for some sort of pattern-hacking-emergency that may crop up. And some are out of print and can’t be replaced. You just KNOW that the second I get rid of one of those I’ll want it again.
I parted with about 10-15 patterns during this clear out. I was brutally honest about what I would make again, and what was so horrific that I definitely would NOT make again. There were also a few of those ‘what was I thinking’ patterns which I’ve never made (possibly not even had out of the packet) that I look at now and vomit a little. I also had a couple of patterns that I made when I first started sewing which I’d cut – not traced – in a size that was WAY too optimistic for the amount of flubber I carry in reality. So they went too.
After that little spring clean, I went and bought more patterns to fill the hole. Obvs. Some of them I am really excited about, so I wanted to share them with you guys. A little behind-the-sewing-scenes action, if you will.
So what have I been buying? Well, quite a lot actually ???
Yes, I’m thinking about next winter’s sewing ALREADY. I can’t help it. I’m an Autumn child at heart and always will be. Cosy sweaters, coats and thick socks will always be my preferred uniform, wools will always steal my heart over flowy rayons.
I saw Shauni’s version of this coat by DP Studio and LITERALLY FELL IN LOVE. I am always cold, ALWAYS, and the idea of a coat that has a gilet inside that I can fasten up to my chin when it’s properly cold is immensely appealing. DP studio are a new-to-me brand, but I love their edgy designs. They’ve just released a new collection, so go check ’em out.
For the coat I have bought a wool/cashmere leopard print fabric from Stone Fabrics. I think for the lining I’m going to have to go plain black – so that I don’t take the attention away from the awesome animal print – but from what I understand from Shauni’s blog post, it’s only a half lining. I think I might extend it to be a full lining, because if you’re making a coat to keep you super warm, surely it’s cold enough for a full lining?! Don’t quite understand the logic here. It’s like short sleeve sweaters – if it’s cold enough to wear it, it’s cold enough for full sleeves. Anyhoo I’m planning to make this coat for my trip to NYC in October so that I can get some awesome photos of it against a chic brownstone backdrop.
Usually I’m firmly in the ‘tracing’ camp when it comes to sewing patterns, but I genuinely don’t know whether I’ve got it in me to trace this lot… ?
I’m going to make an educated prediction and say I’ll be cutting this one. So it had BETTER fit first time.
Tailoring – The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket
As I’ve been making a fair few coats and jackets lately, I wanted to try to take them to the next level with a bit of proper hand tailoring. Previously I’d only been following the instructions that came with the sewing pattern, and you know that most of the time those instructions can be pretty vague and you have to add your own experience to them – whether that’s French seams, or different methods for attaching linings etc.
I mainly bought this book on the advice of SewManju who said that their method of welt pockets in the book is MUCH easier than the method described in the Vogue mens jacket V8940 which I’ve struggled with the couple of times I’ve done it. For the next iteration of that coat (I have a dark green and black herringbone cashmere lined up) I want to improve on the ones I’ve made before, so I’m hoping that this book will help me. I don’t usually buy sewing manuals/reference books, but this one does look quite thorough and useful.
I recently had a delivery of some wool and hair canvas to use as interfacing on said jackets, as this is recommended (by the people who know their shiz on jacket-making) over regular interfacing. Up until now I’ve been using Vilene medium sew-in interfacing on all my jackets, so it’ll be interesting to see how the hair canvas changes things up a bit.
Modes & Travaux / DP studio magazine
After stumbling across DP studio patterns, I then saw this magazine doing the rounds on Instagram. So there’s one little blip in the fact that it’s in French, but whatevs, I’ll just follow the pictures. Or painstakingly type up the instructions into Google translate.
I really like the button up skirt, and that’s pretty much the only reason why I bought this magazine to be honest. I don’t tend to buy UK sewing magazines (they’re just not as trendy, amirite?) so I figured this justified buying a whole magazine for a single pattern. Haven’t yet decided on fabric for this one… but I’m heading towards heavier fabrics like wool, jacquards and denim. Whatever I choose needs to have a bit of strength to it so that those buttonholes at the top don’t just rip out under the strain of me sitting down.
All the patterns are printed full size on tissue paper in the back of the magazine, I haven’t yet dared take the tissue out to assess the level of chaos – hopefully they won’t be as bad as the notorious Burda magazine patterns…
La Maison Victor Mens Edition
If you sew men’s clothes, you know how hard it is to find good, modern patterns for men. I’m not gonna get started on the crazy ratio of women’s patterns to mens, despite the fact that there’s a fair few men occupying the planet alongside us ladies and those men need clothes equally as much as women ?♀️?♀️ So when La Maison Victor released their mens edition, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. There’s one tiny insignificant detail in the fact that it’s written entirely in french, (AGAIN with the french magazines – I need to brush up on my Francais, pronto). It wasn’t available in the UK so I had to source from France, but I successfully managed to blag my way through checkout in French on the Journaux website and it arrived fairly quickly, along with my DP studio mag. I’ve bookmarked this site so that I can go back to it every so often to buy yet more patterns that I don’t have time to sew ?
1970’s Vogue Paris Molyneux Coat
This pattern is *almost* the exact same style as my current RTW coat which I’m trying to copy in the cashmere that I picked up from Paris recently. All that’s missing is a hidden placket and some yoke/shoulder details, but other than that it’s pretty damn close – the closest pattern I’ve seen, anyway. I would usually buy a size 10/Bust 32 for a coat, but it specifically says on the pattern ‘sized to be worn over the dress only’ which I’m guessing means that it’s a little on the small side. As luck would have it, I could only find a copy of the pattern in a size 12, so I snatched it up in the hope that it will sort-of-roughly-equate to a size 10 once sewn up. Obvs I’m not going to go steaming in with the cashmere so I’ll be making a practice run first – with boiled wool, most likely.
Butterick 5895 Mary Quant Skirt
I really loved the retro vibes of this skirt when I stumbled across the pattern on Etsy. Of course, with vintage patterns you’ve got to be bloody lucky to not only *find* a copy of the pattern, but also FIND IT IN YOUR SIZE – the shirt pattern is way too big for my bust but it’s only the skirt I’m interested in, and as the pattern is single-sized I had to go large to get something that would fit my hips/waist.
I’m still trying to find my way with skirt patterns, and so far during my sewing journey I’ve established that:
1. It needs to be high-waisted, so that the top of the skirt hits at my actual waist
2. It needs to have a defined waistband
3. It cannot be knee-length unless I want to look 20 years older. Above the knee is fine. mid-calf also seems to be cool. Knee length? Nuh-uh. Danger Zone.
I tend to prefer jeans to skirts, but the annoying thing is that skirts are much easier to wear for me because of my crazy waist-hip-thigh ratio – finding jeans that fit me is a ritual that requires ancient stones, a book of spells and the blood of a pure heart. American Eagle is literally the only brand of jeans that I can wear – and it has to be their sky-high-waist range. you can imagine how thrilled I was when they closed down all their UK stores, now I have to order from the US and wait ages for delivery and also pay the wonderful UK import taxes. (The first pair of Ginger’s WILL happen this year, I promise. I have the fabric and everything now.)
But anyway. Skirts. The Republique Du Chiffon Charlotte Skirt, and also the Madeline skirt from Victory patterns are ones that have made it into my ‘keepers’ pile. With the Madeline, I am tempted to try a slightly thicker waistband, to avoid my fat rolls crumpling it up into oblivion when I sit down, but other than that I love it. I really must make another one soon.
I currently own a grand total of one long skirt. I’m planning on making this Mary Quant number from black denim and having it as another option for the colder months of the year. Which is basically every month except July and August here in the UK. I’m not sure how I feel about the styling on this photo – why would you wear this over a dress? Was this the thing back in the day? #confuzed
Vogue / Christian Dior V1734 Coat
This may or may not be one of those designs that looks better on the model on the pattern envelope than on me. But I liked it, and in the interest of Trying New Things I thought I’d give it a shot (can you tell I went on a bit of a vintage Vogue spree? Lolz). It will take like 400 metres of fabric to make it (probably), but I’m really digging the styling of it with the hat and the knee-high boots. I’m totally going to copy this.
This pattern even came totally uncut – it’s endured all these years and no one has ever sewn it. I feel like I *have* to make it at least once in order for it to fulfil its destiny.
** I think I may have a serious addiction to making coats, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just can’t stop myself #halp **
Vogue / Jean Muir V2664
OK so ignore the sleeves on this one, because cray-ZEE, but instead focus your eyes on the bodice. That’s the reason I bought this pattern. I’m thinking that I’ll make a sleeveless summer dress, maybe a boho maxi length one and also a just-above-knee-length one, using this bodice. I’m not sure that I like the gored skirt, might have to replace that with a circle or gathered skirt for the knee-length version.
Summer dresses for me have to be bra-friendly, teeny tiny spaghetti straps I can *just about* cope with but halternecks and my boobs just ain’t gonna fly. Strapless bras are the invention of the devil, don’t even go there. Since sewing my first Watson bra a year ago, I’ve literally not worn an underwired bra since ??
But anyhoo, this bodice is bra-friendly so we’re all good. I love the yoke on this, and the 70’s hippy vibe going on. Also this one came with the original clothes label in the envelope!
Arenite Pants – Sew Liberated
I actually have a pair of American Eagle trousers that are very similar to this, which I love, and are probably what drew me to this pattern. I really love Sew Liberated’s atsy, bohemian style – sadly a few of the patterns aren’t going to work with my body shape, so I’ll just admire them on her instead. I used to be into all the boho clothes when I was younger, and I sort of feel like I’m coming full circle and heading back in that direction again. I can picture the Arenite’s paired with a vest top, comfy shoes, a headscarf on my head and my travellers backpack (and the sun) on my back as I wander through Cambodia or Thailand. Ahh… amazing. A total contrast to my daily view of a grimy part of London as my train rolls in to the city for another day of work #LovingLife
I’ll be making these in a viscose fabric, the patterned fabrics call out to me (as always) but I think I will opt for a solid colour – for the first pair, at least.
BRACES. That is all. (or ‘suspenders’ if you live over the pond. Suspenders in England means ‘stockings’ ?♀️ ?)
The shorts aren’t really my thing, but I’ll definitely make the skirt and trousers version of this pattern. I’m trying to embrace my shape and sew things that will fit it properly (ie, my ginormous hips), and the Jim pattern from Ready to Sew looks like it’s a good contender. I’m picturing the skirt over a t-shirt, with brogues, Geek Chic Style. I have black denim ready to go for this, and if it’s a success I might make a couple from corduroy. It could well be another wardrobe staple for me. I loved this pattern so much that I bought it even though it was a pdf, and didn’t even whinge once while I sat there cutting and sticking 400 pages slowly losing my life force. Now that’s true love.
Vogue 7333 Dress
When I lived in Asia, light and floaty dresses were the uniform. Anything else and you just sweated. Boho vibes just somehow ‘work’ when it’s hot, sunny, you’ve got a coconut water in your hand and you’ve got a tan. I look back at pictures of me when I lived there and just can’t believe how tanned I was. When you’re white and pasty and enduring the season that passes for ‘summer’ in England, somehow it’s just harder to pull that look off. I very clearly remember a dress that I bought in Thailand, which I really loved, and this forms the basis of all my inspiration for summer dresses. It’s like the dress of all dresses. I’m not sure I even have a picture of it ?
There’s just something SO easy about pulling a loose-fitting dress over your head, tying a belt round your middle and going about your day. I’ve made a couple of the Seamwork Catarinas, and have another one in the works, but I was looking for something different. For a change. This dress caught my eye – I really like the neckline. I’ll be making a matching belt to wear with it, because let’s be real – Version A looks like a nightdress.
Retro Butterick B6318
I am really into the whole tie waist thing ATM (as if you hadn’t guessed, with the rate I’m churning Kielo’s out). Its like achieving a perfectly fitting waistband without actually having to perfectly fit it. I liked this pattern when I first saw it a while back, but then forgot about it – it wasn’t until I was cutting out a Kielo dress that I remembered it, and snaffled a copy off eBay for £4. Getting a nice fit at the waist when standing can sometimes feel a bit too restrictive when sitting down (because flab) and to be totally honest I worry that the side zip is gonna pop on dresses like that. With a belt, I can slack off a little with the fit at the waist and use the tie belt to pull it all in (stomach AND fabric, lol). I’m really embracing tie belts a lot more now as a means of defining my waist, something that I’ve not really done before.
So… you’ve reached the end. Yep, my name’s Sarah and I’m a sewing pattern addict ?
I’m not kidding myself that I’ll be able to get all of these sewn this year. If I can get half done, even that will be a massive achievement, but in reality I’m aiming for like two or three. Because full-time work gets in the way of my sewing time ? Top of the list are the DP studio coat, the Jim braces skirt and the Mary Quant skirt, so if I can get those done I’ll be a happy bunny. The husband has spent the afternoon browsing fabrics and sewing patterns, and has bought himself a remnant of Versace jersey (yep, he has expensive tastes) to make himself a Mimi G/Norris D t-shirt . He also bought some fabric to make me a top with – so with two of us sewing regularly, I predict that the pattern and fabric stash will be out of control in approximately… two weeks time. If that. (After he bought his fabric, I then saw that some printed silk fabric I’d had in my cart for literally MONTHS had been reduced by about 60% so of course I bought that too ?).
So… which is your favourite from my little pattern haul? Have you sewn any of these designs? Do you ever clear out your patterns, or just hoard them all until the end of time??! Lemme know!
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… a totally now-seasonally-inappropriate coat that took me over a year from start to finish ?? Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!
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