One of the joys of being self employed is that I often get to work from home or have a bit of down time between contracts to stay at home and sew! If I’m working at home I’m sure going to take advantage of the opportunity to dress as comfortably as possible but I’m a big believer in keeping a getting up and dressed as if you were going out to work routine anyway as I think this really helps with productivity. Plus answering the door to the postman in PJs at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday (yes guilty!) isn’t ideal. I decided I needed to top up my secret pyjamas, that part of my wardrobe that is super comfortable yet still looks somewhat pulled together. For this month’s Mood Sewing Network project I chose to whip myself up a little three piece outfit using classic fabrics in neutral colours and choosing garments with classic minimalist cuts which I could get a lot of wear out of.
I’ve had the Marigold Jumpsuit & Trousers from Tilly and the Buttons waiting to be sewn up for a while now and ordered this black wool gabardine specifically to make up the trousers. I’ve never worked with gabardine before and can’t believe I haven’t given it a whirl until now. It’s got a really beautiful smooth hand and has a high end feel. It really makes these trousers in my opinion. It wasn’t quite what I expected when it arrived as i’s quite heavy and therefore has some body and crispness to it. However, once it was washed and I started sewing I realised it was absolutely perfect for this style. Its a great bottom weight and has the most beautiful drape.
I cut the size 3 and used about 1.2 yards of fabric. I ended up taking 2″ off the length and used 1″ for the hem. Looking at the pictures I’m wondering if I should take off a little more and go for a slightly cropped style but I’ve also worn them rolled up which I quite like the look of. I chose to use the side with the visible twill weave as the right side although the underside has a lovely flat finish too.
They are a little bit roomy in the crotch and bum so I think I’ll take a little bit of length out of the crotch curve next time as we are heading a little towards hammer pants! I was unsure about how I’d feel about the elasticated waist as I’ve never been a major fan of how this feels and looks but it’s great on these. I think the thick elastic and construction of the waistband really help this to work and it’s very comfortable. Doesn’t do that weird shifting about and riding up thing that sometimes stretch waistbands do. When I first put them on after completed the waistband I thought they had come up way too big but then I remembered Tilly’s tip from making her Fifi Pyjamas about steaming the elastic to help in spring back into shape after it’s been stretched out when sewn in. This made such a massive difference and now they are pretty much spot on!
I really enjoyed sewing these because they have enough details to be interesting to assemble yet are straightforward with thorough instructions so I’ve ended up with a garment that I feel is really well sewn. The biggest challenge I had to deal with was the fraying of the gaberdine! There were little hairy fibres all over the place. To combat this I overlocked all the raw edges. Apart from that it sewed up beautifully; I used a standard size 80 needle and a medium heat iron as it does have a tendency to get that shine on it if ironed too hot.
Pattern-wise the only thing I’m not sure about are the pleats on the waist at the front. They’re really small so are not obviously pleats and almost look like they could be a dart sewn badly. This style is a bit of a departure from the norm for me so it’s taking a bit of getting used to but I’m slowly falling in love because they feel so chic in this fabric. Now I’m thinking I’d totally wear these out with a silky little top and some killer heels.
The camisole top is the Ogden Cami from True Bias which I’ve made multiple times now and I shared two versions of on my blog earlier this week so I won’t go into detail on the pattern. With the first two I had made the most of the minimalist style to showcase some special fabrics but what my wardrobe really needs is neutral basics. The pattern is best suited to a fabric with a soft drape and when this is required I always jump on viscose/rayon whenever I see it. This midnight navy slubbed rayon woven really intrigued me when I searched the Mood Fabrics site and I could not be more delighted with it. Its slightly heavier than other rayons I’ve worked with in the past and has this gorgeous feel of a raw silk with a matt finish. Its a basic that remains interesting and is just up my street. I think I’m going to be ordering some in the other available colours!
I thought I might want another comfortable layer to throw on over the top and knew I had this lovely Italian grey periwinkle linen jersey waiting to be sewn which I ordered from Mood a few months ago after loving using linen for my Bowline Sweater earlier this year. I was thinking of making a drapey little cardigan but spontaneously decided I’d prefer a pull on sweater style top. Having a browse through my PDF pattern collection reminded me that I hadn’t yet tried the Aoelian Tee Shirt/Dress pattern from Pattern Fantastique and it looked like it would be a good choice for the fabric.
It was my first time trying a Pattern Fantastique pattern and I was really impressed with how in depth the instructions were; the illustrations are particularly good and you could almost follow them without reading. I did feel like some of the instructions were overly complex now I’m used to putting together garments that are relatively straightforward like this. I really liked the inclusion of small pieces of knit interfacing around the neckline (and that pattern pieces were provided for these) as in general linen knits don’t have the most fantastic recovery and could be prone to stretching out in this area.
I was a bit nervous about the neckline binding method. There seemed to be a lot of steps and you have to trim it down both in width and length before attaching. I’m used to patterns where you just cut the piece, sew it into a loop then distribute it around the neckline but this has you attach it open and judge the stretch as you go the sew up the end as you would with a bias binding on wovens. I am relived to say it turned out fab and I really like the width of it. It’s fairly easy to achieve nice clean finishes in a linen knit (as long as you’re careful not to stretch it too much!) as it is very well behaved and presses beautifully.
I love the inclusion of a back facing piece. It serves no real purpose, just an extra design detail. I would recommend basting it in place first as the instructions suggest as if you are using a twin needle you will be stitching it from the right side and that curve will be really hard to keep even without a line to follow. I also basted the turned up hem and cuffs in place before twin needling as they are quite deep so following a marking on my machine to keep the depth even wasn’t going to work. I love how deep these hems are. Its another unique little detail that sets this pattern apart.
It turned out pretty much exactly as I’d hoped and is lovely to wear because of the breathable natural fibres. However, I think a fabric with a bit more body would make the best out of this pattern, particularly if you’re going to make the longer length. Maybe a sweater knit, ponte or even a scuba or neoprene for a more dramatic look.