London Coat, Tessuti Patterns

I always think I’ll make something ‘warm for winter’… and never really do!

London Coat, Tessuti Patterns. Boiled wool/viscose blend from Minvera's Bower.
Tessuti Patterns London Coat (colour blocked): Yes, it has pockets! And a hood! Fabric from Minerva’s Bower, Katoomba, NSW Australia

I guess I like to pretend it’s never really winter here 😂. However, I’m kidding myself. We don’t get snow or frosts but we do need a warm coat at night, on our windy cold days or to throw on as the winter sun slides towards the horizon and the temperature starts to drop.

The London Coat by Tessuti Patterns caught my eye – is a great casual unstructured jacket to throw on with weekend jeans or even at home or in the office. Right now, thanks to Covid-19, the spare bedroom is my office!

Pockets!

The description from Tessuti is: “The London Coat is oversized and unlined. The coat front has a 4″ overlap which can be left open or secured with a feature pin, making it the perfect layer for a relaxed autumn/winter style. It features a hood, dropped shoulders and full-length sleeves with turned back cuffs. The horizontal hip seam, with inseam pockets, provides the opportunity for colour blocking. As seams are overlapped and edges and hems left raw, this coat is best made up in boiled wools, felted wools that do not fray when cut.”

Construction

Construction is easy enough, although takes a little patience as you overlap the raw edges by 3/8 inch and then edgestitch the seams. A seemingly endless transfer of pins, you could try to do it all by ‘eye’ however I’m not a fan of unpicking seams, less so of unpicking seams in boiled wool! And I think spending time making the edgestitched seams consistent is worth the effort as they are always on show.

Almost all seams are sewn in this overlapped, raw edged manner.
Photo credit: Tessuti Patterns.

While I didn’t use one… a walking foot on boiled wool (as illustrated in the photo above from the Tessuti instructions) is a good idea.

I cut the pieces out with the fabric unfolded, tracing around the pattern pieces with chalk as I find bulkier fabrics annoying to pin. I’m hoping I was frugal enough with my fabric to be able to piece the leftovers into some sort of pullover vest. I was so economical in my cutting that I decided to used the selvedge edge as my hood and front opening edges. The texture was not dramatically different to the rest of the fabric and I liked the clean, consistent edge it provided.

Sizing

I made size 0. My bust is 33 inches. This pattern is for bust 32-48 inches and has a finished hip measurement (including the 4 inch overlap) of 47-59 inches.

It is a very oversized coat, ideal with layering, it can be done up with a fancy lapel or kilt pin, or left to hang open… which is usually what I do!

At this point… I’ve been wearing it all day!

Fabric

I’ve used an olive & black boiled wool/viscose blend from Minerva’s Bower. They were so helpful and readily sent me some photos via messenger with the different colours together so I could make up my mind.

I was SO tempted to chose my usual blue/black combination… however since it’s often been said “a change is as good as a holiday”, and since I haven’t had one of those in a LONG time, I opted for olive and black.

I put it on this morning and haven’t taken it off all day. Winner.

Not quite a holiday… however it was a fun sewing project and great casual wear.

Verdict

A great oversized coat or coatigan, soft and slouchy for casual wear, and perfect for layering.

Details

Pattern: London Coat, Tessuti Patterns (available as a hard copy or PDF download)
Fabric: Olive and Black Boiled Wool/Viscose Blend from Minvera’s Bower

Look – no lining!

Life
Well what a rocky couple of years it has been. Our little region endured seemingly endless bushfires (July 2019 until February 2020), followed by Covid-19 (March 2020 onwards) and then a shocking 1-in-100 year flood (March 2021) – and now where we are back in Covid World and I’m working from home at the moment. I’m feeling world and work weary – but have faith that better days are coming.

I decided to enter a marathon in 2021. The event got cancelled due to Covid… and I ended up running my marathon anyway – around the streets and waterfront of Port Macquarie instead. It wasn’t quite what I imagined but turned out to be a fun day (as much as 42.2kms of running is ‘fun’) and my running club organised special medals for our ‘homemade’ event… and I think it’s my favourite event medal yet. Not so much for achieving the distance but the people who went on the journey with me. During a very tough time of life (in some many ways), running gave me peace of mind and friends to laugh with – and the side benefits of being much healthier and fitter after so many months of training.
On the back of this medal are the words “It is not how it ends that matters, but the journey it takes to get there”.

Pipit Loungewear Set by Common Stitch

Loungewear… not something I’d ever think I’d sew but “Hello COVID–19 Lockdown” and it just seemed a fun thing to do to keep me busy… and use up stash fabric… and also housebound appropriate! When Common Stitch had a sale I couldn’t resist trying out this fun modern pattern.

I also challenged myself to only use buttons, bias tape etc from my stash. No store visits for extras – which is invariably accompanied by the usual accidental-to-good-to-leave-behind fabric purchases! Miracle!

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, linen cotton

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, linen cotton

Plus, I had been thinking about sewing myself some respectable PJs as I’m often away on running weekends… and let’s just say my nightwear and ‘lounging wear’ is less than epic.

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, linen cotton

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, linen cotton

I really adore my first linen/cotton blend set. The fabric has a lot more body and the sleeves are more dramatic and shorts bulkier but I still like them. The top has been good with jeans or open as a casual loose jacket. And I’ve worn the shorts to bed with a tshirt. I think this would also look great with a white tshirt or cami under the open topwith the shorts if I was ‘entertaining’ while wearing my loungewear LOL.

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, linen cotton

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, linen cotton

I added two buttonholes to the waistband and put a twill tape through (in addition to the elastic). I had sewed the elastic in a little loose (over estimating my lockdown consumption) which much harder to fix as the elastic is serged onto the waist, turned over and sewn down. Adding the twill tape made the waist a little firmer which is nice and also looks a bit smarter (see image below).

I also added a bias tape finish to the top’s neckline facing edge. I really love this simple finish and it looks so much nicer than an overlocked edge.

Naturally I decided I had so much fun sewing my linen set, I decided to stash dive and try a fabric with more drape – simply because it was a fun, easy project and I have a tendency to sew patterns multiple times.

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, rayon twillThese are lovely and soft. The print reminds me on a Monet painting.

While I have worn my rayon twill Pipit set to bed (I was tired and could not be bothered to get changed!) the low neckline and very loose fit doesn’t make them ideal. However they are ideal cocktail-lounge-dwelling wear and also I’m not embarrassed to open the door… should anyone ever knock on it again!

Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch, rayon twill

Check out those swishy sleeves

I added the bias tape finish to the top facing and hemline on this set. For the little bit of extra time, I can’t resist adding neat finishes.

There was a third set!

One of my friends admired my linen/cotton set so much, as a surprise I sewed her an identical set. I hardly ever sew for anyone, it stresses me out. I wrapped them up and left them on her doorstep as an Easter surprise. I think she liked them – we celebrated with ‘zoom drinks’ in our loungewear – the weird things we do in these strange times!

I added some fun Kylie and the Machine labels to her set – because they make me smile and I do think these funny little touches make a gift really memorable.

Pipit Loungewear

Adding twill tape to the waistband, bias tape finish to the facing edge and some labels helped make these feel a little more special.

Thoughts on the Pipit Loungewear Pattern

This is a relatively simple sewing project, it has lots of ease and no complex construction details. It went together easily and with some extra touches, you can make your loungewear set feel a little more ‘luxe’.

My neckline feels a little lower than the pattern samples indicate – however for its purpose, I don’t really mind.

Stay safe and well.

Pattern: Pipit Loungewear, Common Stitch.
Fabric: from my stash (cotton/linen and rayon twill from Spotlight at least 18 months ago and no longer available – sorry!)

Tales from the Remnant Bin – Sadie Slip, Olya Shirt and Rise Turtleneck

I had a week off work – and what can I say, I got productive!

This time I decided to challenge myself to sew from my seemingly endless stash (again) and also to sew an outfit using ‘remnant bin’ rescues.

For no particular reason… it just seemed like a good idea.

I was originally inspired by these two pieces I had found sitting alongside each other.

Rayon knit and khaki linen - looked so good together!

Rayon knit and khaki linen – looked so good together!

I had 1.6m of print rayon knit and 1.4m of khaki linen.

I played with several ideas for the top but eventually settled on the Rise Turtleneck by Papercut Patterns. I had this pattern in my stash, having made the Fall Turtleneck a couple of years ago.

There isn’t much to say about this! It’s an easy make, I cut and finished this in about 90 minutes – extra time spent on hems. I was between sizes and decided to make up the Small instead of the Extra Small. It’s a looser fit – but not baggy. I think I will add more of these basics to my wardrobe. Easy, comfortable and practical.

Rise Turtleneck by Papercut Patterns in a rayon knit

Rise Turtleneck by Papercut Patterns in a rayon knit

I was prevaricating between a loose pinafore style dress, trousers or a straighter pinafore style… and in the end I chose none of these options.

I almost made trousers… well I actually did make trousers – just not khaki ones! I whipped up a test pair in my last piece of cotton/linen (see my Pipit post) and decided while I didn’t hate the trousers, I would like them much less in a solid, prone-to-crinkle linen. And I didn’t think a fitted turtleneck would pair very well with front-pleat trousers and elastic in the back waist.

Testing trouser patterns

This was just a test with my leftover linen. Pull-on pants with front pleats and elastic back waist. Pattern from Kana’s Standard

I was SO tempted to put the fabric aside and move onto something else… however that’s not really the point of a challenge. The challenge is to finish.

I got up the next morning and pulled out my Tessuti Patterns, Sadie and Claudia. I umm-ed and ahh-ed and decided I would prefer the neckline of the Sadie with a turtleneck for autumn layering. This was a real squeeze on 1.4m of fabric – however as I am 5 foot 3-ish, I’ve shortened my Sadie pattern pieces considerably and it ‘just’ fit.

I’ve made this dress four times now! After my first version, I lengthened the facing pieces to be much longer – a similar length to the Ogden Cami by True Bias.

I discovered with my first version, that the neckline facing wanted to roll outwards a lot – despite understitching. I’ve also seem this on other Sadies and even saw someone at The Fabric Store wearing one with the facing stitched down from the outside – which probably helps but the visible stitching would annoy me. I’ve found by lengthening the facing, almost a half lining, the rolling is minimised. I still use the original facing pieces and just cut interfacing using these and apply the interfacing to the top of the facing pieces.

Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns. Inner lining/facing

Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns. Inner lining/facing

I added the optional back fisheye darts as the linen has much less drape than my versions in lightweight tencel denim and silk.

Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns.

Very windy afternoon – sorry! There are fisheye darts in my back!

I left the hem raw. I will run a line of stitching around the edge to keep fraying slightly under control – however I love a bias frayed hem and in linen it adds some rustic charm.

Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns.

A linen Sadie Slip Dress. Taken on a windy afternoon!

I’m surprised just how much I like this! An incredible simple, versatile sundress. Or slip under a shirt or jacket – or layered with a turtleneck. Will look great with a faded denim jacket and sneakers.

It’s been very warm for late autumn, today it as 28 degrees – so no photos with the turtleneck other than a garage selfie (currently dance studio and gym).

Sadie Slip Dress

garage selfie late in the evening

Sadie Slip Dress and a Rise Turtleneck

Sadie Slip Dress and a Rise Turtleneck – hoping this works for layering for autumn

And finally I pulled about ANOTHER piece of remnant bin yarn-dyed linen in mushroom pink and it also seemed to pair beautifully with the khaki linen (khaki is a fabulous neutral!) so decided to add it to the challenge…

I made myself a Paper Theory Olya Shirt. I needed determination to make this one happen!!

Firstly there was an epic pattern Tetris episode to fit it on the piece of linen I had chosen. I even photographed by leftover scraps because I was so proud of myself!

Fabric scraps after pattern tetris to make an Olya shirt

Fabric scraps after pattern tetris to make an Olya shirt

Then I realised when I went to attach the cuffs (late in construction)… I had only cut out one set. I felt like crying. I lay awake in bed, contemplating if having contrasting cuffs was cheating… and if I did that, should I add contrast collar band and button plackets… yes, I like to overthink things.

Whew - two pieces large enough for cuff pieces

Whew – two pieces large enough for cuff pieces

Fortunately I found two pieces and squeezed out two more cuffs pieces. Whew!

THEN I unpinned my collar bands to discover I was missing a chunk of fabric from one of the bands (the perils of block fusing and then cutting out on the fold!). There was definitely no.more.fabric to cut another band. Cue more overthinking…. and then I decided to just ‘patchwork’ a piece onto the collar band. Not ideal but it worked.

collar band - rescue patchwork

Agreed. The grainline of the piece is not ideal… however it was the only option.

This is a slightly more complex shirt in some ways – there are hidden pockets in the front seams and the front yoke extends into the sleeve. I highly recommend following along with the Paper Theory sewalong online for attaching the sleeve. There is a pivot point, which is a little tricky and then you need to figure out where to go next and where to stop. Hard to explain however the best advice I can offer you is to just slow down – or even walk away for a while if you are finding it perplexing. There is nothing to invites disaster more than exhaustion and frustration!

Olya Shirt, Paper Theory & Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Olya Shirt, Paper Theory & Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Olya Shirt, Paper Theory & Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Olya Shirt – it is a very roomy shirt, boxy and airy.

Olya Shirt, Paper Theory & Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Love these colours together!

I made this pattern up as a shirtdress last year. Sorry it hasn’t made it onto the blog… I left off the front pockets on this version. While I like the dress in itself, it feels like a massive pyjama shirt due to the colour/stripe and I’m not sure what to do with it. Maybe dye it… or wear it open as a duster coat. Or just put it aside for a while. I did that with my Flint Pants and now wear them regularly.

Olya Shirt dress

Olya Shirt dress

Anyway… I’m pretty pleased I hung in there and finished off these three remnant bins garments. Challenging myself to use a piece of fabric, find a suitable pattern from my stash and turn them into versatile wardrobe additions is a real win.

Fabric: 1.4m Rayon print knit, cost $3.80; 1.4m khaki premium linen suiting, cost $10.40, 1.5m dusky pink yarn dyed linen $10. Total cost $24.20

Patterns used: Rise turtleneck, Papercut Patterns; Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Patterns; and Olya Shirt, Paper Theory.

So there you have it. Three new wardrobe staples in 4 days. All unloved pieces from a remnant bin!

Banjo on the beach during COVID-19

I’ve had people asked me if I get embarrassed taking photos at the beach. Well this one is 9kms long, you are always excessively socially distanced on this one! Yes, that’s old Banjo who always made regular and popular appearances on this blog and Instagram. He will be 11 in August!

Barkcloth Sundress

Oh my goodness. It has been a while.

Style Arc Ariana Dress in Cloud Nine barkcloth from Minerva Fabrics Style Arc Ariana Dress in Cloud Nine barkcloth from Minerva Fabrics

Your kids get older and you think you will have more time.

False.

I have less time than ever before.

And I’m strangely thankful that Minerva Fabrics popped its head up and offered me some fabulous barkcloth as it made me put sewing back onto my schedule – I had to sew! I had planned a jacket with this fabric. However when the fabric arrived, I could not get ‘sundress’ out of my head and simply had to make a Style Arc Ariana Dress.

While the fabric was a little too heavy to cope with shirring, after changing the way to elasticise the back panel, my vision of a fun funky sundress became a reality!

Read more on the Minerva Blog about how this ‘shirred’ panel is a little different to other shirring.

My alterations to 'shirr' barkcloth My alterations to ‘shirr’ barkcloth

I totally forgot to publish this post – whoops. However I am delighted to confirm this dress is a firm favourite in my wardrobe and it was in heavy rotation this summer. Lots of people think it is from the popular Australian fashion brand, Gorman… however it’s a Lizzy Original.

Fabric: Cloud 9 Barkcloth, supplied by Minerva Fabrics, UK

Pattern: Ariana Dress, Style Arc.

A Summer Dress – Lisa Dress from Tessuti Patterns

Aka the Little Big DressLisa Dress, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Old Banjo makes his blog return

This is one of those patterns that seems to have been floating about in my head forever. I loved it when I saw it but spent…. years… wondering if it would be too shapeless on me. It’s safe to say, I like to make well considered decisions!

The best way to figure this out is to try it. Thankfully Tessuti Patterns are mouth more affordable than many independent pattern companies so I threw caution to the wind, along with $12, printed off the A0 sheets at Officeworks and got sewing.

Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns, side view

Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns, side view

It’s debatable if this is flattering when I am standing still – but what is flattering anyway? It’s such a subjective concept. Garments that showcase our curves? I don’t think they always need to ‘nip in’ at the waist etc. I think we should all consider our clothes as how they sit on our bodies and how they move against and with us when worn. I believe this is where ‘sack dresses’ come into their own. When sewn in a lighter fabric with some drape, sack dresses hint at what lies beneath without clinging to curves. And as a result, loosely fitted, feminine dresses will always have a place in my wardrobe.

Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns

I topstitched all the seams – with the exception of the waist seam. I did topstitch it, decided to it looked odd and then unpicked it.

Likes

  • I like the cut of the armholes.
  • I like the neckline and the loose fit of the bodice.
  • The high-low bodice waistline is cute.
  • I like how Tessuti sew their pockets, it’s neat and also helps the pockets hang forwards, rather than flapping about.

Changes

I cut 4 inches off the length – it would be have far too long at the drafted length. For reference, I am 5 foot 4 or about 164cm tall.

I didn’t make any other modifications, however I would like to make this again and I would pinch out at least 1/2 inch in the bodice as the bust darts are crazy low.

Depending on my future fabric choice, I’d consider shortening the skirt again and adding a deeper ruffle to the hemline. Both Kylie & The Machine and Lisa of Tessuti Fabrics have done this.

Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Thoughts

It’s a loose summer dress. Perfect for those long steamy summer days. An added bonus is you will also have plenty of room for lunch!

Pattern: Lisa Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Fabric: Tencel denim, Spotlight Australia (from the bargain table, fabric cost $12)