Tag Archives: my blythe life

Tackling Plaid

Well, I did it. I bit the bullet and made plaid pants.
I must confess, I sewed plaid once before, a nice Burda dress with lots of seams in the bodice. Maybe I am stupid, but I didn’t realise plaid needed to be matched, and I wore that dress with all the seams mismatched. Nice.
A couple of years on, with my new focus on quality sewing, I sat down, read some great posts like Sewaholic’s Matching Plaids: A Step By Step Guide and Amy Alan’s Cutting Out Plaid, and here is the result.

Thurlow Trousers in Plaid

Thurlow Trousers in Plaid

This is Sewaholic’s wonderful Thurlow Trousers pattern again.  Interestingly, they are a bit looser than my first Thurlows, but I don’t mind that.  This is a polyester suiting fabric, and it behaves a bit differently to the gabardine I used for my first pair.

As per Sewaholic’s and Amy’s instructions, I spent a LOT of time matching the lines before cutting the pant pieces.  I cut everything separately- no cutting on folded fabric for this.  Once I had cut out one piece, I reversed it and placed it on the fabric in EXACTLY the spot which matched the plaid lines.  Then I pinned through the top pattern piece and checked that the pins were coming through the same place in the underneath fabric.  This was very time-consuming.  I didn’t mind too much.  Being a first time, it was quite interesting.

PINNING the fabric in preparation for sewing was also much fiddlier than with plain fabric.  I pinned every line, again checking that the pins entered and exited the same place on the top pattern piece and the underneath pattern piece.

pinning pieces before sewing

pinning pieces before sewing

Even with this careful preparation, the lines did not always sew together perfectly, and I was amazed at how many small adjustments I had to make which I would NEVER make for plain fabric. Does this mean that when I sew plain fabric, the grain shifts but I never realise? Hmm…

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the matching.

DSC_5953 DSC_5954
The stripes match over the pockets perfectly despite what the photos show. The plaid matches up the waistband at the front, but because the waistband curves, it stops matching towards the back.  The side seams are pretty good, too. Not perfect, but there was NO WAY I was going to unpick them and re-attempt the seams when they were so close.

side seams

side seams

Some more pics.  I rushed these photos a bit, and I also did not pose in the shoes that I hemmed these pants for (too lazy to go downstairs and get them), so the pants actually hang better than the photos would suggest.

I was really excited that these pants would be able to be dressed up or down…I am wearing an unblogged Jalie Scarf Collar Knit Top which I sewed especially for these pants. The red top is a purchased T-shirt.
I purposely left off the belt loops from these pants so that I could wear tops over the waistband without bulges. I prefer the look of the top pulled down over the top of the pants; for some reason, the waist looks a bit high to me with the tucked-in shirt, and I don’t feel that way with my first Thurlows. Weird. I guess belt loops and a belt breaks it up some.
I also left off the welt pockets. I didn’t think they would show up too well, so I couldn’t be bothered spending the time it would have taken to match them.





I think it works both ways.


All in all, I’m really, really happy with these pants. They are comfortable and I think I will get a lot of wear out of them. I think that they fit into my ‘good quality clothes’ wardrobe while also being a bit funky and cool. Love.

Archer Shirt, though no archery for me yet.

My first ever button-up shirt!  A relatively pain-free experience with Grainline’s wonderful Archer Button Up Shirt.

Archer Button Up Shirt in cream viscose.

Archer Button Up Shirt in cream viscose.

Bit stupid of me to photograph a white shirt against a white background.  Sorry about that.

I wanted to sew something that would go with my grey Thurlow trousers, and I thought the Archer Button Up Shirt would be perfect.  My plan is to sew a wardrobe of clothes which make mix and matching possible if not easy, so I knew I needed a dress shirt.  Would you believe I don’t actually own one?  At all?  Obviously, this needed to be rectified.

I once tried to sew a button up shirt (which doesn’t count as being my first time since I never completed it) which was some kind of stiff cotton. Don’t-ask-me-to-bend-my-arms stiff.  I decided to be extra cautious and make a drapey Archer, so I decided to try viscose.  Viscose is also supposed to be less wrinkly, though I don’t think anyone has told my Archer shirt.  Still wrinkly.

Archer with French Seams and Hand-Stitched Collar

Archer w/ French Seams & Hand-Stitched Collar

There were a lot of firsts with this project, too, and I took my time with it.  I decided to sew French seams, both to learn the technique and because I thought the visose might be a little transparent.  It isn’t, and the seams aren’t visible through the shirt, but I’m glad I sewed the French seams.  The places I shop don’t have clothes with French seams.

I cut a size 2, since my measurements are EXACTLY the size 2 measurements.  Sadly, the shirt is too tight for me across my upper back.  No archery for me in this top.  It’s wearable, but I like to be able to move in the clothes I wear, which is why I like knits so much, and while I don’t expect to feel as free in woven fabrics, this shirt is definitely in the going-to-need-to-sew-another-one-to-replace-this-one camp.  I already have the viscose purchased.

Andrea’s Archer shirt hangs off her shoulders a bit (I love dropped shoulders), so I thought mine would, but you can see they certainly don’t on me.  Must be my manly shoulders.  I actually spent a couple of hours SEARCHING for a dress shirt pattern with dropped shoulders, but I could only find some 80s monstrosity.  And lots of websites telling me how hideous dropped shoulders are. And I thought they were sexy >sigh<.  Kind of casual I’m-wearing-my-man’s-shirt-with-nothing-else-but-undies vibe.  But style sites tell me I am wrong.  I am sure these anti-dropped-shoulder posts were written by women with sloping shoulders.

definitely not a dropped shoulder

definitely not a dropped shoulder

The length of the shirt is a bit short for my liking.  When I raise my arms, I like my shirt to stay tucked in.  Of course, I could remedy this by sewing high-waisted pants to wear with this Archer, but I fear this:

mom jeans

I’d rather just wear longer shirts.  Too late, I notice that Andrea added 3 inches to the length.  I will definitely be doing that on my next Archer.

I like my collars a bit larger than the one in this pattern, so next time, I will try to replace the collar piece with something from another pattern.  Also, I used a very drapey interfacing on the collar, and it really needed more structure.

I wanted a crisp collar peeking out the top of my jumper.  Someone give that collar some viagra, stat!

I wanted a crisp collar peeking out the top of my jumper. Someone give that collar some viagra, stat!

I used Jen’s Archer Sewalong Tutorial.  I expected to just be able to go by the sewalong instructions, but I actually found that I needed BOTH the pattern instructions AND the tutorial at times.

I love this pattern.  For my ABSOLUTE WARDROBE BASICS, I want a drapey white/cream top which FITS as well as a nice, crisp cotton shirting Archer.  And then I will look at the ‘extras’.  Gingham.  Plaid, maybe.   White collarless and sleeveless.  And so on.

I do still want a fitted dress shirt, but this is definitely going to be my TNT dress shirt pattern.  Yay, Archer!

Augst 2014_5731


My VERY FIRST POST!! Sewaholic’s Thurlow Trousers


Sewaholic’s amazingly fabulous Thurlow trousers pattern…what a truly wonderful pattern to start my very first blog post!

The Thurlows are described as being a pants pattern for women with curvier hips and fuller thighs, the classic pear-shaped figure.  I have to admit, I don’t think I fall into this category.    Measurements for the pear-shaped woman always show the hips being larger in proportion to the waist than mine, and the Thurlow pattern is no exception.  That said, this pattern received such glowing reviews from other people, and their finished-product photos were so exceptional (I was especially in awe of Lladybirds’s and Scruffy Badger Time’s), I decided I just HAD to give it a go.


First off, I just have to say that the drafting of this pattern is exceptional.  I think this is the first pattern I have ever sewn where EVERY SINGLE NOTCH LINED UP!  It was like a miracle.  “No way!  It’s lined up again!  Could it be…a pattern is ALWAYS supposed to do this??”  Now, it could be that I am often a little relaxed with my tracing and cutting, but many times I have had to assume that notches are more an indication of where to join my pattern pieces.  Taking them literally would be unwise, unless I like the fronts of my pants to be half and inch longer than the back, or the front of a shirt to extend half an inch further into the armpit than the back…you get the idea.  Anyway, this DID NOT HAPPEN with the Thurlows.  They were a delight to sew.

I sewed a size 0 based on the project’s final measurements, given on the pattern envelope.  The centre back of the pants has a big extension to make fitting to the waist easier, so I suspect that I was able to get around the not-really-pear-shaped issue by cutting for the hips and fitting the waist as needed.

This project was full of firsts for me- first time sewing woven pants, first time sewing double welt (or ANY kind of welt!) pockets, and the slash pocket technique was also new to me.  I will be ever, eternally grateful to Lauren from Lladybird for her Thurlow Sew-along; I found the Sewaholic instructions for the Thurlows a bit hard to follow, and this first of my adventures into quality-clothes-sewing may not have ended as well without the sew-along instructions and photos.


OH-MY-GOSH! LOOKIT-HER…double welt pockets.

These trousers are made with a grey gabardine.  I wanted them to be stylish as well as practical.  Having worked as a performer a lot of my adult life, I have trended towards flamboyant, brightly-coloured (garish?) outfits, and now I’m not sure I trust myself with colour.  I’m not sure what colours really SUIT me, as opposed to just being attention-drawing.  So, grey was a nice, safe, and hopefully elegant choice.  BUT…

No one needs to know about the INSIDE, do they?

My mother once told me red and orange do not go together, but I luuurve it!

My mother once told me pink and orange do not go together, but I luuurve it!

So, there you have it.  The best pants in my wardrobe.  And I MADE them.  Hurrah!!  AND…I won Sewing Pattern Review’s Pants Contest with these pants.  How exciting is THAT?!?

Tasia from Sewaholic, thank you so much.  You have made me excited to sew!

No money, but pretty lining!

No money, but pretty lining!