It’s funny how a pattern sits in your stash for years and when you finally make it you think why didn’t I make it sooner. My pants sewing journey continued this year but after sewing 3 pairs of Robbie’s I tried out a different pattern making the Coco Wide Leg Pants by Pattern Emporium.
Which came first the chicken or the egg? Or in sewing terms the pattern or the fabric? After my Winslow Incident I had rayon fabric that was all prepped in my stash and that I really wanted to use. If you didn’t read the post after day dreaming all week about making my Winslow Culottes just as I was about to cut them out I noticed I hadn’t paid attention to the amount of fabric needed and I was significantly short of fabric. With fabric prepped and ready to go I looked through my stash for patterns that used rayons. I came across the Coco’s which I had purchased years ago but never made. Looking at the photo on the front of the cover of the pattern I actually think I originally brought this rayon to make Coco’s as the print is very similar to the model’s so I think it was the pattern before the fabric. Coco’s have a range of options for the waist, pockets and length including a culottes style which is the version I made as I really wanted to make culottes.
Waistband – Top Stitched
Rise – Mid Rise
Pockets – Hidden
Length – Culottes
Pattern Emporium or PE patterns have a Facebook group for fans of their patterns. I think the Coco’s are an underrated pattern as you don’t see many people make them but they are so comfortable. I’m short so they fall as a longer length on me but it is a good length. Due to my mobility issues with walking tripping is hazard if my pants are too long or too wide so I have to be mindful of that but these fit nicely. The pockets are great. I do sometimes get confused and start looking for the pockets on the front of them instead of in the side seams as all my Robbie’s have patch pockets.
Would I make these again? Yes for sure. I have rayon in my stash so I can see more in my future. These pants have been on high rotation since I finished them in June. Not only am I wearing them to work but also on weekends. I wear them with sneakers or dress shoes as shown above. They are a super comfortable if I am walking to the shops which might be a 30 min walk each way. The style is good, the length is great. Overall a winning pattern
In January I mentioned that I was once again joining Patsy in her sewing bingo challenge for the year. The challenge was simple Patsy provided us with a bingo card consisting of 16 sewing themes and the challenge was to tick off as many of them throughout the year as we were sewing away. To recap the 16 themes were
Long Time Coming
Quick And Easy
Fabric From Stash
For Someone Else
Pattern From Stash
Spur Of The Moment
For the first half of the year I was very productive at my sewing machine and in July I ticked off my last theme from my bingo card and completed the challenge. The items I made were
As you can see from my list some of the items were for myself but it was nice to make things for others. I’m still enjoying making gifts and of course sewing for charity. All of the fabrics except for the produce bags came from my stash so it was nice to use some of it up, the produce bag fabric was brought late 2020 so I guess technically it was in my stash. I used some new patterns which had been in my stash for a long time so again it was good to finally use them. I tried some new sewing techniques so I learnt a lot from the items I made. Some of the themes were easy to tick off with different projects but others made me really stop and think.
If I had to pick a favourite from the items I made it would be the train case. It was the first item I made and the most used this year. Prior to starting it the instructions really had confused me so I’m glad I finally jumped in and gave it a try.
At the start of the year I said I wasn’t putting pressure on myself to complete all 16 themes nor would I make an item just to fit a theme. Sadly my inner brain had other ideas. I had set myself a challenge with a deadline so in my mind I had to finish it. Although the items were practical I found myself making certain items just so I could tick off a theme such as the Cedar top which was one of my last makes for the challenge. At no point did I not enjoy my sewing but mid year I was thinking I needed to finish the challenge on my July holidays as my Christmas gift sewing wasn’t going to fit the themes I still had to go.
The challenge did motivate me to finally getting in and finishing some projects such as my Appleton or make items which I had been on my mental “To Sew” list for some time so it wasn’t a waste of time or a pointless exercise. It made me realise that I can’t do challenges that have a deadline even if just for fun as my mindset is that I have finish it. In future I’m not going to join any challenges like this. Sewing for me is enjoyable and I want to keep it that way. I’ll set myself little sewing challenges in future like perhaps making an item just from scraps but nothing with a deadline or that involves ticking off items from a list.
After the success of making my first pair of Robbie pants I was itching to make another pair.
In my stash I found some cotton sateen. I originally brought this fabric with the intention of colouring it using Liquid Radiance fabric paint when I was going though my fabric painting stage. I’m glad I didn’t get around to colouring it otherwise I wouldn’t have ending up with these funky grey/black/white paisley pants.
When I made my first pair of I used fabric which was brought with the intention of making pants so I had a lot fabric. I don’t actually know what I intended to make with this fabric and I only just had enough to make these pants. The pockets are a fraction smaller than on my first pair as I was really pushing to squeeze them in from the leftover fabric after cutting the waistband and leg pieces. It isn’t noticeable but the pattern print is upside on one pocket due to the fact I wasn’t paying attention to print direction as I scrambled to fit the pattern piece on the fabric.
I used black elastic inside the waistband instead of the white elastic I used in my first pair. Maybe I’m just imaging it but the black does feel a bit better, it just feels more firmer. It also feels like it has a better stretch and recovery compared to the white elastic in my first ones.
I made these at the end of April and wore them all winter. I love them they are so comfortable and the pockets are so useful. Once again I’ve received compliments on these including one from my Covid 19 vaccination nurse which made a stressful situation a little more easier.
Referring to my list to consider when making garments
These do tick all the requirements. As mentioned they are comfortable. The style is classic and simple, I like basic. The paisley fabric adds interest but isn’t ghastly. With the fabric a cotton base they aren’t hot to wear. Winning garment all around in my books.
I do like a gift that I can make several times for the same person. Call it cheating, call it being resourceful. There is no reason why if someone likes a particular item why you can’t make that same pattern multiple times for them.
This bucket hat is the first time that I have repeated the pattern in the same fabrics as the original version. Normally I like to change the fabrics around however I still had fabric leftover from the original hat so I used it again but I made a bigger size this time. Instead of cutting into a new piece of fabric it was more sustainable to use up an existing piece of fabric first.
The pattern I used was the Ulitmate Buckhat by Flossstyle patterns. I have made many of these over the years. The pattern is very easy to follow. What I really like about this pattern is that it has sizes from newborn to large adult so you can make them for kids or adults without the need to buy multiple patterns. It also has various style options so you could make the same size in but in different styles.
Would I do a direct repeat again? If I was making an item for myself it wouldn’t bother me for example if it was to replace an existing item, I wouldn’t make a duplicate item otherwise. If I was making a gift I wouldn’t do a direct repeat of pattern and fabric again for the same person unless it was like in this case in a different size. I often repeat the fabric in different gifts for the same person but I wouldn’t do a direct copy of a previous gift unless it was something they really really liked and had asked for.
Last year I made my Melbourne Tote Bag with fabrics I purchased from my 2019 visit to Victoria. Unfortunately I recently snagged the edge of the front pocket on a door latch and ripped it. I’m constantly getting things caught on door latches as I limp into things so I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier. Before the rip got any worse I repaired it.
The easy option would have been to repair the rip as is. The zipper pocket hangs behind the front patch pocket and I didn’t want my repair job to go over the top of that. I decided to fully remove the lining bag first so I could I access the inside of the outer bag. It meant unpicking all the top stitching around the edge of the bag and then unpicking the seam joining the 2 bags but it made mending the bag easier overall as I was able to fold back the zipper pocket and get a neater finish to the bag. It actually took me a while to figure out where to start unpicking the joining seam as I couldn’t find where I had hand sewn my turning gap closed. Luckily in the blog post I wrote about making the bag I mentioned how I constructed it and I found my tiny hand stitches.
My habit of keeping all the offcuts of fabrics I have sewn with since we moved paid off as I was able to find the fabric used to make the bag. I pinned a double layer of the fabric behind the tear and from the front hand stitched over the rip. I wanted to reinforce the area behind it so that the rip wouldn’t hopefully get any bigger as the bag got used. I considered reinforcing the top edge of the other side of the pocket but knowing how I carry the bag the risk of that edge getting caught is low so I didn’t bother.
Instead of just leaving the mending visible I decided I wanted to cover it up. I have nothing against visible mending but this time I wanted it covered. Really it was just an excuse for me to add hearts to my bag. Using my Sizzix Big Shot machine I cut 4 hearts out. I wanted hearts on both sides of the pocket and thought a double layer would give extra strength to the area.
I didn’t want to lose too much width from the pocket so I placed the hearts on an angle over the edge of the pocket. I didn’t measure I just placed the first one over the repair site and tried to do the same on the other side. From the back you can see where the hearts are more clearly and the reinforcement fabric. Before appliqueing the hearts on I tested a couple of stitches on scrap fabric. My first thought was to use the applique stitch on my machine but I also tried a satin stitch. The applique stitch was less noticeable so that is what I went with. I did shorten the stitch length slightly to bring the stitches closer together.
For the thread instead of a dark blue like I originally used on the bag I used a medium grey which blends in with the fabric and isn’t highly noticeable. Once the applique was done I then ironed the top edge of both the outer and lining bags and reassembled the bag. I’m really happy with this. I love the hearts on the front now. It looks like they are meant to be part of the bag and not just a patch up.
Did I learn anything from this project? Absolutely. Even though sometimes it takes longer to do things the outcome is worth it in the end. Before starting a project stop and think about all the steps involved particularly if you aren’t following a pattern. Don’t be afraid to try different colour threads, the obvious colour might not actually be the best option. Lastly it is better to fix a small sewing repair straight away before it gets any bigger or becomes unrepairable. I want to use the things that I make for as long as possible. Small repairs prolongs the life of the item.
The Cedar Dolman Top by Cashmerette patterns is a top I had made previously twice before. Looking back through the blog I now realise I hadn’t actually shown my 2nd one which I made at the start of 2020 so I will show that one at some point.
You can make the Cedar in either woven or knit fabric. I had only ever made it out of wovens but wanted to try it in a knit. I have an Art Gallery knit in my stash which I would like to make it in one day but before I used my “good” fabric I wanted to try it out to see if I liked it in a knit. I was originally going to make it in a grey fabric but to be perfectly honest I had blue thread in my overlocker which I was too lazy to change and I wanted to get this made to tick off a theme on my sewing bingo card so I found a blue knit fabric thinking that will do. I have no idea where I got this fabric from or how long I’ve had it in my stash. It is a jersey knit fabric so it is very light and floaty.
The size I made I believe is 18 which is the same size as the previous ones I made in the woven. I did do a few modifications to the pattern which were
♡ Front piece cut on the fold ♡ Added 4.5″ to the bottom instead of adding on the bottom band ♡ Brought in the shoulders 0.5″ each side ♡ Added 1″ to the sleeves so I could just fold them back to hem ♡ Drafted a neckband once the shoulders were sewn instead of making the facing
The neckband, add length to the bottom and cutting on the fold I had done previously. I think a seam done my front would annoy me. Adding the extra length meant less sewing without the need to add the bottom band and as with the sleeves I was able to just fold over the edge to hem it. With the neckline I’m not sure if bringing it in made much difference. It was a nice exercise to try though. When you are wearing it the neckline does looks a little baggy but I’m not worried. I’m also finding the hem is flipping up a bit due to the lightness of the fabric. Once again this isn’t causing an issue wearing it but next time I sew with light weight knits I might use knit interfacing in the hems to keep them down.
Once the top was finished I was actually surprised at how much I liked it. I love the colour. It is really comfortable. I can see myself wearing this a lot. At the moment I only have 1 top that isn’t what I call a “work” top or music band top so this addition to my wardrobe will get a lot of wear. Since making it in July I have worn it a lot both at home and on the weekends. I can see myself making more of this pattern now in knits.
If you have followed the blog for a while you know I always talk about my charity bags. Each year I donate 3 bags of items to Share The Dignity for their “It’s In The Bag” campaign. The bags are distributed to local organisations supporting women in need. The bags contain items that most of us take for granted such as toiletries, essential items and a few little extra treats if you can. Each year I make the bags that I fill.
As with any sewer I have a large fabric stash. To make the bags I normally pick a fabric/s which are large enough to make 3 bags. This year in my stash I found a denim fabric that had almost puff paint texture to it. Thinking back now I think I was originally going to use this fabric last year but I forgot and used other fabrics. Vaguely remembering at the time I purchased the fabric I got about 4-5 metres. I had enough fabric this year to make the entire bag (inside, outside, tops, handles, drawstring) from the same fabric. In previous years I’ve combined fabrics to make them.
The pattern I use each year is McCalls M6338 view D. The pattern is actually designed as a picnic bag but I found it to be a really nice size drawstring bag which holds a lot. It is really simple to make which is perfect for batch sewing which I do when making the bags. Even though the pattern indicates it to be a picnic bag really a bag is a bag and it can be used for anything.
Over the years the amount of extra detail I add to the bags has changed as I have learnt new sewing skills or thought of different ideas. I started with making just the basic shell of the bag, than one year I made the drawstrings instead of using ribbon ties. Last year I added a front pocket. This year I attempted to make an enclosed zipper pocket in the lining fabric. I turned the pockets through and the opening gap looked great until I realised that I had made the opening gap a little too wide and it didn’t fit the zippers I had. It was only just a fraction too big. I didn’t want to waste the pockets so I continued making the pocket bags and just had them as open internal pockets within the lining fabric.
The fabric has a puff paint like texture to it. It looks really nice. It is a little hard to press so that you don’t melt it. Making these I had to use a pressing cloth so not to ruin the fabric or my iron. The ironing process did take longer as I had to keep moving my pressing cloth along. I also had to make the drawstring ties differently than normal. My normal way is to take a strip of fabric and press it into quarters the same as when you are making binding. I tried doing it this way but it was too hard moving the pressing cloth and trying to get in close when you are pressing the strip into about ¾” wide strip so you could then stitch it together. Instead I pinned the fabric right sides together and stitched it to form a tube which I turned out, folded it in half and stitched it together to form the ties. It did take longer but the finished looks ok and it worked so that’s all that matters.
I’m really happy with this years bags. It was good to use up a large piece of fabric from my stash. I had the chance to make bags which I enjoy. I used my sewing skills in a practical way. I cut out all the pattern pieces for these on boxing day 2020. In the coming months I’ll start searching my stash for fabrics for next years bag and might make it a tradition that I cut the bags out between Xmas and New Year. It was nice to get the bags finished earlier in the year this year so starting my prep over the Xmas break sounds good like a good idea.
In my book review post on How To Sew Sustainably I mentioned a project that I was motivated to make after reading the book, the project I made was 3 toiletry bags.
I have made toiletry bags in the past using the same pattern so that part isn’t new but I hadn’t planned on making these ones until I read the book. The book talks a lot about using up supplies you already own. I try and “shop my stash” when I can however I don’t always look at my stash and think what can I make from it? I started thinking of the fabrics I had in my stash and ways I could use it up in particular offcuts from previous projects. If it is a uniform shape like a square of rectangle that is easy to use up as it just fabric but what about the odd shape offcuts you get from cutting out a garment. I’ve mentioned this year I have made a lot pants so I have offcuts from cutting those out. Since the fabric had already been prewashed and was ready to go it made sense to try and use it up. Looking in my fabric stash I found an offcut of ripstop nylon so I decided to make toiletry bags having the outer bags in cotton sateen (offcuts from pants) and nylon on the inside. I restocked my zipper stash late last year and I found 3 zippers to match.
The pattern I used was the large boxed corner version of the Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk patterns. It is my favourite zipper pouch pattern. Over the years I have pattern hacked it and played around with sizing. On my previous toiletry bags I had enlarged the pattern to 150% which is a great size as it holds a lot but can be a little large. This time I enlarged the pattern to 125%, I refer to the 150% as XL so I’m calling this the L+ size . The pattern is a digital pattern so instead of printing it out at 100% I changed the print settings. If you are photocopying it from a book or paper pattern you can adjust the size on the photocopier. With changing the pattern size you will need to change the length of your zipper but that is easily done by referring to the zipper placement in the instructions and adjusting the length to fit. Another reason for making the new smaller size was that the pattern pieces fitted the fabric I had without having to piece together fabrics.
Although this size is smaller than my previous bags it still holds a lot. It easily holds full size bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash plus room for things like hairbrushes or other bottles of liquids. As the inside is nylon it can also be used as a wet bag to hold for example a damp facecloth or wet swimming costume.
These bags will be added to our Charity Bags this year. I really like them for so many reasons. These bags got me thinking of ways to use up my fabric offcuts, they challenged me to look at my stash and think how can I use it instead of it just sitting on a shelf. They are a practical item which make a nice little addition to the charity bags. I enjoyed trying out a new pattern size. Even just the choice of fabrics, combing fabrics from things I have made for myself in an item for a complete stranger who will never know the story behind it but I do. I have more nylon in my stash so I plan on making another set next year. I’m happy for fabric to sit on a shelf if I know how I’m going to use it.
Home haircuts have been something that I had been doing at our place long before Covid for 2 reasons. When I first started doing them I had long straight hair which was really easy to cut when it got to a length that was annoying me. When I decided I wanted an undercut I did it myself and still do it now whenever I want. Cutting my own hair saved money which I then could put to buying craft supplies. Mr StitchNSew asked if I could start cutting his hair when he found it difficult and uncomfortable having a hairdresser cut his hair due to his medical issues. A barber’s cape is a piece I had been meaning to make for years to use instead of just wrapping a towel around Mr StitchNSew.
The pattern I used was Burda 7313 view D. It is the most simplest cape you will ever make which makes me kick myself for not getting off my butt and making it sooner. All you do is take a single piece of fabric and as per the markings on the pattern split a portion of the fabric up the centre to make the front sections before finishing off the raw edges.
For the fabric my first thought was to use a nylon to make this but the nylon I had in my stash was too ridged and had like a plastic coating on the back so it wasn’t suitable for this. Instead I found some polyester lining fabric. It had the drape I was after and the texture was smooth so perfect for this project. I finishing off all the raw edges with the overlocker than folded back and top stitched down around the front section where I split it.
To secure it I cut 2 pieces of velcro I found in my stash and stitched them on either side of the shoulder sections so both sides of the front section would stay in place and not slip down. Each velcro piece is only about 2-3 cms long.
Originally I had Miss Henny model this but she was a little bit on the scary side! Luckily Mr StitchNSew took one look at her and offered to model it for me. This was an overall project success. It is a practical item we can use, I like practical things. I used fabric from my stash that I was probably unlikely to use in anything else (not a big polyester fan) I even used up a small piece of velcro which was leftover from another project so decluttered an item from my stash.
I hope that I am wrong but I fear winter in Sydney this year is going to be a cold and wet. Whilst cold weather means I have the chance to wear more knitwear it also means that skirts and pinafores (which is my wardrobe) aren’t going to be warm enough. I have very few ready to wear pants after cleaning out my wardrobe prior to last years move. I wasn’t wearing a lot pants and the weather the last couple of years meant I hadn’t really needed them. In the past I haven’t had success at making woven pants so I have been hiding away from making them. In 2019 when I was in Melbourne I purchased the Tessuti Robbie Pant pattern after it came highly recommended by a friend. The pattern has sat untouched in my stash complete with the ribbon still tied around it. With the fear of cold legs I thought it was finally time to attempt them.
The style is very simple – Woven ¾ length wide leg pants with patch pockets on the front and an enclosed elastic waistband. The fabric recommendation is light to medium weight wovens. At Easter I had the sudden urge to make them. In Melbourne I did buy fabric to make a test pair but instead I grabbed a black cotton from my dressmaking stash because I had black thread in my overlocker and I was too lazy to change it. The fabric was in fact brought years ago with the intention of making pants. It wasn’t really clear which direction this print went so I opted for upright scallops instead of downward raindrops. I think the fabric is a quilting cotton but it is a firmer one and not a super soft cotton like some are.
Based on my hip measurements I made size XL. I have a habit that when I trace out a pattern where I add in extra seam allowance. It is a bad habit that I have. In my mind I think how I don’t like clothes tight. Not knowing if the pattern makers idea of what a comfortable fit should be is the same as mine I add the extra fabric “just in case” When I cut out my fabric on these pants I didn’t add in extra seam allowance. I’m really happy with the fit of these. There is enough room in them to move comfortably but they don’t appear baggy. I am short so this length is more a full length for me, any longer and there is a chance I would get caught up in them as I walk.
After reading all the instructions which were very easy to follow. The instruction booklet has step by step photos so you can follow along and know what your piece should look like at every stage. I did make my waistband a little different to the instructions. The pattern has you join your elastic in a loop and place it into the waistband halfway through attaching the waistband to the pants. This method makes it harder to replace or alter the elastic if you ever need to. I opted to attach the waistband on first leaving a gap on the inside of the casing to thread the elastic through at the end and sew the elastic together. If I need to shorten the elastic or replace it I can easily do so. I used 1″ wide white elastic. I buy the elastic in black or white. I never thought there was difference between the 2 colours but when I tried these pants on at the end the white elastic didn’t seem to be as firm as what the black is. The elastic might just be older and that is it but even before I inserted it I noticed the difference. I will see how they go after washing them but I may replace the elastic with black.
The pattern has markings to place the patch pockets. My pockets seemed smaller and I couldn’t place them along side the markings. These pockets are still very functional but next time I might make them a little bigger. I also might raise them higher too.
When I posted a photo of these on Instagram a friend welcomed me into the Robbie Pants Club! Robbie pants have a bit of a cult following, once you make one pair you tend to make more and I can see the attraction why. They are easy to make and are very comfortable. I could go a bit crazy and make heaps. In Melbourne I brought my test fabric as well as “good” fabric to make them plus I have another fabric from my stash in mind which might actually be my 2nd pair.
Back in 2016 I did a style workshop with Anne Whalley where we came up with 4 key things to consider when I’m making clothes. I haven’t referred back to my list in a while but these pants tick all the boxes. I love these pants. The fabric, the style, the fit. It was a spur of the moment decision to finally make them but I’m glad that I did.
Recap Pattern – Robbie Pants by Tessuti Size – XL Fabric – Quilting cotton from stash Notions – Non roll elastic
The first day I wore these a work collogue commented she liked my pants, I casually replied “Thanks I made them” She was seriously impressed and I was smiling all day.