Sewing Myself Comfy – the Linden Sweatshirt / Hudson Pants loungewear combo!

Hi sewing friends!

Long-term readers may well have noticed that I took something of a break from sewing / blogging over the summer (welcome to all of you that continued to sign up over summer, thank you!) There was no onerous reason for taking a break, other than I wanted to dedicate my summer wholly to my family. And it was glorious! I also learnt how to knit socks and finally found the time to write a book of family recipes for the kids. That said, whilst I wasn’t actively sewing, I was planning upcoming makes like crazy…creating a spreadsheet and a Look Book and stocking up on fabric and supplies. It also gave me a good opportunity to really consider how I want to take this blog forward since it’s grown beyond anything I imagined at the start. (I’ll talk about that more in a minute!)

So, once the kids went back to school, my sewing space got a dust off and sewing began again in earnest!  I’ve been pattern testing this last week but thought I’d come back to the blog with my first makes.

Coffee, I need coffee!

As always, my new season sewing has begun with the basics; this for me means loungewear / sleepwear. If I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t get dressed; it’s that simple! What I wanted then was sleepwear I’d be happy to lounge around the house in (and by ‘lounge around the house’ what I really mean is running after the kids and doing seemingly never ending housework!) And I don’t know about you, but I always find after taking a sewing break that I want to come back to something that I know wont be too taxing to sew but will produce something I’ll get lots of wear out of. PJs is always the answer!

I decided on the Linden Sweatshirt / Hudson Pants combo which I’ve seen so many great versions of on my Instagram feed. I’ve sewn the Linden a few times (see here) but the Hudsons, though long in my stash, were a ‘new-to-me’ pattern.

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Sew Sarah smith lakeside Pajamas Grainline Studio sewing pattern review

Two pairs of Lakeside Pajamas by Grainline Studio

Sew Sarah smith lakeside Pajamas Grainline Studio sewing pattern review

I’ve made two pairs of Lakeside PJ’s recently; my first pair in cotton lawn and my second slightly redrafted pair in an unbelievably soft chambray for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. Head over there to read my post for them – I go into more detail about the process of binding these PJs in that post, including how to use my beloved binder foot – here I focus on the fit 😉

This pretty Bird & Floral cotton poplin had been laying dormant in my stash for a while; I’d initially bought it to make a SOI Shirtdress an age ago but then decided against the pairing. It’s a wonderfully soft fabric and not prone to creasing too much so I really wanted to use it. I’m not that brave with wearing vivid prints  but I figured I could handle it in sleep/loungewear! I then decided to pair it with some hot cerise binding; go me!

Fit for real people

With the top, the one thing I really wanted to get right was the fit of the neckline so that when I leaned forward there would absolutely be no chance of gaping there or at the underarm as I’d mostly be wearing it bra-less. (I am wearing a crap fitting strapless bra in these photos because, y’know, *t’internet*) So I decided to try my first ever Full Bust Adjustment and … I’m so glad I did! I sized down and then proceeded to redraft the pattern piece by slashing and spreading following the FBA instructions in the Fit For Real People book to add fabric just where I needed it most. It ended up being such a simple adjustment to make that I wonder why I’ve not attempted one before! I’m fed up sizing things for the boobs and then having gaping at the neckline and other issues. I’ve made a promise to myself that doing an FBA is going to become a standard fit alteration from now on in.

Once that adjustment was done and the pieces cut out, the top is an incredibly quick sew, especially when using a binding foot*. I really love it and quite frankly the top could easily be worn out of the house paired with jeans! In fact I’ve got some black crepe stashed; I’m thinking of shortening the bodice, using velvet binding and making a ‘going out’ top with it; that cheeky little back rise is perfect!

I didn’t use my binder foot on the shorts, primarily because of the construction process. And actually sewing the binding on manually was fine. I deviated slightly from the instructions at Step 13 and did my own thing as I didn’t want two rows of stitching down the side seam; I merely crossed over and bar tacked like this: (*again, I go into more of the binding detail in this post).

Lakeside PJs shorts binding

I tried the shorts on before adding the waistband and…they were way too big! I took them in at CF and CB and reduced the waistband pieces accordingly before stitching them on. The fit is really comfy now but I dare say they’re still too wide at the side seams.  I went down two sizes for the second pair and you can see the difference. This is probably entirely my fault for cutting out too big a size to start with!

All in all I love this PJ set; it’s so cute! I’ve got enough of this fabric left that I’m contemplating making up another pair of Carolyn Pajamas pants to go with the top. Or maybe that would be overkill? I always fear that if I wear print head to toe, I’d end up looking like a rolled up carpet…d’ya know what I mean?!

All in all though, the Chambray pair are my fave. What do you think?

Until next time (tomorrow in fact, when I’ll be sharing the full details of a new Instagram Sewing Challenge I’ve been teasing about on Instagram – I hope you’ll want to be part of it too!!)

Sew Sarah smith

Instagram ;-))

Linden Sweatshirt

Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio

Linden Sweatshirt

The Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline is almost universally acknowledged as an easy beginner level pattern; a great introduction to sewing with Knits; a basic staple pattern; a really quick sew, a.k.a. a bit of a no-brainer. So it was rather a surprise to find that sewing the Linden gave me an unexpected opportunity to try out a couple of new things!

img_2391I debated about what View to make – both feature raglan sleeves, which I love; View A is your classic sweatshirt, oversized and full length whilst View B is a cropped affair with a high-low hem. I’d initially decided on View B but it’s a fact now cemented in my brain that boxy shapes just do not suit my short height somewhat big chested stature! A quick test version confirmed that I looked like this but, y’know, without the smile 😉

So I made up view B. I’m a D cup and, I kid you not, if I eat too many carbs or I’m hormonal, they can go up to E in the same day. Is that just me?! So I initially decided to play it safe and cut a size 14. I was using a gorgeous medium weight John Kaldor burgundy ‘Roanne’ viscose jersey from Minerva as it’s so soft but with some drape; I really wanted to avoid anything with more structure to negate the horror that is The Box.  I took my usual 1.5″ off the sleeve and 2″ off the bodice pieces.

img_9983And it was HUGE … yet I had to sew the neckband on twice because that, paradoxically, was too small. Thankfully I’d only basted it on so it wasn’t a big deal to rip it off and sew on a longer one. A quick Google search revealed I’m not the only one that has had this problem. The issue, I suspect, is down to the individuality of the knit fabric you’re using; it’s percentage and direction of greatest stretch. Which is why I decided to draft my own band pieces for my second version (see below). (This pattern requires at least 20% stretch – there’s a good post here on how to determine this).

However, once the neckband issue was resolved, I still love the top. Yeah it’s massively oversized and a slouchy batwing thing but, really, slouching around is what I do  best! I wore it a lot over Christmas when I barely got off the sofa.

Linden sweatshirt

So I  decided to sew it again (in the same fabric but in the French Navy colourway) only this time to do things differently. I went down two sizes and initially only cut out the bodice and sleeve pieces so I could calculate the length of my neck, cuff and hem bands later. I also decided to cut the bodice out on the single fold. I posted my reaction on doing this to my Instagram feed and it generated quite a few questions.

It was totally one of those moments where I smacked myself on the forehead *facepalm* style. Why had it taken me so long to try this!? I always trace my pattern pieces anyway so it didn’t take that much longer to trace an additional bodice piece, flip one of them over and then stick them together to create a whole. The centre join line becomes your new grainline and you can add top and bottom centre notches here (which come in useful when adding the bands later). [Edit: or see Kathleen’s alternative method in the Comments section below].

I found it took way less time to place the unfolded fabric on my cutting board (to ensure it was straight), and to pin and cut out this way. Fabrics with any drape and ‘shift’ (or pattern) I’ve always found relatively time consuming to fold; trying to ensure both layers are precisely aligned. I was also amazed at how much less fabric I used. As you may know, cutting on the fold, if you place the fabric selvage to selvage, can be wasteful (if you’re cutting on the fold and your fabric is wide enough, it’s better to fold with the selvages meeting in the middle I find). By placing my complete bodice pieces on the flat I was able to pin them side by side. One for the Win!

Once I’d sewn the bodice pieces and sleeves together, I then thought about how long the neckband should be to ensure it snapped to the body and laid flat. I found the easiest way to calculate this is to first measure the circumfrance of your neckline. I did this with a piece of string, pinning it in place at the starting point and marking the end point on the string itself…

How to measure calculate neckband length

…I then simply measured the piece of string to the marked point and multiplied this figure by 0.75 to get a measurement 25% less than the actual neckline (my fabric comfortably stretched to 25%, if your fabric has 20% stretch you’d multiply by .80 etc) and then added on the seam allowance to get the final measurement. (I also decided to increase the width of the neckband a tad). I drafted up my new neckband pattern piece according to these measurements and notched the quarter points. As directed in the pattern instructions, I then sewed the band together and attached it to the neckline matching the bodice (and sleeve) centre notches created earlier to evenly distribute it. Voila! For good measure, I topstitched it too.


For the cuffs I merely measured my wrist and added seam allowance and for the hem band I simply measured where the top would finish up around my hip and again added the S.A.

Linden Grainline neckband

Phew, who knew I’d have so much to say about such a simple top!?

I’m so glad that I now have the Linden in my arsenal; it really is another great staple pattern and, next time, it really will be a no-brainer I can sew up in next to no time! I’m wearing it here with another great everyday Grainline pattern; their Moss Skirt. (I’ve posted on that here and here).

Until next time, happy sewing!

Sew Sarah smith

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A Perfect Everyday Skirt : the Moss Skirt by Grainline Studio #MCBN


You may (or may not 😉 ) know that recently I was invited by Minerva Crafts to their Blogger Network. I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled I was; I source fabrics from Minerva routinely and greatly admire so many of the other Bloggers who contribute. So I was a bit overwhelmed initially about what to make for them. Then I drew in a breath and told myself to just make what I would choose to make anyway. And so I chose this, the Moss Skirt by Grainline. Head over to see my post on Minerva’s blog to see why I believe this to be a Perfect Everyday Skirt (I’d really appreciate the support!)

Oh and if you’re curious about the slouchy top I’m wearing? It’s another Grainline pattern; their Linden. I’m planning to post my thoughts on that here in the next few days, with two versions.

Until next time, thanks for reading

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