Make your own footwear

Make your own Espadrilles: How I made Slippers to match my Suki Kimono!

Make your own footwear

Hi again!

If you’ve read my last post, you will have seen that I was fortunate enough to be a pattern tester for the brand new pattern release from Helen’s Closet; the Suki Kimono.

Well, I couldn’t very well make the robe of my dreams and then pair it with my battered ol’ slippers could I?! So I tossed them out in the trash and made my own Matchy Matchy pair using the Prym Espadrilles kit sent to me for review by Minerva Crafts.  You can read my review and demo of how I made these slip on’s using the same floaty lightweight viscose fabric I made the robe in over on Minerva’s Blog now. Clue: they’re the easiest things ever!!

Put it this way, I feel like a kid playing dress-up in this – not a bad way to start the day! I’ll be making a pair to match every robe I make!

Prym Espadrilles tutorial
I just keep thinking of Pinhead from Hellraiser!

Until next time, happy summer sewing!

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Suki helens closet

Pattern Testing the Suki Kimono by Helen’s Closet!

 

Helen's closet kimono

Hi Sewing Friends!

I’m so excited to be part of the launch of the stunning new pattern released by Helen’s Closet  – it’s the Suki Kimono – aka the ultimate in loungewear. Trust me on this, you need this robe in your life! There’s 20% off in the launch week too! 

The making of this Kimono started and ended with a happy dance. When I received the email from Helen asking if I wanted to pattern test Suki, I literally jumped up and down for a whole five minutes with glee. Fortuitously, the email came through on a Friday evening, so I was able to celebrate by cracking open the wine! Y’see, not only did I already know I love Helen’s drafting (see her Blackwood cardi I made here and her Winslow culottes I made here); I’d also been coveting a kimono for a while.

Suki kimono

I’d seen a few Kimono-type patterns popping up across social media recently which certainly got the idea of sewing one up germinating in my little mind – but none of them ticked all the boxes for me; mostly as they were designed as outerwear pieces. As someone who practically lives in PJ’s/loungewear, I knew I wanted a long-length robe with full on Kimono sleeves, cuff and neck bands, long (preferably anchored) waist ties and, of course, pockets. The Suki has all of these plus the addition of an inner tie to keep things nicely secure and the added little touch of a hanging loop.

It comes in two lengths, long like mine or a shorter length, perfect for a poolside Kimono! It has a reasonably close fit at the shoulders and upper back, a flattering but relaxed fit at the waist and flares out more at the hip. Perfect loungewear! You can see why the email from Helen just felt so serendipitous – it was everything I’d been looking for!

Helen's closet

And I’d got the perfect fabric for it! Three metres of this floaty vibrant red floral viscose challis; it seemed to be begging to be made into a ‘Kimono’! I did contemplate doing the bands and ties in a contrasting solid black but decided against it; though I’m sure to try that on another version.

The pattern itself is aimed at ‘Adventurous Beginners’, however Helen has cleverly thrown in a couple of optional touches to raise it to ‘Intermediate’ should you wish. I’d say, if you want to keep it simple, lengthen the front band (especially if you’re not using a contrasting fabric) and keep your inner front and sleeve band seams exposed. I did the short version of the front bands even though I wasn’t using a contrast, as part of the testing process, and then topstitched my band seams – I wanted that topstitching detail. You have plenty of wiggle room in determining where your inner and outer ties go so they sit at your natural waist. In fact the only alteration I made was to take out a couple of inches from the overall length of the robe – it’s drafted for a woman of 5.6″. I love how it turned out!

Suki helens closet

Make your own footwear

I quickly realised that I’d sewn the robe of my dreams … which looked absolutely and totally ridiculous paired with the tatty old slippers I generally shuffle around in! No, that simply wouldn’t do! And talk about serendipity again; Minerva Crafts had offered me the Prym Espadrilles kits to test so, an hour and a bit later, I’d got the perfect pair of matching slip-ons! Now I can look put-together even when I’ve just got up in search of that first cup of coffee. At that time of day I can still barely open the one eye and with my hair sticking out at various forty-five degree angles, I definitely don’t look too much like a screen siren but, believe me, wearing this robe makes me feel like one and that’s half the battle…right!?

Helen's closet
Matching slip-ons!
Helen's closet Suki kimono
Deep pockets – perfect for stashing your ‘phone! Or, y’know, biscuits 😉

So a huge thank you to Helen for inviting me to join her pattern tester group – it has been such a fun experience and has certainly given me a full appreciation of the dedication and meticulous level of detailing that goes in to producing such a great pattern.  I ‘knew’ a few other members of the tester group already but, happily, I’ve  also now discovered some previously unknown to me (I’d clearly been living under a rock!)  Do check out either Helen’s launch blog post, if you haven’t already, to get your discounted copy of the pattern and/or check out her Tester roundup blog post to see and be inspired by all the other amazing tester versions!

Until next time, I’m still doing the happy dance!

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Sewing kimono

 

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 ;-))

Carolyn Pajamas : Sewing the Collar & Lapels – a Photo Tutorial type thingy!

I’ve sewn two pairs of Carolyn PJ’s to date with a third pair in my sewing queue. I think it’s fair to say my love for this pattern has been well documented both here on my blog and over in my Instagram feed! A few of you have commented that you’re keen to sew them up too but are perhaps a little daunted at the prospect of constructing the notched collar/lapel. I know I certainly was at the start!

So I took photos of the main steps in the process of sewing the collar and lapel when I made my second set, which I thought I’d share here in case anybody else would find it useful. And, let’s be honest, as an aide-memoire to myself in case my ageing/befuddled brain forgets everything by the time I get around to the third pair!  Seriously! Certainly it’s not meant as a substitute for the pattern instructions or the really useful post on the Closet Case Files blog, which are both really excellent. I guess I’m hoping this just aides what you will find there; I’m a very visual person so the more photos or diagrams from different perspectives that I can study when approaching a new technique, then all the better! If you’re the same, then this is for you! :-)) These do not cover piping I hasten to add…just the basic construction of sewing the collar and lapels to the body of the shirt.

Enough waffling, let’s sew already!

1. You’ve already part constructed the collar. Now comes the part where you join the bottom collar to the shirt. Take care to match notches and circles. Just take it slowly, stop occasionally with your needle down, lift your presser foot and adjust your fabric as you sew so your seam is nice and neat.

Collar lapels Carolyn Pajamas closet case files sewalong

2. At the centre back neckline, you want to make sure that your top collar slightly overlaps your just-sewn seam so it’s completely hidden. Topstitch.

Collar lapels Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas

3. Pin and baste each side shirt neckline/top-collar seams.

Sewalong tutorial closet case files collar lapels

4. Once you’ve finished the raw outside (straighter) edge of your lapel facings as directed in the pattern instructions, pin lapels to shirt fronts, right sides together, being ultra careful to ensure you are again matching circles. Pin and sew from the bottom. You will need to curve your lapel when you reach the top to join your previously basted side neckline/collar seams. Make sure you STOP sewing when you reach the shoulder seam.

Closet case files sewalong tutorial Carolyn pajamas

5. Notch and grade seams and turn right side out. When you press make sure your seam lines are pressed away from the visual front to the underside. Remember, on your lapel, this changes at the point where the first button will go. use your button guide pattern piece to determine where this is.

Sewalong tutorial Carolyn pajamas pyjamas

6. The pattern instructions state you can either wrap and hand sew the remaining lapel ‘flap’ under the shoulder seam or stitch in the ditch from the outside. I saved myself some hassle and hand sewed it. It’s also worth noting that when you sew your shoulder seams earlier on in the construction process, the pattern instructions don’t mention finishing the seam. By all means finish it, just don’t trim or serge any of!

Closet case files Carolyn Pajamas sewalong

Tada!!!! All done!!! You will enclose the lapel facings and topstitch around the entire edge of the lapels and collar at the very end (if you’ve got an edgestitch or stitch in the ditch foot, all the better!)  There’s nothing else fiddly or head-scratchy with this pattern, honest!

Let me know, was this in any way useful?!

Until next time,

Sarah X

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Closet case files Carolyn pyjamas

New PJ’s! Sewing the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas closet case files

Woohoo I have new PJ’s! Let me tell you these were long overdue because I was too busy sewing clothes I could actually leave the house in! But the time came when my very last pair developed holes in unmentionable places and I could overlook this pattern no longer. I think  Closet Case Files  released the Carolyn Pajamas in early 2015 and the pattern has been on my radar ever since, so it was an obvious choice. I guess you could say I was late to this PJ Party…but better late than never, right?!

I spent a long time trying to decide what fabric to use. Is anybody else also addicted to online fabric browsing?! I can lose myself for hours. Hours, I tell you. I initially fell in love with a gorgeously cute double gauze print but I didn’t want to pay out £16 a metre on a relatively fabric hungry pattern on my first attempt. So I opted instead for this lilac gingham cotton with daisy prints from Minerva Crafts (see here) I’m really glad I did; it was an absolute dream to work with, it’s lovely and soft and it barely creased/crumpled even after a nights sleep.

Carolyn pajamas

This was my first CCF pattern and I was, admittedly, a bit nervous regarding certain elements of the construction, namely the collar and lapels. (See below for construction photos). The pattern also features a faux fly and front facing pockets; none of which I’d come across before. I opted for View A; the most basic option. Given what I needed to learn, throwing piping into the mix felt like an additional skill too far at this stage. I decided against cutting straight into my fabric and instead proceeded to make a toile and practice the techniques involved using old bedsheets.

The pants are a straightforward sew. Turns out sewing a faux fly is a doddle. As were the front facing pockets. You can easily knock a pair of these pants out in one sitting. Which is good as I’ll probably make more pairs of the pants and shorts than I will tops so that I can wear them just with a tee in warmer weather. The recommended 1.5″ wide elastic makes for a very comfortable waistband and I like the way it’s stitched in to prevent it twisting/rolling.

Buoyed by this, I began on the toile for the top. Now, even the pattern instructions themselves state that the construction of the collar is fiddly. And it is, but only a bit! It’s no more fiddly than sewing a set-in sleeve for example; possibly less so. And, incidentally, this pattern calls for you to sew the sleeves in the flat and then sew up the sleeves and side seams in one, which couldn’t be simpler.  When putting in the collar and lapels it definitely helps to remind yourself that you’re sewing a 3D garment, therefore matching up concave and convex shapes. I’m probably making it sound more complex than it is, hopefully these pics help show the construction:-

Collar lapel construction sewing Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas closet case files

Collar lapel Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas how to closet case files

(If you would like to see a step-by-step photo demonstration then I’ve written a detailed separate post on sewing the collar and lapels hereor, in short, you will need to make sure you accurately transfer your pattern markings to your pieces; in terms of getting your lapels to accurately butt up against your collar those dots are your friend. Heather wrote a detailed blog tutorial on this element of the make too which is really useful.

The bedsheet toile confirmed that the only alterations I needed to make to the pattern pieces were to remove 2.5″ from the legs and shirt length (and therefore the lapels) and 1″ from the sleeve.  There’s no cut/lengthen lines on the sleeve pattern – I took the excess from the elbow point.

Once I’d ‘got my head around’ the techniques involved I proceeded to cut into my fabric and sewed everything up in three sittings. I spent more time than necessary on cutting out the fabric because I wanted to have a go at pattern matching. I know this is probably overkill on PJ’s but, heck, I was on a learning roll!

Closet case files Carolyn Pajamas pocket

I’m absolutely thrilled with my lovely new PJ’s! The pattern is wonderfully drafted; the fit is feminine and flattering and the instructions very considered. The resultant make is an incredibly comfortable, luxurious and quality wear. I’m delighted with what I learned; it’s been an real confidence booster.

Oh and remember the £16pm double-gauze? It WILL be mine 😂 This pattern deserves it! Twist my arm and I might even have a go at the piping!

Until next time,

Sarah x

Psst : I’m also active on 📸Instagram – either click here or scroll down to click/tap on one of the photo links at the very bottom of this page to join me there! X

Carolyn pajamas