Hello again! It seems I’m on a bit of a sewing binge at the moment – having sewn two pairs of jeans, two sets of PJsand a turtleneck recently. Now, adding to that, two coats using the brand new sewing pattern release from Helen’s Closet; the Pona Jacket. I think its safe to say my Sewjo is back and I couldn’t be happier!
I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this one; as soon as I saw the initial line drawings I was in! *The Pona (a PDF pattern) was just the pattern I was looking for – a true wardrobe staple, something that will transition nicely all year round. It can either be a lightweight throw-on jacket for the warmer months or a full on warm coat for the cooler months. Or something in-between! And, as a bonus, this is incredibly simple – and quick – to make!
I love the drafting; it’s unlined but has a nifty facing that allows the front lapels to drape open. It also has no closures; it’s meant to be worn open, although there is enough cross-over if you do want to add a button or a frog fastening. I left the cropped jacket as is but added a simple hidden snap fastening to the top left on the coat version so that I can wear it closed with the collar up should I need to. I think this pattern makes for a great introduction to sewing coats and jackets for those wanting to dip their toes in these waters! If you haven’t already, I can heartily recommend you do so using this pattern – come on in, the water is warm!
The Yantas by Helen’s Closet are a relaxed approach to this years’ major Jumpsuit / Overall trend, described as a casual artist-style overall with a loose fit through the waist hips and legs (with the option to add a side zip should you want one). I’d describe their overall shape (see what I did there) as somewhat cocoon or lantern like; with shaping darts to front and back. Also included are classic features such as the ‘V’ shaped back and pointed front patch chest pocket. They can be made either cropped leg or as shorts.
Although these are listed as an ‘Intermediate’ sew, I think Helen has completely excelled herself with the instructions to this pattern, making them accessible to confident beginners (who aren’t afraid of buttonholes!) Her instructions are crystal clear; being extremely well thought-out and presented. She also offers plenty of easily digestible information regarding sizing and grading to get the fit you want from this pattern. I truly believe they’re fool-proof.
What I like about the Yanta pattern is, I feel, that it can act as a blank canvas for your imagination! You could embellish them in a multitude of ways; adding in-seam pockets; decorative belt loops or patch side pockets; jazz up the insides with contrast fabric for the facings and embellish the topstitching – there are so many ways you could customise these! Also you will get a very different look depending on the type of woven fabric you go for; from a structured pair using a denim or cord to softer warm-weather Overalls in a linen/viscose slub, for example.
There’s a new sewing pattern launching today – you’ve probably seen – the Elliot Sweater & Teefrom Helen’s Closet. I jumped at the chance to test this pattern for Helen; as again it has all the hallmarks of a closet staple; warm but not too warm – perfect as a layering piece for the transition into the colder months.
The raglan sleeved Elliot comes in three views; View A which I’ve made, features a high neck and has a high-low hem which frankly I love; it means I can pair it with leggings without feeling I’m revealing too much backside! That side slit also makes sticking your hands in your pockets easier and provides forgiveness around the hip. View B is somewhat cropped (great for high waisted bottoms) and View C is your everyday comfort tee. There’s 20% off during the launch week too! Read More
Hi all! You’ll have, in all likelihood, seen that Helen of Helen’s Closet has just released the brand new Avery leggings pattern? (And yes, these are the leggings I hinted at in my #2018MakeNine plans post!) They have a smoothing doubled waistband, a gusset for mobility and no side seam meaning this pattern would make a great base layer, yoga pants or your everyday leggings. I love pattern testing for Helen (see my Suki Kimono here); her ethos and work methodology rocks – she really does want to produce Patterns for everyday essentials drafted so they’re accessible for all both in terms of sizing and sewing skill set. Plus the other sewists in her pattern testing team are fabulous…I’m guaranteed to learn something from their collective wisdom and feedback in the testing process. So, yes! Spoiler alert : Read More
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.
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, ofcourse, pockets. The Suki has all of these plus theaddition 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!
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!
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!?
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!