New Sewing Pattern – the Elliot Sweater & Tee by Helen’s Closet – tester make and finalised versions!

There’s a new sewing pattern launching today – you’ve probably seen – the Elliot Sweater & Tee from 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

Pattern Testing the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet

Leggings sewing patternHi 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 : the Avery leggings are awesome! PLUS there is 20% off during launch week!

Line drawings Avery leggings Helen’s closet

View A is your classic look legging whilst View B has a high waist and extra long leg so they can be pulled over the heel. I wanted mine to be yoga pants (so I could re-join the ‘Yoga with Adriene’ brigade!)

I opted for View A. These were a timely make; when I cut my first (navy) pair I sized up. I was testing these straight after my Christmas binge eating marathon (that started in November, haha) and then recently cut my usual size in the neon coral. You ain’t going to miss me wearing those bad boys out and about! There are only four pattern pieces and one of those is the gusset, making the PDF really quick to print out and assemble. Depending on your size and the width of your fabric, they potentially only require 1m of fabric too!

Helen’s Closet PatternI had nothing in my, admittedly minimal, fabric stash that was suitable. This pattern requires a jersey with 70% stretch in both directions. I found myself scouring online stores for four way stretch jersey using keywords like ‘performance jersey’, ‘athletic’ or ‘activewear’ knits like Dryflex and Supplex to narrow down the results. I considered buying from the range at FunkiFabrics but in the end, as the service was speedier, I bought both my ‘sports jersey’ from Fabric Godmother (it was my first time ordering from them and I was super impressed with the service). It has a whopping 100% crosswise stretch and 80% lengthwise, is absolutely perfect for yoga/exercise pants and is described as a “breathable super stretchy poly/spandex fabric with a soft matt finish” (read: slight sheen). If you can’t find jersey in your stash with the 70% stretch requirement, you could possibly consider sizing up and lengthening your pattern pieces to achieve the right fit?

Sew Sarah smithBecause you’re working with a highly stretchy fabric, the pattern is designed with a fair amount of negative ease which makes them really easy to fit. I cut mine based on my waist measurement; even though I’m a size smaller in the hip, I figured the negative ease would prevent any potential baggy bum scenarios! I took nothing from the length, figuring I could determine this later.

They sew up in no time. I used a straight stretch stitch on mine as I find a zig zag just doesn’t cut it for me – I always sew a test seam on a piece of scrap fabric first and then try to pull it apart. I don’t want to see either thread or teeny holes appear in the stressed seam. A stretch stitch is a complete pain to unpick though so, if necessary to check for fit, I baste the seam first and then sew up. I did use the recommended tricot zig zag stitch though for the first time to decorate / finish the waistband and ankle seams. As well as being an incredibly functional stitch, I really like the way it looks.

The waistband is finished with half-inch elastic sewn in between the waistband and the waistband facing. Some of the other testers omitted the elastic and instead lined the facing piece with powermesh. Either way, these form fitting leggings have your assets covered and are staying up! Do check out Anya’s blog Anna.Zoe.net as I think she intends to show this method soon plus how to add a pocket to the waistband too.

I love the overall fit, there’s no dodgy areas of cling (you know what I’m talking about!) plus the gusset not only massively improves your potential range of movement (these leggings are more flexible than I am, haha), they also avoid that nasty inseam intersection thus reducing bulk and any potential for chafing.

Helen’s closetI need/want some more everyday wear pairs in a day-to-day jersey. In earthy colours. (If you know of just the fabric with the required stretch that remains opaque when stressed, could you point me in the right direction please and save me hours of cyber searching guesswork!?!) Plus I can’t wait to start sewing up my Halifax Hoodies to pair with these. Comfort City here I come!

  • You can find the pattern HERE
  • You can find the fabric I used HERE and HERE

Until next time, when I’ll be back with either my newly finished Deer & Doe ‘Melilot’ shirt or that Hey June ‘Halifax Hoodie’.

You can join me on Instagram HERE

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