Stylish fleeces and hoodies

Posted October 26, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: current fashion, personal style

I seem to have been going through a phase where I disagree with everything said by stylists.
Ah well, perhaps it’s a test that I’m clear about my own style.

A style book I looked at recently (Wardrobe Secrets by Emily Neill) said there are no rules about what to wear, except you must never wear a turtle (polo) neck, and it’s good to wear a V-neck.
Oh dear, I feel the cold and with my long neck and long head, I think I look much better in a turtle neck. And I haven’t worn a classic V-neck since school uniform – with my face shape and flat chest they don’t look anywhere near the best I can be.

And Imogen Lamport of Inside-Out Style has a couple of recent posts in which she appears to be anti-fleece and anti-hoodie.

Oh. Hmm. No doubt I’m over-reacting, but there seem to be several sub-texts here :
– that it’s impossible to look stylish and trendy in a fleece or hoodie,
– that everyone wants to look stylish and trendy,
– and that it’s impossible to look stylish and trendy when wearing protective winter outerwear.
(The people who buy Chanel ski jackets would be surprised to hear that :D There’s even a Lands End ‘down to -40 degrees C’ padded jacket in the style worn by all the trendy girls round here.)

Well of course that set me off on a whole lot of trains of thought. Happily there are many recent patterns for ‘Easy Luxe’ elegant fleeces and hoodies.

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Stylish hoodies

McCall’s 6444

”m6444”

Butterick 5791 (includes elastic waist pants)

”b5791”

Vogue 8854.

”v8854”

McCall’s 6603

”m6603”

McCall’s 6849

”m6849”

(Or shorten this dress, Vogue 8806.)

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Stylish fleeces

Some new patterns could be cosy and comfortable in fleece, yet look ‘stylish’ rather than ‘sporty’ (Though why not look sporty-casual if you want to – there are plenty of new patterns. It’s a very popular look round here.)

McCall’s 6658

”m6658”

Vogue 8924

”v8924”

Butterick 5961 by Katherine Tilton

”b5961”

Simplicity 1543 by Patty Reed

”s1543”

Butterick 5816 is said to be for light fabrics. But it was a summer pattern issue, and I think it could work well in warm fabrics too. (Pattern info doesn’t mention using 2 fabrics, very trendy but not clear that there are instructions for it.)

”b5816”

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Well, this is obviously a topic close to my heart, as I keep returning to it.
See my previous posts on
fleeces and hoodies
and on the vague borderline between ultra-casual and loungewear styles.

Hurrah, lots of options for those of us who love ‘Easy Luxe’ :D

And here’s YouLookFab on wearing a hoodie with a blazer – she definitely doesn’t think a hoodies are not for the stylish :D

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Patterns and links available October 2013

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Shirt sewalongs

Posted October 19, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: sewing technique

Many people feel making a shirt is a step too far beyond sewing a top or blouse.
But there’s a good variety of support available, so it can be worth going for !

These are sew alongs which give detailed extra guidance to supplement the shirt pattern instructions.
I’ve chosen to focus on ones which include a band collar. (The word’ shirt’ is a bit ambiguous, and there are many shirt patterns which don’t have a 2-piece collar.)
Some of the sewalongs, but not all, also include a classic ‘steeple’ shirt sleeve placket.

The free written tutorials are linked to specific patterns.
But most of the on-line videos and DVDs are not pattern specific, though they make pattern recommendations.

The classic shirt has such standard features that the Big 4 pattern companies all have several basic shirt patterns for women.

Kwik Sew are particularly known for their men’s shirt patterns.
This is Kwik Sew 3883.

”ks3883”

As usual, I haven’t read or watched through all of these sewalongs, let alone worked through them – so no guarantee about quality !

- – -

On-line free written tutorials with photos

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Wiksten Tova

”wiksten-tova”

This isn’t a shirt, but it has a collar band, so I’ve included it here.
Easier than making a two piece collar – perhaps a good starter piece ?!

pattern download

sewalong from verykerryberry.

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Grainline Archer

”grainline-archer”

(Those back gathers are optional !)

pattern download

sewalong
days 1-5
days 6-14

There’s even a ‘chat and encouragement’ group at Pattern Review, for people who promised to sew one of these a month for a year !

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Colette Patterns Negroni for men

”colette-negroni”

pattern

Oh, this pattern doesn’t actually include a collar stand, ah well. . .

sew along from Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness
page 1 of posts
page 2 of posts

This pattern was one of the challenges in the Super Online Sewing Match.
Here are the Entries, which all show creative options (one of them added a collar band, which is what confused me !).

- – -

On-line videos (not free)

-

Craftsy

The Classic Tailored shirt class by Pam Howard

Suggested patterns for men and women in Lesson 2

class here

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eSewing Workshop

They use their own pattern draft for the shirt, but you could use many other patterns.

bodice drafting
sleeve drafting

Shirt Sewing sewalong

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The Sewing Guru

the Gent’s shirt video collection
Collection 9

[There isn’t much open access information at The Sewing Guru site, but you can sign on free for 2 days and have a look round. It’s easy to cancel from a PayPal account. Tailor’s methods.]

Instructions also apply to making a woman’s shirt.

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DVDs

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Palmer-Pletsch

The latest version of the Palmer-Pletsch unisex shirt pattern is McCall’s 6613, with sleeve, hem, pocket options.

”m6613”

sewalong in ‘Learning to Sew a Shirt or Blouse‘ DVD

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You Can Make It

Level 6 of their sewing course.
The course is cumulative, Level 6 is not stand-alone, it assumes you know all the skills taught in previous levels.

sewalong : Level 6 teaching DVD (scroll down).

- – -

Would you like this sort of extra help with the instructions while you make any of these patterns :D

Feel more confident that You Can Indeed Make A Shirt :D

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Patterns and links available October 2013

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Ease levels

Posted October 12, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: fit of clothes

After those voluminous architectural jackets, perhaps this is a good time to talk about ease levels !
Ease is the difference between the body measurement and the finished garment measurement at the point of interest. (Finished measures sometimes on the pattern envelope, usually on the tissue.)

For example, if your bust measures 36 in, and the finished garment measure at bust level is 38 in. then the bust level ease is :
38 – 36 = 2 in.

In practice the amount of ease is a surprisingly complex matter, as it depends on ease of movement, stretchiness of fabric, personal preferences, layering, and design.

I’m always wanting to check ease levels, and never seem to find my version of the BMV patterns ease level chart, which I always need to adapt anyway, so here are some comments.

The original BMV ease table is here .

Some of us are not a RTW shape and have to buy garments which are huge in most places, just to be able to move without tearing the buttons off in our largest area. . .
Hopefully when we can make our own clothes, we can learn enough about fitting and pattern alteration to get round that problem.

- – -

Types of ease

Ease is not a simple matter of a few easy rules, as there are different types of ease for different purposes, as well as personal preferences to take into account.

There are 4 sorts of ease :

Negative ease

Garments made out of very stretchy fabrics, such as lycra leotards, may actually be made smaller than the body.
In these modern days of many stretch fabrics with different properties, pattern making books provide several different basic pattern blocks for fabrics with different amounts of stretch.

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Movement ease

The minimum ease needed to be able to move.
For example, if you wore a skin tight garment in a non-stretch fabric, you wouldn’t be able to breathe.

The amount of movement ease needed depends on the amount of stretch in the fabric.
And people differ in their preferences.
Some people want to look sleek, and are happy to go without being able to move easily, to get the effect they want.
As in wearing a party dress which is too tight to sit down in. . .

In a close fitting jacket, with less than 2 inches of ease, you may not be able lift your arms easily above about 45 degrees.
So people who like freedom of movement often prefer 4 inches or more of ease in a jacket.
Most casual garments are made with more than minimum ease.

One of the problems with getting a good pants pattern is that they have both to look good while standing and feel comfortable when bending over or sitting.

There’s all sorts of specialist information available for particular sports, about the different areas of a garment where special ease is needed.

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Layering ease

Here’s a diagram of the different levels of ease, adapted from the BMV table.

”ease-scale-sharpen”

This is an ease scale for non-stretch wovens.

CF . . . close fitting
F . . . . fitted
SF . . . semi-fitted
LF . . . loose fitted
VLF . . very loose fitting

Each level of ease assumes you want the garment to fit over the next one down : coat over jacket over blouse.
Though these days things are not quite so simple.

Jackets

The BMV ease table says jackets are not made close fitting.
But I know at least one pattern making book where the jackets are made from the same block as the dress.
Which means there’s not room for more than a camisole under, and minimum movement ease.
Say 2 in./ 5 cm. Perhaps less if the jacket is the focus of your outfit and always worn closed.

A jacket needs to be at least 1 inch larger than what it’s layered over, if it’s going to be worn as a layer over a blouse or shirt.
A lined jacket is often made 1 in. larger than an unlined one, for the same reason.
Then add at least 1 inch more, for each additional layer.

For layering a lined jacket over a sleeved shirt/ blouse, many people prefer at least 4 in / 10 cm. Especially in winter for more layering.

And also beware ease of sleeves. Fitted jacket pattern sleeves need to be checked. Many of them assume you’ll be wearing it over only a camisole or tank. So armhole and sleeve are not large enough to be worn comfortably over another garment with sleeves.

When you have a well-fitting jacket pattern, you may find you can wear a closer fit and still be comfortable. It’s a matter of personal preference and the usual clothes you wear a jacket over.
I need many layers for warmth, like to move easily, and am not close to a RTW shape, so most of my jackets are very loose fitting.

Coats

A bit bigger than jackets, as they’re usually designed to layer over a jacket.
The diagram has the coat ease levels BMV recommend for wearing over a jacket.

The BMV ease table says coats are not made close fitting.
But I have one coat pattern from them with ease of only 2 inches, obviously intended to be worn only over a top without a jacket.
So again, check finished measurements of a coat pattern to make sure you will be able to wear it in the way you expect.

Also the suggested ease levels assume the coat is worn over a jacket at the same level of fit.
For example, a fitted coat wouldn’t be comfortable over a very loose fitting jacket. There just wouldn’t be room inside the coat for all the extra fabric.

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Design ease

The ease added by the designer to give the desired silhouette.
For example the 80s – 90s are famous for their huge shoulders and very loose fit.

For the last decade or so, fitted or close fitted has been the norm.
In recent seasons a ‘slouchy’ look has appeared – very loose fit has returned but without the huge shoulder pads supporting it.

- – -

Hip level ease

The main recommendations are for ease at bust level.

Hip level ease applies mainly for skirt, pants, shorts, culottes.
But also applies to the hip level of dresses, long jackets, coats.

On close fitted and fitted and semi-fitted styles, there’s often one inch less ease at hip level.
For example, if the bust level ease is 3 in. then the hip level ease is 2 in.

But allow for your personal needs.
For example, as my hips spread 4 inches when I sit down, I make sure there is at least that amount of ease at hip level.

On loose and very loose fitting styles, the finished garment measurements are often straight up-and-down. Hip level is often the same as the finished garment measure at the bust level.
But as the ease at bust level is more than 8 inches on these loose garments, that’s usually no great problem – unless your hips are 3 or more sizes larger than your bust.

- – -

This is all very dry. Ease is not a simple matter, but it is useful to understand how ease works and what your preferences are.

- – -

Link available October 2013

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Turned up collar

Posted October 5, 2013 by sewingplums
Categories: current fashion, Eileen Fisher

There is a blazer detail that’s emphasised this season – many versions with turned up collar.
(I first mentioned it in a post on workwear suggestions from UK In Style magazine a couple of years ago.)

Gucci at Saks

”guccisaks”

Philosophy at Saks

”philosophysaks”

This one has a lovely change of texture by using a mesh overlay except in the collar and ‘lapel’ area.

Including Eileen Fisher’s featured jacket this season.

”efjkt”

Oddly there’s no photo on the Eileen Fisher site which shows the collar clearly.

(For a softer look, Eileen Fisher also has several jackets with a cascade/ waterfall front. Though in leather I think they look assertively edgy rather than soft. See my post on new patterns for soft and shapely jackets.).

A turned up collar is a possible style for both business and a more casual look.
Could work well in a setting which needs a more professional look but with a bit of fashion forward edge.

Easy to mimic using McCall’s 6711, which has a collar that can be made and worn either up or down.

”m6711jkt”

(Simplicity Sew Stylish 1542 View A is a softer style with a notched neckline, not like the RTW examples I’ve given photos of.)

On the McCall’s pattern, the princess seams give easy opportunities for this season’s colour blocking or texture blocking.
Or use leather just for the collar or for added trims, round the edges or in the princess seams.
The Eileen Fisher jacket has leather piping in a waist seam.

The McCall’s jacket is part of a wardrobe pattern, with a good variety for combining crisp and soft lines. Though as usual you have to check if the jacket will layer over other sleeves.

- – -

Collar details

Choose which way to make the jacket. If you press the collar and lapels to roll down and back, then turn up the collar, you may look just look as if you’re sheltering from a draft ! Make a version with collar pressed flat if you want to look sleek and in control with this turned up collar.
Though of course the conventional blaser collar turned up and worn with a scarf is a classic casual look.

Look closely and you’ll see this turned up collar may be made with a slightly wider neckline so the collar upper edge lies lower on the neck.

Also the notch in the McCall’s pattern is wider than the notches in the RTW versions. The pattern uses a collar which is easy to sew.

The RTW jackets have a collar inset into an angled corner, a much more advanced sewing technique. Not mentioned in my old Vogue Sewing Book which I thought was comprehensive. Surprisingly difficult to find guidance. These tutorials from the RTW tailoring sewalong at Paper, Scissors, Cloth show the method needed. They show the crucial techniques, which need accurate stitching :
– when attaching the under-collar to jacket and upper-collar to facings, sew only to the ‘match point’, not into the seam allowance beyond it (tutorial here – after first 2 steps).
– when joining body-under collar and upper collar-facing units, sew away from that match-point corner in both directions (tutorial here).

Not many patterns with an inset collar. Here’s a few (these are just examples which have that collar in a corner, they’re not patterns for turned up collars) : Vogue 8845 by Claire Shaeffer, Vogue Wardrobe 8887, Burda 03/2010 # 116.

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Personally I wouldn’t look at all friendly with all those angles close to my face ! (though it would look better in light colours).

Is this a style element that would look good on you, or is the crispness and this collar shape not best for your personal lines and the attitude you like to convey ?

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Pattern and links available September 2013

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