Archive for July 2013

Summer jacket – combining contrasts

July 27, 2013

Another outfit from UK In Style magazine’s suggestions for summer weddings.
With emphasis on combining very different contrasts in one outfit.

Very different from the softly styled muted colouring kimono in my previous post.

A straight thigh length jacket with seam interest.
Made in a solid fabric (white for this summer’s theme), perhaps with a shiny texture or leather.

UK In Style July 2013

For the jacket pattern, try Kwik Sew 3732.


Not clear from either image, but both jacket and pattern have large hip patch pockets.

The outfit jacket also has matching seam interest across the sleeves, easy to add.
And 3/4 sleeves – add to taste.

Outfit styling

All this season’s textures and patterns in one outfit !
brilliant styling !


big contrasts in :
surface – leather or lace
print – soft or hard edged

Textures :
lace shirt
smooth leather or shine jacket
metallic and suede shoes
snake skin bag
floaty scarf.

Patterns :
hard edged simple pattern scarf
floral pants
snake skin bag
the lace shirt adds another subtle curved pattern

Combinations of solid flat, segmented mosaic (the snake skin), background-foreground (lace and scarf), or detailed painterly shapes.

All integrated through the use of colour. Mainly white and warm, with a touch of complementary cool blue.

This outfit is styled in clear colours.
If your colouring is more muted, choose a print with muted pastel background for the pants, and repeat the background colour for the jacket and shirt.

– – –

Whew, this sort of integration of opposites in styling takes talent or a lot of experimenting.

I can’t do this or wear this level of variety myself, but I’m fascinated by outfits like this.
Would you like to try it ?

(And P.S. – if you prefer to wear a dress to a wedding, here are many suggestions on what to wear to a wedding from Imogen Lamport at Inside-Out Style.)

– – –

Pattern available July 2013

= = =

Skirt Sewalongs – written

July 20, 2013

Thinking of sewing a skirt as an ‘advanced beginner’ project ?
Or looking for help with constructing your own 6-gore skirt pattern ?

Good sewalongs are a wonderful source of confidence and useful information.
Of course it can be extra fun if you sew along at the time of issue, but they remain a useful source of information later.

There’s a big selection for skirts – so many I doubt I’ve found them all.
I’ve tried to group them according to style elements and difficulty.

These are sewalongs with detailed step by step instructions which supplement the pattern.
I haven’t included sewalongs which are mainly encouraging chat. There are many of those at Pattern Review and Sawyer-Brook.

And this got so long I’ve divided it in parts.
Some people like written tutorials with photos. Those are free.
Some people like video demos. Those are pay-for.
Some people are strongly one way or the other. Personally I like both, video to be sure what to do, written so I haven’t got to remember.

This post lists free on-line written tutorials with photos.
Here’s a post with links to skirt sewalongs with video demos (not free).

I haven’t read through, let alone worked through, all of these. So no guarantee of quality, ease of understanding, completeness. . .

Photos are not all equal. I have a commercial pattern with the garment sewn in heavily patterned fabric that looks the same on front and back sides, with stitching in closely matched thread. Impossible to see anything at all. I don’t think any of these sewalongs fall in that trap.

All include zips unless otherwise mentioned.

– – –

Beginner wrap skirt with waistband and ties

Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
wrap skirt with waistband and ties, no zip or buttonholes
download pattern and sewalong

Or here’s a ‘draft it yourself’ sew along for a wrap skirt from Sew Mama Sew.
A bit difficult for most complete beginners.

No bought pattern needed, and no zips, but these are not easy techniques for complete beginners.

Tilly and the Buttons skirt gathered to waistband, with front button opening, pockets

Tilly and the Buttons skirt with shirred waist

Draft your own pattern for contoured waistband and skirt gathered by shirring
sewalong from Sew Mama Sew

Pencil, a-line, gored skirts

Similar instructions apply to many other styles which just vary in number of seams and shape of pattern pieces, such as gored, flared, tulip, trumpet shapes.

Basic pencil skirt using any pattern,
such as McCalll’s 3830 classic tissue pattern.
sewalong from Tuppence Ha’penny

Burda Syle Jenny skirt with wide waistband
download pattern
sewalong from A Fashionable Stitch

Colette Patterns Ginger skirt, a-line with shaped waistband
tissue pattern
sewalong from A Fashionable Stitch

Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, 4-gores and pockets
tissue pattern
sewalong from My Messings

Contour waistband or yoke with fullness below

Simplicity 2226
tissue pattern
links to all the sewalong steps at the top of this post from Noodlehead

Sewaholic Crescent skirt
tissue pattern
for sewalong scroll to 2/3 down this page from Sewaholic

Burda 7342 flared bias skirt with lined yoke
tissue pattern
supplement to instructions, from Fashion Sewing Blog


BurdaStyle Marie skirt
download pattern
scroll to 2/3 down the page for links to the sewalong steps from Stitch in my Side

Butterick 5756
tissue pattern
supplement to instructions, from Fashion Sewing Blog

Simplicity 2117
tissue pattern
supplement to instructions, from Fashion Sewing Blog


Jennifer Stern Ribbon bias skirt with central seam.
The image isn’t clear, so here’s the Collete Ginger skirt in a bias version.
Jennifer Stern’s tissue pattern and tutorial (half way down), with advice about sewing on the bias.

Draft your own pattern for a circle skirt
pattern drafting and sew along from Elegant Musings

– – –

With many thanks to all the people who have done all the work of preparing these sewalongs.

A few comments on how to choose between the possibilities in my second post, on video demos.

Do you like this sort of extra sewing guidance 😀

I hope you’re pleased with what you make.
If not – what did you learn from the process, about sewing and about your preferences 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available July 2013

= = =

Summer jacket – Kimono

July 13, 2013

I was amused by a piece in UK In Style magazine for July about wedding outfits.
Obviously they’re thinking of our recent cold sunless summers, and not expecting us to survive outdoors in a sleeveless dress.
As the emphasis of all the outfits is on a long-sleeved jacket. Over high necked tops and dresses.
None of the outfits are at all revealing !

Several interesting outfits, I’ve decided to comment on them individually as short summer posts.

The first is the most casual suggestion, a kimono.
Very fashionable this season.


– – –

Kimono patterns

Make in a drapey soft muted print fabric, with the neck band in a contrasting dark solid colour.

The easiest beginners’ kimono pattern is Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3177.
A pattern for a dressing gown/ robe, but currently fashionable for a casual jacket too.


Choose the finished size by the effect you want – slouchy or slim.
Omit the pockets or place them differently, if that would be more flattering.
Many lengths possible – to hip, thigh, knee.

If you’d still feel you were wearing your robe in public if you made that, try Burda 7297.
Styled as robe, jacket or coat.


There are also some wardrobe patterns with kimono jackets.

Simplicity 1593 is a wardrobe for knits.


Or for something a bit more elegant there’s New Look 6161, a Project Runway pattern.


– – –

Outfit styling

In this outfit the kimono is worn with an equally softly styled dress in a light solid colour.
Both dress and kimono at knee length.

This outfit is styled with darker muted warm colours, but there are many washed prints in other colourways, lighter, brighter, cooler, to use as a colour starting point.

This is styled for a beach wedding, with open flat shoes for coping with sand.

The clutch bag, very fashionable, is the usual flat rectangle shape, but with rounded corners to match the generally soft styling.

The outfit is in browns, blacks, creams, with a wash of other subtle tones in the print.
The bag, plus a strip in the shoes, emphasises a pale green. Possibly picked out from the muted print. A good soft way to give the outfit a bit of colour ‘lift’ without overpowering the muted effect.

An easy and attractive outfit, if you’re happy in something casual, soft, unrevealing. Vary the colour to what flatters you.

– – –

A kimono was high fashion a couple of years ago too. Then it was a winter style as part of an emphasis on oriental style. I wrote a post then on kimono patterns.

Now the kimono is back as a summer style and part of an arty or ‘slouchy’ ultra-casual attitude.
YouLookFab has a couple of posts showing modern casual kimono styling with jeans and slim pants. And in brighter colourings, here and here.

So, if the style attracts you, you can wear kimonos both for everyday and for special occasions.

Wow, I’m fashionable this season without knowing it. Early in the year I bought an ecru lace kimono for ‘summer best’. Thigh rather than dress length, so best worn with slimmer pants. I love it 😀

Though we have just had a week of sunshine and warmth here, so perhaps we won’t need jackets this summer after all 😀

– – –

Outfit photo from UK In Style magazine
Patterns and links available July 2013

= = =

e-Book – Basic pattern blocks

July 6, 2013

Wow, on Thursday, someone made the half-millionth visit to one of my posts !

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

In celebration, here’s a ‘door prize’ for everyone.

Some of my most popular posts are on pattern making.

So here’s an e-book which combines the main posts.

e-Book on Personal basic pattern making blocks.pdf.

[Please note this was written in 2013, so many of the links no longer work.]

This e-book is a survey of methods for getting well fitting basic pattern blocks.
It doesn’t describe any of the methods in detail.
Or how to do the pattern altering to change the blocks to make new styles.

It’s based on these posts :

Introduction – from Favourite books – pattern altering
Pattern making – the formal route
Pattern making – easier fitting shells
Aids to well fitting blocks

These posts overlap a bit so I’ve combined and edited, and updated my opinions 😀

Enjoy !
I hope you find it useful.
And Thank You Very Much for your interest.

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

July 2013

= = =