Archive for December 2017

Relaxed but with more style than pyjamas

December 18, 2017

Christmas holiday (vacation) time, so how to dress slouchy but not slobby ?

Classy yet Trendy has a post on a loungewear capsule, what to wear round the house that’s one-up from pjs :
1 knit open front cardigan
6 short and long sleeved tees / 2 sweatshirts
4 leggings / 2 joggers

Many patterns for copying these knit styles. Here are some examples :
For a similar classic cardigan, tees and leggings, see Pamela’s Patterns, or Nancy Zieman’s wardrobe patterns for knits McCall’s 7548 and McCall’s 7331. Perhaps made in a larger size to get the extra ease of loungewear.
For a little more ‘artistic’, there are no leggings but a tee and more varied layers from Sewing Workshop e-pattern downloads.
For ‘athleisure’ style sweatshirts and joggers there’s a wardrobe of sweats from Jalie. (Add an open ended zip for a jacket, and make these look more everydaywear by omitting the bands at wrists, hips, ankles).

But this capsule plan would not work for me.

1. I don’t wear knits – they make it obvious I have no lumps and bumps where there should be, and many lumps and bumps where there shouldn’t be.

2. I need many layers, and layers that close up to the neck for warmth. My distribution of 15 items might be :
5 layers
6 tops
4 pants

3. I prefer more interesting style elements, rather than adding interest with prints or accessories.

With so many reasons that capsule is not right for me, it’s fortunate there are many other ways of dressing ultra-casual.

My preference for style that’s one-up from pjs would be clothes made in flannel or fleece. Here are a couple of easy ideas.

Butterick 6273, a sleepwear pattern made in soft but daywear fabrics.


Even easier : the 100 Acts of Sewing pattern group in my 2018 SWAP plan.


My slouching-around outfits often include a vest. So make sleeveless versions of those ‘jackets’, perhaps in pre-quilted fabric. While writing this I’m wearing a padded vest, a cowl necked fleece top with blouse under, and flannel pj pants (in a Christmas print 😀 ). Change the flannel pants for slim cords to go outside, it’s not quite freezing here.

The Butterick and 100 Acts patterns are two easy choices. There are many other ultra-casual patterns with more interest.
StyleARC have some good layer-top-pants pattern bundles for outfits with a slouchy look.

I wrote several posts some years ago which expand the possibilities for meeting this style challenge, and I find I haven’t changed my ideas. Some of the patterns in these posts are no longer available, but a surprising number of these easy sew – easy wear styles are still in print.

Basic comfort styles – pyjamas for loungewear
Casual chic festive wear – tops, pants – copy Eileen Fisher by using simple shapes made in high quality fabrics.

Have a lovely Happy relaxed Christmas holiday everyone,
and Best Wishes for the New Year.

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available December 2017

= = = = =

Books I have 2 copies of

December 4, 2017

I moved about 2 years ago, and for many reasons have not yet unpacked my many books.

Of course it has been a good excuse to buy some sewing books that I didn’t already have ! I’ve also felt the need to have access to several sewing books that I already owned.
I prefer print versions of reference books, but for a second copy have been getting Kindle versions where available.

I’ve found it interesting to pull together a list of what I already have, hidden in a pile of boxes, and felt a need to look at so got another copy. They turn out to be mostly simple books with a generous spirit. And I’ve mentioned a few videos which supplement the books.

Basic but not usually for complete beginners – I’m relieved to find I haven’t felt a need to refer to books that tell me how to use my machine, tools, and patterns 😀 And, although I do a lot of work on muslins, I haven’t bought any repeat copies of (or new) books on fit – these days I know enough to do-it-myself by ‘reading the wrinkles’. Though no doubt I will be continuing my fitting ‘rescue fantasy’ by trying yet more video classes on pant fit. . .

My choices make it obvious my main focus is not couture technique but simple techniques for sewing and pattern altering – though they do need to give quality results. Simple garments with much potential for variation. And I know, from my pleasure in my collection of 19c sewing books, that I have an almost infinite capacity for reading multiple instructions for the same technique.

Most of these books and classes include full size patterns, or have simple instructions for making your own. Most not for complete beginners – you do need to know a surprising amount to follow even the simplest garment sewing instructions. Although many of the books are simple, this isn’t a post on learning to sew.

The easiest of all, for both sewing and pattern alterations
See how much you can do by playing with the simplest of patterns.

Wiener & Rosenberg – Illustrated hassle-free make your own clothes book (don’t know how I got a kindle version, it doesn’t seem to be available now – perhaps too many people thought it’s in the boho spirit of the book to pirate copies). Draw simple patterns direct onto fabric.

Sonya Philip of 100 Acts of Sewing – video not book – shirt and pants classes at Creative Bug. The same sort of vision as the hassle-free book but with paper patterns (pdfs).

More sewing skills

Bolsover – Sewing machine basics (I do love the tunic pattern). Home dec and clothes, paper patterns. Does start with getting to know your machine, sewing straight lines, turning corners. . .

Aoi Koda – 12 lessons – all clothes (original in Japanese, now out of print – second copy in French). I love the very visual instructions in Japanese pattern books – a little easier to understand when annotated in a familiar language ! Overlapping traceable paper patterns.

Beyond beginner sewing, techniques only

The great Vogue Sewing Book – I already had the 1984 ‘new’ edition – bought when it first came out and was hugely expensive, to celebrate getting a new job ! Now I also have the 3rd. edition metric version.

Last Christmas I got the Threads magazine archive on DVD.

Simple pattern making

Cal Patch – Design It Yourself clothes (kindle version). Draft your own patterns. The book is not very visual and has minimal sewing instructions.
I prefer her Creative Bug classes.

Both sewing and simple pattern making / alterations, advanced beginner to intermediate techniques

Kerstin Martensson – Easy Sewing the Kwik Sew way.
Paper patterns not overlapping but on both sides of paper so need tracing. Not to worry, they’re multi-style patterns so would need tracing anyway.
Pattern proportions not very current, but easy replace with others such as : tee, blouse, skirt, pants.

Alison Smith – Dressmaking (2012).
2nd copy is the shorter edition (19 of the 32 styles in the big book) – Dressmaking step by step (2015). Classic styles, and the big book has them in drab fabrics, but the photo instructions are excellent. Download patterns.

Wiener & Rosenberg – Son of hassle free sewing. Draft your own patterns.

Looking at this list makes me feel happy.
I do know this is my taste. I’m not suggesting everyone should have these books ready to hand. But it can be an interesting exercise – what are the books or technique sites that you like to have easy access to ?

😀 Hurrah for sewing in all its forms 😀

– – –

Links available December 2017

= = = = =