Sidewinder pants by The Sewing Revival

The Sidewinder pants are my third make using a pattern from The Sewing Revival following on from several versions of their Heron dress and Bellbird top. I’ve already written reviews of them which you can read about here and here, plus I made a new version of the Bellbird at the recent Sewing Weekender in Cambridge, organised by The Fold Line.

The Sidewinders are a very simple pull-on trouser pattern with a tapered leg but their USP is the diagonal side seam which gives them such an interesting ‘twist’. They are flat-fronted with an elasticated back waist and of course there are pockets in the seams too. There are variations at the hem too as you can choose plain full-length, 7/8ths with turn-ups like mine or use wide elastic to gather the hem into cuffs. As you can see from the artwork they could be very casual or dressed up with heels, fabrics with a bit of body but some drape and softness are suggested. Like the other Sewing Revival patterns these are PDFs so you can buy, download and print your pattern any time, or have them printed for you on A0.

As I’ve come to expect with SR patterns the instructions and illustrations are very clear and personally I’ve always found their sizing very good too. I cut the large based on my measurements although I did decide to shorten the leg length very slightly as I didn’t want them ‘pooling’ around my ankles too much, the idea is that they sit above the ankle bone. The instructions tell you what length of elastic to cut for the back waist which you can then adjust to suit.

For the first pair I used some Royal blue crepe fabric which was leftover from the Trend Asymmetric dress I made last year. If you’re using a plain fabric these trousers are surprisingly economical to cut and if you’re short of fabric you could cut the pocket bags and waist band facings from other fabrics too. You could have fun with stripes or checks to give them a bit of a Vivienne Westwood vibe but you’d need more fabric for that. What about using ribbon or piping down the side seam for emphasis?

Construction is very quick, I’d say that this could be a half-day project if you aren’t getting fancy with pattern-matching. I really like the way that the waistband is a facing because when it folds over the top it secures the pocket bags in place, you only need to neaten the lower edges of them. The elastic gets slotted through the back channel which extends slightly around to the front beyond the ‘normal’ side seam position. Once this is stitched in place you sew down the facing at the front. This line of stitching isn’t near the edge, it’s approximately 3.5-4cms away depending on the width of your elastic so use a guide of some kind to keep it parallel, I always use the quilting guide which comes with my machine or you could use Washi tape or similar stuck onto the bed (I’m not keen on this personally as I wouldn’t any sticky residue near my fabrics but I know others use this method)

These are the second pair which I made at the Weekender and that is why some of the overlocking is different colours.

As I said earlier I’ve made both versions with a small turn-up so once I’ve turned them up I stitched through seam lines of the inner and outer leg seams to hold the turn-up securely in position.

You’ll notice from the grey version that I contrast top-stitched in pink either side of the outer leg seams to give some emphasis to the diagonal seam, I like how it goes ‘off’ at the hem.

The blue pair are sooo comfortable because the crepe fabric has quite a bit of natural give, and the back elastic gives a nice snug fit without being too tight. My blouse here is a longtime favourite, the Imogen from Sew Me Something
There was enough fabric to make a belt which ended up being massively long so it goes round twice into a big bow!
And these are the grey pair which I teamed with the second garment I started (but didn’t finish!) at the Weekender which is another Sewing Revival Bellbird made in a very lightweight woven check cotton which I picked up on a swap table somewhere last year. The label was given to us by lovely Harriet of Sew me Sunshine which is a really nice reminder of what I made and where!

Janine at The Sewing Revival generously provided me with the pattern for the Sidewinders and I’ve been more than happy to write a review because I love these trousers! I’m planning to make more for the winter and I’ll definitely give a gathered ankle pair a try too.

After a few weeks of sewing for others, writing (and then completely rewriting the Sew Over 50 birthday blog post because I lost ALL 4000+ words!!!!) and being away from home it’s lovely to get back to a bit of sewing for myself and sharing my thoughts with you. I’m so happy that I discovered The Sewing Revival as a result of our first Sew Over 50 challenge at the beginning of the year, did you find any new patterns brands as a result too, that was certainly our hope.

Until next time,

Happy Sewing

Sue

Heather dress from Sew Over It

img_0703

When you dabble in social media where sewing and dressmaking is concerned, specifically Instagram in my case, you quickly notice which patterns are new and having a ‘moment’. Currently, for example, the Cleo dungaree pinafore by Tilly and the Buttons, the Linden sweatshirt from Grainline, or the Toaster top from Sewhouse 7 are really booming, they’re everywhere. Along with these is a new PDF from Sew Over It  a jersey dress called Heather. heather-pattern

I liked the way the pockets were part of the style lines on the front and when I saw it was reduced to buy in their January sale I decide to snap one up.

I haven’t made a lot of PDFs but I’m slowly building up my collection, this one runs to 36 pages which seems about average. After my last experience where I had a PDF printed at the copy shop and it cost me a FORTUNE I went back to printing it myself and doing the sticking! I think this was probably me misunderstanding the price structure, perhaps someone can tell me if that’s the case?

I must say that the Heather was super-simple to piece together and very quick to stick together-I used a glue-stick this time instead of sticky tape which seems to work well (will I discover it’s all fallen to bits in 6 months time?)

I checked my measurements against the chart and decided to go with a 14, although I wasn’t sure at this stage if the hips would be too big. One thing I didn’t do this time was print off all the instructions, I left them on the laptop and referred to them as I went along (saving the planet one page at a time!)

I found a length of jersey in my beautifully curated collection (yeah right!) which hadn’t really lent itself to a project before because I thought it looked a little old-fashioned but with the right pattern could look more up-to-date. I decide the Heather dress was that project-I hope I’m right. Anyway the fabric had been given to me so it wasn’t an expensive mistake if it didn’t work very well, more of a wearable toile. img_0734

On to the sewing-I was really impressed with how well the pieces went together (as you’ll know if you’ve read some of my earlier blogs I’m a stickler for accurate cutting out because  that way I know, if something doesn’t go together properly or markings don’t match, it’s more likely to be the pattern than my cutting out and I can make adjustments and a note for next time. It’s another reason I always prefer scissors because with a decent pair and practice they are so accurate)

The main feature of the dress is the in-seam pockets and the instructions for these are very clear and they sew together beautifully, I think a comparative novice could easily manage them without too much difficulty and they are very satisfying when you’ve done them. The only thing I added which isn’t in the instructions was some understitching to help the top edge roll over effectively.

img_0777
Close up of the pocket in the seam.

The rest of the dress went together very quickly-there are no fastenings like zips or buttons to worry about or take time fiddling with. I’d chosen the long-sleeved version and these went in well. The only area I had any difficulty with (and this is a recurring theme for me) is the neckband. I can never get them to be flat enough. I mean it isn’t terrible but I think the band was a little too long in this particular fabric so it sticks up very slightly. If it had been worse than it is I would have unpicked but as this is more of a wearable toile I decided it was liveable and left it alone. I’m happy with the length too so I didn’t alter that, I must admit when I saw Lisa in the plain pink version I expected it to be too short so either she’s shortened that one or (quite likely) she has longer legs than me! I’m 5’5″ so totally average…

img_0778
Posing it up in what’s become known as ‘the photo corner’ in the room where I teach my lessons on Thursdays (love that contrasting non-slip safety grip step edging!!)

So that’s Heather. Overall the fit is, as I suspected it might be, a little big for me over the hips so I ought to take a bit out of the side seams (I haven’t yet because I wanted to wear it) and when I make another I’ll make that adjustment in the cutting out. I’m not sure there’s quite enough room over the bust either, it’s a bit ‘flattening’ and I’m certainly not anyone’s idea of full-busted. It is very comfortable however, the day I wore it was freezing so I popped an RTW turtle neck underneath. I like the idea of contrast panels for the sides and sleeves so I think I’ll try that next although I’m trying to use fabric I already have for a while and I’m not sure I have anything else suitable so it might have to wait! I might try adding a collar that rolls over too. Lots of possibilities…

Overall I’m very pleased with the quality of this Sew Over It pattern, and it’s instructions, and I’d be happy to try another based on this one, maybe the Anderson blouse which looks elegant. The sticking together was pretty straightforward, the fit came up close to the finished measurements chart ( I’ll just need to act on them next time) and it has a number of variations. It would suit a confident novice who’s keen to try stable knits and some interesting style details, and pattern-sticking aside it’s pretty quick to make up.

Happy Sewing

Sue

 

 

Testing Karri, a new Megan Nielsen pattern

Ages ago I volunteered (via her website) to be a pattern tester for Megan Nielsen, an independent pattern designer based in Australia, for those of you not familiar with her.

I’d forgotten all about it when in early June I got an email inviting me to participate with testing the next new release…so exciting!! Then, disappointment…because the timing was terrible for me. The pattern was due to be sent out at the end of June with late July as the expected date for feedback. Why was this disappointing? Because I was going on holiday on July 1st for two weeks and when I returned I’d have no time to get the dress made because of bridal alteration commitments-sad times.

I emailed to let them know (because basically it would be rude not to do it when they’d invited me to help!) I had a lovely reply to say they’d still send the PDF and if I could get it done then great but if not, then never mind.

I’d never actually made a PDF pattern before this so I downloaded it but that’s as far as I got before going on holiday. I naively thought that if you printed it out on bigger paper then the fewer sheets it took so I gaily asked my daughter (an intelligent girl…usually) to print it for me while I was away because I was still optimistic that I might get it done. She printed it off on A3 paper but oh dear…all that happens is it prints it out bigger so the sizing is totally wrong!! [some of you will be laughing by now at my rookie error but I’m hoping that others will be thinking “Oh, I didn’t know that either” in which case this is a public service announcement!] 

All this meant that when I got back and had to hit the ground running with my other commitments I had no chance of completing it by the feedback deadline. It languished for weeks before I finally could get sticking. In truth I’m not sure I’m wild about PDF patterns yet but I can see that they have advantages-they are cheaper than a paper version of an indie pattern, you can reprint them as often as you want and you can print them on regular paper which is sturdier than tissue. The disadvantage is they can take ages to put together and they can be confusing at times to find the matching parts, not to mention possibly running out of ink and/or paper halfway through.

Anyway, once I’d got Karri all put together I could set to work. Included with the printouts are a helpfully clear list and pictures of the various pattern pieces needed (there are quite a few because the front bodice has several sections and the lining is different to the outer shell) I found this useful once I’d got the pieces largely put together so I knew I hadn’t missed anything out. There’s also line drawing which you can label or colour in if that helps with your design choices-the suggestion being that you could use up lots of scraps of fabric to create Karri.

I had a sample length of some navy fabric woven with dots which I’d bought ages ago at Hitchin market so I decided to use that. I’d also bought some navy of the lovely quality Italian lining at the K&S show at the same time as the red/green shot that went under my recent party frock so I was all set.

I was very impressed with the quality of the pattern in the sense that it appeared to have already been ‘trued’. I didn’t find any notches or markings missing, there were no strange wonky angles or un-matching seam lengths. It felt like a human had drawn and created it, not a computer program. My only observation (had I been in time to make them) would be to make the grain lines much longer on every piece, this is a real bugbear of mine as they’re almost always too short so are neither use nor ornament. TOP TIP-if the grain line is ever too short draw it on for yourself across the full length of the pattern piece, you’ll be able to get the placement along the grain much more accurate. I also decided that I’d move the grain line to run equidistant through the middle of the centre front and centre back panels, instead of following the CF and CB edges. Why? because if they’re on the same grain as the side front and side back panels then all  the panels will fall or drape in the same way. This also doesn’t make a lot of difference to the amount of fabric the dress takes, in fact I found it didn’t affect the lay plan significantly at all. One other minor change I made was to lengthen the sleeves slightly as I’m not mad about my upper arms.

Sewing the dress up was very straightforward, even though the front style-lines look complex. I slightly altered the order and method of making up and inserting the lining purely because I wanted a more streamlined finish to the inside and I knew a different way of achieving this.

The skirt is a nice length and I’m pleased I moved the grain line for the centre front and backs because they have a nice flow to them. The pockets are a useful addition but you could easily leave them out if fabric or time is tight.

The one significant thing I changed was the width of the shoulders, they were quite a bit too wide for me and I don’t think I’m particularly narrow across the shoulder. They extended too far over the ends of my shoulders and didn’t look good. I discovered this a bit too late because I’d already put the sleeves in and they just looked all wrong. I unpicked the sleeve heads (not the whole sleeves) moved them by about 1.2cms  and restitched them back in. They are aren’t my neatest job as result but they’ll do.

Also, because the dress fully lined, there aren’t any neck facings to contend with.img_0109

I’m not sure how much I like the deep V back as well but that’s probably an age-related issue not a style one and I can easily raise it up when I make it again.

Overall I was pleased with the accuracy of the fit (shoulders aside)-it was true to the measurements I took, I was slightly between sizes.

I finished the hem by hand because I didn’t want the hem spoilt by being machine-sewn.

img_0382
Herringbone stitch on the hem.

 

img_0111
My finished Karri

Overall I like the Karri pattern and I’m sure it will be popular. It could be made up in a variety of fabrics from wool crepe or tweed to georgette for the more adventurous amongst you to make it totally individual-my version looks quite business-like but it would also look good in denim or a feminine printed cotton. The front shoulder sections and sleeves would look pretty in lace too. Have a look at Megan‘s own site for more inspirational ideas from other bloggers.

As always, all opinions expressed are my own and I’ve received no payment or sponsorship  for them. I’ll definitely be making another Karri at some point, possibly with a longer sleeve for winter, or sleeveless for the summer. I’d happily pattern-test again too, hopefully the timing would be better then, because I love any excuse to sew and it’s lovely to feel involved in the whole business of helping to create someone’s vision. I’ve had such a breadth of experience over the years that I really hope and believe I can assist and offer good advice (often based on my own mistakes!)

Happy Sewing

Sue xx