slouchwear – his and hers

A while back I made a bold announcement – slouchwear the name and comfort my game. I soon realised that the swift progress I hoped for was hampered by a severe skill deficit and until I faced my fear of knits, I would remain firmly in the structured stable.

I’m happy to say there has been some movement and I’m making tentative steps towards vanquishing my fear. A full range of slouchwear has yet to be realised but I’ve fashioned a his and hers which I’m happy to be seen in daylight at a distance:

‘His’ is my second attempt at the Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt.  I cut on a straight 12 and the only modification was to add thumbhole cuffs – again shamelessly copied from The Last Stitch. My first attempt came together relatively easily but boy did I struggle with the neckline on this one. Following the pattern’s neckband measurements produced gathers befitting of a clown. So I developed a close relationship with my seam ripper and detached and reattached it numerous times before I got a length which achieved a traction I could live with. I’m guessing different fabric compositions affect the length of your neckband? I’d love to hear from any of you who’ve learnt this the hard way?

‘Hers’ is my first foray into the world of Ottobre Design and I don’t mind saying I think I picked the cream of the crop with this New Boheme Jersey Tunic (Woman Autumn/Winter 5/2014). Tracing these patterns off is not a task for the faint hearted and I was eased out of my inertia by entering into a #patternpledge with Grace over at @beyond_measure_uk. We resolved to bring an Ottobre pattern to life by the end of March and encourage each other along the way.

It’s such a good idea to get involved with little projects like this and without the knowledge that we were in it together, I would have given up at the first hurdle. I’m not going to lie – tracing of this magnitude is meltdown inducing. But, it was sooo worth the effort – this is a pattern I know I’ll be making again and again.

I cut on a straight size 40 but added an extra 1cm seam allowance at the sides to accommodate my hips. Turns out this pattern has ample design ease for my pear shaped figure but I’m glad I erred on the side of caution as I did utilise the extra allowance from underarm to cuff. If you stay true to the pattern you may find the sleeves a little snug and as I have a propensity for layers, I’m glad I had that room to play with.

After tracing and cutting, construction is pretty straightforward and the only sticking point for me was the neck pleats. The pattern had me in a quandary and eventually I decided that the central markings were for an inverted box pleat. I used a long straight stitch on either side to secure it in place but when I googled other versions, I couldn’t see any top stitching. It’s like they’d all discovered the formula for creating this pleat which eluded me. If you know the secret, please please have pity on me – I need entry into the Magic Circle before my next iteration.

For the seams I dug out my walking foot and used a long straight stitch before finishing them on my serger – I’d need to undergo a serious course of counselling before overlocking from the get go.  Attaching some Steam to Seam Lite to the hemline and sleeves before stitching with a narrow zig zag (0.5 width, 3 length) worked a treat for me but I’d welcome other suggestions on fusible hemming tape for knits?

Like the Linden, I came unstuck again at the neckline. When adding the facing I stretched it disproportionately and the back lacks the tension I achieved at the front. As for the top stitching … I almost don’t want to draw your attention to it. I reduced the length of the narrow zig zag to a 2. 5 and now I’m wondering if a 3 would have made for a more subtle finish or whether to opt for a neckband next time.

Regardless of the flaws, I’ve faced my fears and for that I’m rightfully proud. This is a very wearable toile in an unremarkable fabric and hue which I’m itching to revisit in different textures, colours and patterns.

Slouchwear – it’s ON.

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13 thoughts on “slouchwear – his and hers

  1. Aimee re the front pleat, I am planning on folding the front in half and then stitching down the outside pleat line on the pattern. Then flattening out the fabric at the back evenly on each side, middle markings now at pleat edge, to make the box pleat. I would think then I would tack the pleated fabric in place along the neckline edge to keep it in position until I sew on the neckband. I’ll post some pics as I do it. I am so happy this has been a success for you so far, it’s really kept me going too.

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    1. Thank you for this Grace. I really appreciate your comments as it totally had me foxed! I think I will appreciate more fully what you mean when I have a few visuals but I’m confident if you know what you are doing I’ll get there too! I love this pattern so I’m really pleased we had a go at it at the same time 🙂 x

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  2. Oh I know what you mean about problems gauging the binding around the neck but I don’t see any flaws. You both look good in it and the striped jumper under yours is a great match. I like the wide neckline as well. I’m taking in a jumper I got from charity but doing it by hand as I have no confidence with knits on the sewing machine. Well done! x

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  3. You both look great – and so comfortable! You must have the patience of a saint to trace out those patterns. I can just about handle tracing off my own size from a fairly straightforward set of lines but I think I would run screaming from the more complicated ones! I really love the pockets and I think your pleats look good but if you’re anything like me you’re probably scrutinising them constantly! xx

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    1. Ahhh thank you Jane. That tracing was a bugger! If I hadn’t loved the pattern so much I really wouldnt have bothered. Glad I did though. And yes those pleats have been under constant surveillance. Thankfully I’ve been steered in the right direction for next time.xx

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      1. I’m trying to curb my tendency towards constant surveillance! I’ve done a lot of alterations recently to reduce the size of all my me-made clothes before embarking on any new sewing and am endeavouring to accept that the appearance of the insides of my skirts/dresses may not be up to the original standard after I’ve dismantled and re-assembled everything! xx

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      2. We are our own worst critics aren’t we! I’m trying to see it all as a useful learning process and not get too hung up on the elusive and unattainable goal of perfection. Well done on revisiting old makes – it’s so easy to get distracted with the new and shiny 🙂 X

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  4. What beautiful garments. That sweatshirt is fab and I love your tunic. I like the colour a lot. I am definitely getting the best of the bargain by being snail-like and I am overjoyed that I have until the ed of March to sew this up. One question on fabric – what weight of jersey did you use? Now that I have seen those pockets I think that mine might be too thin. It has a whole load of drape but is about t-shirt thickness. Do you think that it will look too droopy? Xx

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    1. You definitely made a good call there. I would have really benefited from learning from my own mistakes! Thank you for the lovely comments. I used a medium weight cotton spandex knit (220g/m2). I’m thinking to use something heavier next time – maybe a French Terry but that’s cos I’m a sucker for structure. It sounds like your fabric is similar to what I used here. Look forward to seeing how you and Grace get on x

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  5. gorgeous detailing in that tunic, love that curved seam and it looks gorgeous, great job on the sweatshirt also…..i tend to measure neckbands by just making it an inch and a half shorter than the neckline? but there are so many ways to do all things really.

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