And coming in just under the wire, as usual of course, are the final two items in my Yellow Pants! Mini Wardrobe!
Let’s start with the Thurlow shorts:
I was cautiously excited about this pattern when it was released. I never thought I’d be someone who made pants (so many little pieces! so much to fit! easier to just buy!), but as I’ve built muscle from cycling and my shape has became even less typical than before, shopping for pants has gotten so frustrating that I decided I’d better just bite the bullet and make some pants that fit me. I used the Sewaholic pattern because I felt like pants patterns from the big pattern companies were designed with both everyone and no one in mind, like RTW pants, but Tasia has clearly thought about what she and other women like her might want in a pair of pants, and her fingerprints are all this pattern – in a good way. It somehow feels like a very friendly pattern, and a comforting way to jump into real pantsmaking. Funny, then, but also awesome, that style-wise they look and feel very RTW. With more practice I can see making a pair of these that look like I bought them in a store, inside and out. But yeah, with lots more practice, because these were not without their speedbumps.
First let’s talk fit. These shorts are like attack of the whisker crotch! I think there’s a few things going on here, but I’m not sure. All those pants-fitting guides with their oh-so-helpful “smile wrinkles” and “frown wrinkles” and whatnot are not really useful in diagnosing the delightful starburst of wrinkles that is happening here. I think, maybe, that one thing I’ll adjust when I make the pants version (cause hoo boy I’m making like three pairs of these this winter) is crotch depth. I love where they sit on my hips (literally the perfect rise for me, thanks Tasia!), but they feel very slightly short in the crotch. I took out the crotch seam a little and it helped, but I think I need to slash horizontally and lengthen the crotch depth just a 1/2 inch. But honestly, I’ve been checking out a lot of crotches lately (I mean, in clothes catalogs! Jeez, what do you take me for?), and all those models have wrinkle starbursts too. I just think we pants-fitters are overthinking it a little.
I do think, though, that the biggest cause of the wrinkle party is just the fabric. This is a poly woven of some kind I ordered forever ago from Fabric.com when I was still learning how to select fabric online. I think it was billed as a poplin, but it’s much too heavy for a blouse. It’s not quite heavy enough for shorts, though, I guess, and it seems to have a mind of it’s own, drape-wise. It was fine to work with (other than making that burning tire smell when ironed like all the finest poly fabrics), but it’s just a little too light to hide an inexact fit. It’s also thin enough that you can see the hem of my tucked in shirt in the back, so I’m glad I dedided to omit the back welt pockets (primarily because I was short on time), since the pocket bags would almost certainly have been visible.
Pattern-wise, I un-peared the shape a little by basically grading from a 10 waist to an 8 hip, but I think I should have just made a straight 10. I won’t say no to a little extra room in the hips, it might also help the wrinkle crotch situation. The curve of the 10 waistband fits really well, hooray! I also love the length of the cuffed shorts – it’s long enough to feel comfortable and not too casual, but short enough to still be cute and fun.
Any trouble I had with this pattern was totally my own fault. Yes, the instructions are concise, but they’re more than sufficient. The fly construction had me flummoxed when I just read through the instructions, but once I had the pieces in front of me and proceeded step by step, it made sense and became a real, working fly in no time! (I was so excited that I brought it in to show my husband: “Look, I made a fly!” His response: “Uh… cool?” Yes honey, very cool, to me anyway.) The real trouble arose when I decided to switch right and left fronts to get the fly access on the right, but I didn’t think about it when I fused the interfacing to the waistband, so I ended up with the front waistband extension on the wrong side. Because I was totally out of fabric, I had to make do, so I cut a bit off the longer waistband off and sewed it to the other waistband. Classy. You can see the extra seam on the back view – I was going to hide it with a belt loop, but I literally couldn’t turn the belt loop tube right side out after sewing it, this fabric has too much friction. If I’m ever serious about wanting to wear these with a tucked in shirt I may try the belt loops again, but I prefer untucked shirts anyhow. I fastened the waistband with just a hook rather than a hook and a button as instructed because I didn’t have enough of an extension to put a buttonhole on. Just the hook works fine.
So those are my first “real” pants, and they really weren’t as hard as I thought! There will definitely be more Thurlows of various lengths in my future…
Which brings me to my last piece, the Vogue 8747 blouse.
This is a fairly straightforward princess seam pattern, but I ended up sewing every seam twice because this sucker was too small! After I had stitched (and serged) all the princess and side seams and tried it on, I realised that it would never button. So I went back and sewed all the seams again (just from the bust down, the shoulders and bust fit fine) right along the serging (thank goodness I’m not a super close serger and there was about 2/8 inch of room on each seam) to take the whole blouse out about an inch. So much seam ripping! Thankfully this fabric is a tough cotton poplin that the stitches ripped out of easily and without a trace. I cut my usual Big-5 size of 10-top-12-bottom, but I guess I should have cut a 10 shoulders grading to a 14 or 16 in the waist! I’m clearly too used to sewing knits. I chose the A-cup pattern piece, and the bust fit is very good with no adjustment.
I didn’t like any of the sleeve options provided with the Vogue pattern, so I pulled out McCall’s 6035 and used the short banded sleeve from it. And although it was a perfect fit to the Vogue armscye, the sleeve band was also too small for me! I had to unpick it and let it out as much as I could, which was only about a 1/2 inch since I had already trimmed the seam allowance. It’s still a tad snug – if I use this sleeve again I’ll cut a 12 or 14 in the band.
I’m not sure I love this pattern – there are just a couple things about it that aren’t quite perfect. First, as one review I read pointed out, it has kind of a “squinty boob” look to it. The gathers are concentrated in such a small area, and are a little lower than might be most flattering. I also think the button bands and the band collar are just a smidge too wide. I think a narrower band would give a more RTW look. I don’t know that I’ll make this pattern again, but if I do I’d narrow the bands a little. But it’s a cute little blouse and I love the black and white dot print – it’s my favorite fun neutral!
So, finally, here’s a collage of all the outfits that can be made with the five items:
There you have it, five coordinating items made in less than a month. Whoo! It was fun to create a collection, as it were, but I’m glad that all of these things can be worn with other stuff too. It was also great to stretch a bit and get away from knit dresses (gah, bad pun alert!). Pants, a jacket, and a blouse were not as scary as I’d made them out to be, and I’m happy to say that I’ll likely be making more of all of them in the coming months. But don’t get me wrong, I’m still a knit dress girl at heart! So I think the next thing I make will be something random and spur of the moment and that doesn’t go with anything… just cause I can.
All of my pattern reviews for these items are linked from here, my composite review/contest entry. You can check out all the contest entries in the contest gallery, and if you’re the voting type, head on over starting on the 3rd and I’d love your consideration!