Autumnal Sewing

Back in July, I won a voucher from Ditto fabrics for my interpretation of these capri pants, which I made from an original vintage pattern. The competition was part of the Vintage Pledge (which lasts for the entire year, however in the month of July there was an entire month of prompts, challenges & competitions on Instagram). Whilst of course I was insanely tempted to rush straight over to Ditto to spend my voucher, I wanted to ensure I spent my winnings wisely. This year I have been trying my hardest to not ‘impulse buy’ fabric, instead opting to spend time thinking about what items I needed in my wardrobe, thereby leading me to make informed fabric choices.

So, a few weeks ago I decided to buy this beautiful 100% wool tweed, as I thought it would be perfect for a pencil skirt. Whilst I do not tend to wear pencil skirts often, during Autumn and Winter they seem the perfect option for when the wind speed increases. Circle or half circle skirts in breezy weather can sometimes cause outfit malfunctions, which of course I am eager to avoid.

I decided to draft the pencil skirt pattern from scratch, using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear as a guide. This meant that I could draft the pattern to my exact measurements, providing the perfect fit.

I utilised an invisible zipper, as they are currently my favourite method of fastening. I do love a lapped zipper, but I just feel invisible zips are so neat, resulting in an uninterrupted line. I also created a back vent, as of course I wanted to ensure a good amount of movement whist retaining a classic pencil skirt silhouette.

Whilst spending my voucher in Ditto, Kieren also found a beautiful pure wool, which has a lovely drape and handle. I have made a few pairs of trousers for Kieren, cut in the classic Oxford Bag style. Lately, he decided that a grey pair would be a versatile addition to his wardrobe, so I whipped-up this pair. When I say ‘whipped-up’, a more accurate description would be – laboured over for an excessive amount of hours. I spent extra care whilst making this pair, due to wanting to pattern match wherever possible, and the fact that we had purchased the last remaining yardage – which was only just enough to make-up the trousers. So; no room for mistakes!

The trousers have interior buttons to accommodate braces, a fly zip and side pockets. I pattern matched across the centre front, centre back, and the outside leg seams. Pattern matching is of course extra work, but the results are definitely worth it. I knew I would feel disappointed in myself if I didn’t pattern match, and the finished trousers look so lovely due to the extra time I invested.

To produce the pattern for the trousers, I used an existing pair of Kieren’s trousers as a guide. I then made 3 different toiles to check the fit, gradually adjusting the pattern each time to create what is now; an entirely new pattern template. As I do not own an overlocker (on my Christmas list!) I finished all the edges with bias binding. This of course added to the overall make time, and meant that I got through 300metres of thread. Yikes.

Both fabrics are truly lovely – good quality, nice handle, and would perhaps be difficult to find elsewhere. I have been a fan of Ditto fabrics ever since I moved to the South Coast, inspired by the selection of high quality fabrics on offer. Sewing has really made me pay attention to fabric content, both when looking to buy fabric, and when looking at ready-to-wear garments in shops. Ditto always carry high quality fabrics, many of which are made from natural fibres.

We took these pictures at Parham House, which actually had a Halloween themed event on the day that we visited. This was my first visit to Parham House, and it was fantastic! The house itself was filled with stunning portraits and artworks, spanning  from the sixteenth century. It also boasted an impressive collection of tapestries, and wonderful examples of seventeenth century needlework.

The gardens were expansive, and as we attended on a Halloween event day, there was also a bird of prey display to enjoy. I didn’t take too many pictures inside the house, as I had purchased a guide book which contained better quality and clearer pictures than I could produce myself. But I absolutely recommend a visit to Parham House – the amount of artwork alone took my breath away. The staff were also incredibly friendly, sharing knowledge of the history of the house and its contents.

Outfit Details

  • Pencil Skirt – Made by me, fabric from Ditto
  • Cardigan – H & M a few years ago. Altered by me to make the hem shorter, hitting my natural waist
  • Scarf – Charity Shop
  • Shoes – Donna Heels c/o Hotter
  • Kieren’s Trousers – Made by me, fabric from Ditto

As it is Halloween weekend, I decided to go with an appropriately fitting colour palette of orange and purple. I have never really marked or celebrated Halloween in any big way, but I know many people do, so – Happy Halloween!

Until next time dears!


19 thoughts on “Autumnal Sewing

  1. Sewing for Cat People says:

    Oh these are lovely! You both have such a classic style. Your attention to detail like the pattern matching is fantasic.

  2. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi SallyAnn,
    Thanks so much! I guess I started the blog in the first place as somewhere to document my sewing, and it’s nice to be able to look back through my various makes & projects (otherwise I may forget what I have made & when!)
    I think it helps blogging about sewing, as it helps me remember the making process, and also whether I would change anything about my techniques/process/or even the pattern for next time.
    Thanks so much for reading! xx

  3. Jenny Frances says:

    Thank you so much! Believe me, when Kieren picked up the fabric in Ditto and was saying ‘ooh, this would a lovely pair of trousers..’ I was looking at the pattern repeat thinking gaaaaah – pattern match hell! But it really wasn’t too bad, the worst part was just the amount of time it all took. If you are pattern matching though, I would definitely recommend cutting out each layer of fabric one at a time, NOT folding the fabric & cutting two layers. I had seen some sewers do the folded option, choosing to pin at each pattern intersection through both layers of fabric to ensure they matched. I started to do this, but it was taking aggggges – and honestly – for me it didn’t seem nearly as accurate as I had hoped. So I abandoned that method, and opted for the single layer method instead. The only thing with that is – you have to be really sure you have left yourself enough fabric to cut out all the pieces required. Anyway, sorry, I just ranted on a bit there! I just found you on Bloglovin, so I have followed you on there, looking forward to reading more of your posts!
    Jenny xx

  4. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Porcelina! I am just catching-up with blog admin, so apologies if you get two comment notifications from me today! Thank you so much, I’m glad that I finished both garments so we could wear them on the same day! The setting at Parham house was so perfect too, and we were both kept cosy in our pure wool fabrics! 🙂 xx

  5. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Karen,
    Thank you! I initially put on a different top when I got dressed that day, but then I thought – hey, lets go all out on a Halloween/autumnal theme! So I then decided to wear the orange & purple instead. I usually favour spring-like shades, so it’s nice to wear darker more pigmented shades for a change 🙂 xx

  6. Sewing for Cat People says:

    That’s good advice about the pattern matching, it’s something I’ve avoided! I really look forward to your posts, your style is so elegant.

  7. Christina says:

    Pencil skirts are always worth making, you can get the fit spot on and they do get a lot of wear as well because they really are so versatile. And Well done with the pattern matching on the trousers! Super annoying to do at the time, but you would be kicking yourself now if you hadn’t. And i bet Kieran is over the moon with them too!!

  8. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Christina, previously I hadn’t worn pencil skirts that often. But I love wearing them now! I think as long as they do not cling to the derriere too much, then I can feel comfortable and not self-conscious.
    Kieren is really pleased with his trousers, he has definitely worn them many times already! Yay! 🙂 xx

  9. Janey says:

    Drafted this from scratch!? WOW! That is a true talent and this skirt is just stunning! I love the fabric choice and the pairing with that pumpkin orange sweater is inspired!


  10. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Janey,
    As long as I have a calculator and a scrap of paper to write down all my figures & workings I can just about draft patterns! It does melt my brain sometimes though. Hoping you are well my lovely!

Share Your Thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.