Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Winter wardrobe staples

Still trying to document my backlog of projects here so bear with me as I post some wintery clothes.  I'd rather do this before spring properly rolls around (soon hopefully?!) so I'm doing a two-in-one post here.  The skirt is really rather special as the fabric holds a lot of sentimental value for me as it belonged to my mum.  It works so well with this new plantain tee that it makes sense to write about then together.

Colette Meringue skirt in blue cashmere and Deer & Doe plantain tee in golden yellow cotton jersey

Details - Pattern: Colette Meringue Skirt

Size: I cut a size 6, this is given as a 29.5” waist & 41” hip which meant no alterations for me. However the waist doesn’t sit at the natural waist, it sits lower. Looking at the pattern this is the way it is designed to sit so it’s just something to keep in mind when picking a size.

Fabric & notions:  Beautiful dark blue speckled cashmere made in Scotland. This fabric belonged to my mum and was in her stash since the early 80s so it is at least 25 years old, possibly older. Only one small moth hole in it which thankfully doesn't show! I washed it in the machine on the wool setting and it came out fine. the lining fabric is a pink polyester I got in a fabric swap at a sewing meet-up. Faux leather for the waist binding.

Were the instructions clear? I didn't use the instructions as it's a pretty simple construction. However I did refer to the instructions for lining a skirt from my Great British Sewing Bee 'Fashion with Fabric' book. This is now one of my go-to places for guidelines on sewing techniques. I also used the technique given in this book for finishing the waist with faux leather binding. Whenever I’m doing an invisible zip now I tack the zip in place by hand on each side before sewing. This has really improved how neat my zips are. Then I just machine sew with the standard machine foot.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made/changes I would make next time: Most obviously I removed the scallops.  I also added pockets (I have made this pattern up before with pockets, the tutorial for the pockets was online but I can't find the link now). I used a lovely Cotton & Steel cat print cotton for the pocket lining. This time I also added a full skirt lining.

pocket detail

pocket lining fabric

pink lining & selvage on hem (had to keep that -'Cashmere Made in Scotland')

Total cost: I've had the pattern for years so I'm not counting it as a cost, likewise the fabric and lining were free so the only cost was a navy invisible zip and the faux leather binding so probably about £5?

Conclusion: This is a great basic pattern and works well for me as I don’t have to make any alterations. The first time I made this skirt, without the lining, I hadn’t been sewing that long, so I’d say it’s a great skirt for a beginners project.

Details - Pattern: Deer & Doe Plantain tee

Size: I've made this lots of times & my pattern pieces were cut at a size 38 at the bust grading out to a 40 at the waist and 42 at the hips but on this version I tapered it in again a bit at the waist and hips. I might also have reduced the scoop neck a bit when I first traced this out but it was so long ago I can’t remember.

Fabric & notions:
Mustard/golden yellow cotton jersey which I got from a fabric swap at a sewing meet-up in Glasgow.  It's a gorgeous tone of yellow and a good quality cotton jersey.

Were the instructions clear?: Yes. I don’t tend to use the instructions now as I’ve made this, and other t-shirt patterns, so often now. But I remember as a beginner finding these instructions really clear. However I do find the 5/8” seam allowance to be quite large for sewing with knits. I just sew with my regular machine, one line of straight stitches with a line of small zigzag right beside it. I didn’t bother finishing the seams on this.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made/changes I would make next time:
I've never used the elbow patch pattern piece but asides from that the only changes I've made to this version were to bring it in a bit towards the waist as I said in the size section above.  This is such a great basic tshirt pattern. I particularly like the low scoop neck.

Total cost:  The pattern is free, the fabric came from a fabric swap. I think I had to buy the thread so say £2?

Conclusion: A great basic tshirt pattern that is also suitable for various adaptations (it makes a great tshirt dress!)

I have had so much wear out of both these items since I made them in December and can't believe it took me over a year to actually sew them up as I had the fabric for both cut out for about a year before I got round to sewing them!  So is everyone else desperate to start on some summer sewing too?! and who's signing up for Me Made May this year?  I'm going to do it again.  I doubt I'll get many photos taken but I still enjoy the challenge and find it useful in planning what to sew.


  1. They're both lovely - and they make a great outfit!

    1. Thank you Shivani! I must admit though I've retired the skirt until the Autumn though - I just can't face wearing my winter clothes anymore!

  2. For a minute I thought- oh Kathryn sewed a skirt that isn't pink! And then I saw the lining. I love how you are so unafraid to wear and sew pink things. Beautiful skirt and top, and lovely color combo.

    1. haha I hadn't even though of that. Oh dear I can't seem to step away from the pink!

  3. These are both lovely. You’ve really done your mum’s fabric justice. Th skirt is beautiful (and I think I also have that same pink lining!). Love the colour of your Tshirt. I’d like to find something similar. Thanks for your comment on my last blog post - I just need to remember that basics don’t need to be black or grey. I really need more colour!

    1. Thanks Helen. Oh yes there was quite a lot of that fabric at the swap. Beware though it melts under heat - yep, I burnt a hole in my lining, luckily no-one else can see it but me! It's funny how basics can sometimes not be what you expect, this yellow top goes with so many colours and I'm thinking I could use some more fabric in this colour for spring.