I was so honored and thrilled when Michelle asked me to take part in the Style Maker Fabrics Fall blog tour. It’s an amazing group of sewists she has assembled and the fabric we had to choose from was equally inspiring. Living in LA, it’s generally warm here but in the fall nights become cool. Plus, I have the year round indoor AC to battle. With this in mind, I’ve been wanting to sew more separates that I can layer. I decided to make two new-to-me patterns, the Driftless Cardigan by Grainline Studio and the Nehalem Pants by Sew House Seven.
Let’s start by talking about these pants. The pattern is the recently released Nehalem Pants by Sew House Seven. The style is so unusual and yet I also very reminiscent of thai fisherman pants. They are built with LOTS of ease at the waist and the fabric is folded over in the front and held in place with a tie belt. These would be perfect for big eating days when you might need a little extra room. ;) I just finished these pants this week and I have not had the chance to road test them yet. I think if you’re worried about the tie holding them up, you could add a couple of sew-on snaps.
The fabric is a really beautiful tencel shirting with a nice drape. The lighter weight is nice because it doesn’t create extra bulk at the wrap front. But it also has no show through so I didn’t have to worry about lining. The classic chambray blue color just makes my heart go pitter pat. It’s an almost neutral that can go with pretty much any other color.
Michelle did a great job of recommending a fabric for this pattern. I probably wouldn't have chosen a shirting fabric but this is really the perfect fabric. When I was choosing my fabric, I told her the pattern I wanted to make and the color I wanted and she recommended a few that would work. It was so helpful! And I know I'm not the only one she helped, because Sara shared that she had the same experience in her post yesterday.
The fabric was really easy to sew and responded well to topstitching (the pattern calls for lots of topstitching). I used a matching light blue/grey thread but it could be fun to use a contrasting color too. Check out all of Style Maker's fabric in this category here. There are definitely a few more that I'm eyeing.
I made a size Medium which matched my measurements well (waist 28”, hips 39”). I did not change the length when cutting but did make a pretty small hem at the bottom. I think the length works well for me even though I’m 5’11”. If I were to make them again I would consider adding length to the crotch depth though. Maybe just an inch? I'm also wondering if a more defined crotch curve would be more flattering for the backside. I think the traditional fisherman's style does not have a lot of curve but it would be interesting to combine the wrap with a more standard crotch curve.
The instructions were really easy to follow and I kind of enjoyed the puzzle piece of the different shapes and the topstitching too (cooperative fabric always makes topstitching fun, doesn’t it?). I made waistband style #1 which is folded in half and stitched down so that the wrong side is not exposed.
Time will tell how much these pants get worn. There is something about an unusual style that makes me nervous sometimes. Oh to be braver!! Mostly I would hate someone to think that I’m wearing my pajamas. And believe me, they are so comfy they could pass for pjs. Here I’m wearing it with a short sleeve black Nettie bodysuit (unblogged). The slim fit of the bodysuit really shows off the waistline but any slim fitting shirt would work well.
Next up is the Driftless Cardigan by Grainline Studio. Cardigans have a constant place in my wardrobe. Most days, I carry one with me in case I get cold. I actually wear them more than I do a coat. The Driftless Cardigan has all the essentials for an everyday cardigan, on oversized fit and built in pockets. The fabric I chose for my cardigan is a super soft variegated sweater knit. It's a really dreamy fabric. I can't tell you enough how SOFT it is. And if you're in the mood to ogle some pretty fabrics (and who isn't, right?) check out more sweater knit fabrics here.
Before cutting into my fabric, I made a muslin using a stretchy knit fabric. I almost think my muslin fabric had too much stretch (it just seems a little weird for a sweater) but I’m really glad that I tested the pattern. I was able to test out the construction and find a couple places where I wanted to change the fit. The main thing was I thought the sleeves were too tight in the upper arm (I do not have large arms btw). For a cardigan, I like the sleeves to be a little loose so that I can layer things underneath without any lumps. It was easy to change the sleeve, I just added .5 inch to each side of the sleeve and moved the notches on the front and back body to match. I did not need to change the armscye at all.
I also added 4 inches to the length of the cardigan. I’m 5’11” and I like my cardigans to go past my bum. If you lengthen yours, don’t forget to also lengthen the neck binding. I forgot and had to recut it. oops! I love the fit of this cardigan. It is just perfect. I’ve worn it a ton of times already. The fabric is just so dreamy and soft. I love putting my hands in the pockets, because SOFT.
I really like the Driftless Cardigan pattern. It’s the exact garment that I need almost everyday of the year. I was surprised by a couple things in the pattern though. One, the seam allowance is only 1/4 inch, instead of the usual 3/8 inch for knit fabric. Second, there’s a lot of hand finishing for a knit garment. I am not a fan of hand finishing as I find it rather tedious. sigh. But this was fine. I just used a regular slip stitch (not a stretchy one, see my tutorial here) because the neck binding really doesn’t get pulled and stretched a lot.
For the thread chains to connect the pockets, I used the thread chain made by my serger. So much faster than making one by hand. Yay! When you serge the edge of the pocket seam allowance, just leave a chain coming off each end of the pockets. Then later use a needle to thread the chain through the hem seam and knot it. Above is a photo of my wearable muslin so you can see the chains.
I chose not to make buttonholes in either sweater. Partly because I’m really nervous about making a buttonhole in knit fabric but mostly because it doesn’t really need buttons. I will definitely be making the Driftless Cardigan again, preferably in a super soft fabric like this. I really love my new Fall outfit and I’m looking forward to the weather cooling (hopefully) soon! It was a shocking 90+ degrees the day I took these pictures. I was definitely sweating in the sun!
A big THANK YOU to Style Maker Fabrics for asking me to join their Fall Blog Tour and providing me with fabric. Make sure to check out all the other amazing bloggers on the tour (next up is Marcy aka Oonabaloona!) and the gorgeous fabrics Style Maker has for Fall. AND until Oct 3, Style Maker is offering discounted shipping (just $5 for US).