Deer, Doe and Low: The Pavot Jacket

Please forgive me for what’s probably going to be a very self-depricating post. It starts with some bad feels, a bad haircut, and a recently finished coat that I don’t love at all.

I know, I know, I can hear you saying – “isn’t that the case with almost ALL of the things you’ve sewn recently?” and the answer is, yes. Somehow I’ve gotten myself into a sewing slump, where I’m making mistakes on a few levels – the fabric may not be right, the pattern doesn’t suit me, I try some fancy thing I’m not ready for, or/AND I rush through it, not taking the time to execute the techniques well enough.

As a person, I’m very impatient. I talk fast and expect others to talk fast. I don’t like waiting. And in my sewing, it means I want to wear the item NOW, which has often lead to taking shortcuts (I have many a dress that never received a hem, because I wanted to wear it before it was fully finished and I hate hemming). But recently I’ve come to ask myself: if I’m just rushing through to the finish line, what’s even the point? If the garment fits like RTW and the finishing is worse, why don’t I just buy all my clothes? (I did answer this question when I walked into a shop last week and promptly had to walk out again, because the biggest size they sold was 14. DAMNIT I wanted some high waisted jeans!)

Mr. Guy and I have just done a big move – two days of driving (with a very well behaved cat and dog in the car) has lead us to Rawene, a small town (population 538 – now 540) where I’ll be doing a rural GP run for the next three months. Mr. Guy will be a “kept man”, puppy daddy (yes, we just got a new puppy :D), and do casual electrical work. I’m hoping to take this time to really slow down my sewing, and enjoy each step rather than dreading it (“oh, cutting out/basting/trying on/buttonholes/hemming is my least favourite bit of sewing” – sound familiar?). Plus I’m hours away from any fabric or notions shop (I’ll be using the Made on Marion mail service) so I can’t be crow-like, getting distracted by all sorts of pretty new things.

So – for the jacket (and the haircut. Ugh it is terrible – it’s like a bowl cut on the top and longer flicky bits at the bottom. DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN’T SEE IT/IT’S NOT THAT BAD)


I was pretty keen on the design of this coat when I first saw it, thinking it my ideal style for a coat, with the peter pan collar, a-line skirt and length. And I still do like the design, just not this version of it. It took me ages to find a fabric suitable for it (and actually I think this fabric is a bit too stiff). I stupidly didn’t make a muslin because I knew it would be big enough (are warning bells starting to clang yet) – however, it ended up quite a lot too big.




I know that coats should be a bit big/not form fitting, because they’re often worn over jumpers. However I think, given the general shape of the coat, that the size is unflattering as the waist should really nip in, and there shouldn’t be large caverns in front of my bosom.


I thought I would be a fancy lady and make bound button holes. My sample worked beautifully but unfortunately the interfaced fabric was REALLY stiff, and the button placket actually wasn’t big enough to accommodate them well. Then I got fed up and grumpy and just did machine buttonholes on the facing, which are ugly and don’t line up (the bottom two buttons can’t even do up). I did take the time to bind every seam so the insides look pretty cool!


As you can see in all the photos, I’m not so happy. I think this is the item that made me really think about what I’m doing, and realise that I DO love making my own clothes, and I’m most happy when the items are unique and very well made. So I need to force myself to slow down and take the time to make beautiful clothes that are better than RTW, at least for me.

This coat didn’t even get one wear – I only finished it so I could get it out of my sight (I gave it to Tough Chick but I don’t even think she really wanted it). I actually bought some emerald green wool felt last weekend to make another coat – this one I will muslin, and will likely base off this pattern but use patterns I know fit me well. I want it to be better than the beautiful locally made $400 coats at a local shop (Duncan McLean).


Gah, I hope you all still want to read my blog after all the crappy feels I’ve been putting out there. Does it help to provide a cute photo of our new puppy, Jessie?


This photo is from when we first got her at (8 weeks old, weighing in a 5.4kg). Only two weeks later and she’s already >8kg!


Papercut Patterns: Rigel Bomber

Sometimes a sewing pattern is love at first sight; other times it takes a while for the idea to rattle around in your head before you decide that it’s a good fit. That’s how it was for the Rigel Bomber; when Papercut Patterns Constellation collection came out, I wasn’t too excited about any of the patterns, thinking they weren’t my style. It only took Cirque-de-Bebe’s version, however, for me to realise that I had to at least give it a go.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/p1060109.jpg

It took me even longer to find the fabric. After spending over 2 hours stroking fabrics at two different shops, I decided on a deep purple, drapey rayon with splotchy black spots. After being pre-washed it languished in my stash for a while before I realised that I just couldn’t imagine making it up in that fabric – instead, I purchased this navy fleece-backed sweatshirting (a burn test suggests it’s a polycotton of some kind). The pattern itself suggests a medium weight woven fabric, but I was sure it would work in a knit (and one of the model versions looks like a knit to me).


The fabric choice means it’s really warm and cuddly.

The pattern itself is excellent. It’s an unlined bomber jacket with raglan sleeves and welt pockets. The drafting is really well done, with the perfect amount of notches, and allows for a tidy finish. This was the first time I’ve done welt pockets and (after two trials) I think they ended up completely passable (though I wouldn’t recommend fleece for your first ever welt pockets!!).

A word about Papercut’s sizing – I had it in my head that their sizes run small but that’s not true at all! I did this in a size large (I think, I traced it a few weeks ago) and it’s a touch too big. I’m currently tracing of the La Sylphide and I’m a mix of small-medium! Plus, the Constellation patterns go up to a size XL now (112, 92, 118)!


Yeah they’re still not perfect, but I’m going to blame the fabric if that’s okay with you all?

Next time I make this (I will be making another, fo’ sure) I’ll use a woven fabric and line it, like most of the other versions I’ve seen – the pocket bags aren’t the prettiest (so I’d suggest tidying them/overlocking them before sewing them on) but this fleece wants to sit against the skin. If you’re not lining the jacket I would recommend sewing the pockets into the binding at the bottom – I can’t see it mentioned in the instructions (unless I missed that bit) but they line up exactly with the base of the shell fabric so I’m guessing you’re supposed to do that. Otherwise they kind of flat about when your hands are in them.


I must admit I’m quite proud of my patience with this one, really taking my time with the welt pockets. I actually used a fabric marker to draw on the stitching lines (on both sides), so I knew that the first pocket I sewed didn’t line up. I then decided to baste the pocket pieces down then sew from the wrong side where I had the lines still visible – this kind of thing proves that sometimes, the “slower” method actually works better/faster.

P1060091 P1060098P1060102

 As mentioned, they still aren’t perfect but I’m happy with them, considering the fleece didn’t want to press.

Next time I may also shorten it – yeah I’m tall but I think this would work better if it sat at my waist rather than over my hips. I’d also look at raising the neck at the front as it’s quite a lot lower than I expected and looks a bit odd over dresses with higher necks. The sleeves are a touch too short (so when lifting my arms they’re just above my wrists) so I’ll lengthen the sleeves by 1-2″.


All in all this is a very cool (warm) jumper/jacket/hoodless hoodie/bomber. In the fleece it’s a bit oversized so is sort of “boyfriends jacket” (and Mr. Guy would probably pinch it if it wasn’t too small for him), and I’m currently on the look out for some embroidery or a patch to pop on the breast. I’m definitely going to make another in a woven fabric (maybe a nice wool like this version).



Pattern: Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns $30, highly recommended

Fabric: Navy fleece-backed sweatshirting (poly-cotton), 1.4m $14 (I could have got away with 1.1m), black binding $4

Notions: Black knit interfacing, $2, thread $3.80 (+overlocker thread, stash), zip $4

Total: $27.80


Have you guys made anything from Papercut yet? They may seem a bit pricey, but for me they’re totally worth it (especially as you don’t pay any extra for shipping). Plus I understand how everything costs more in NZ (her printing costs are probably quite a bit). I have fabric for two La Sylphide’s once I trace and muslin it, and I may consider the Milano cape once it gets colder again. And maybe a circle top (my mum might like that one). And another Watson ape (sleeveless).


PS In other news, the new Wellington (NZ) campaign The Clothes Calling Card (video from One News, facebook page here) is an awesome new initiative letting shops know how much money they’re missing out on by not stocking larger sized clothes. This is a DARNED good idea, and I have been frustrated so many times when I realised a shop only went up to a size 14 (my bum is not a size 14).


Papercut’s Watson Jacket; a difficult beginning, but a lasting friendship

I can’t remember when I first saw this pattern, but I do know I fell in love with it instantly. Papercut is designed in Richmond, only half an hours drive from my home town of Nelson. Most of her pattern’s are not quite my kind of thing (designed for waifs, or at least styled that way) and are a tad expensive for indie patterns (priced, I think, for the international market? Or because it’s expensive to create/live in NZ). It took me a while to get around to actually buying it and buying the fabric – and then tracing all 15 pieces – and then a bit longer to build the courage to start making it.


It’s classed as an “expert” level, which I’m not sure I agree with – I’m no expert, and I found it fine EXCEPT for two places. Firstly, there was an issue with the notches not being plentiful enough, and some in the wrong place (although this may partly be due to my tracing). Then, the instructions. I had a full blown tnatrum when making this jacket – I’m going to leave the bulk of explanations for another post where I explain what to do so you don’t spend an hour wailing to your husband and sister in law; but know that there was tears, and uncalled-for yelling at my husband. This post will just be about the jacket.


And, what a jacket.


It’s made from a 100% wool from The Fabric Store, which I bought under pressure (the last day I could go to their 50% off sale) and I hated as soon as I left the store. I think Mrs. C hears me complaining about stuff a lot more than I would like, and she heard me lamenting straight after. Woe is me. But once made up, it’s actually rather nice – think school blazer texture. And the colour is a lovely… raspberry red colour, maybe? Not BRIGHT bright red, but red.


It’s lined from 100% silk lining, also from The Fabric Store. It was weird, but good to work with – very stringy, and because I used my rotary cutter (for the first real time) the strings got stuck in my self-healing mat.


The only fitting I did was take some room out of each side seam – but I think I took out too much, forgetting that it was a coat and so shouldn’t be fitted. Next time I’ll put some of that back in and would probably have the buttons as decoration only – as you can see it pulls a bit over the bust even though there’s definitely enough room in there.


I’ve worn this twice in public (not counting walking to work) and got several comments on it each time, woot! It is rather stunning, and an awesome unusual design. The capelet is rad.


The design of the pattern is really good, and other than a couple of issues that I’ll detail in another post, well drafted. It has two collar pieces, one slightly smaller than the other so the undercollar rolls under; the back lining has pleats instead of darts so it has more room to move; it has a hem facing; and it has a bum flap which is flattering and comfortable!


The wool is a lot drapier than the lining, so it bags a bit. I’ve been advised that this is one of those “noone will know, ignore it but improve next time” elements, and I should have made an overlay at the bottom before topstitching (so the shell fabric rolls under by 1cm or so)



Pattern: Watson Jacket by Papercut Patterns, $39.95 from The Fabric Store ($35 from her website with free shipping)

Fabric: Red wool, $16/m (originally $32 with 50% off), 2.8m = $44.80

Silk lining, $6/m, 1.7m = $10.20

Notions: Interfacing, $12/m = $12. Thread 2x $3.8 = $7.60. Buttons, self-covered, 2x $5.90 for 3 = $11.80

Total = $126.30

Yikes! Here’s when it’s good to add up all the costs, not just the shell fabric which I would have done. I never would have started out being happy to pay that much for a coat – but I think it’s worth it. The cheapest RTW coats you could get would be >$100, and they wont be wool and silk!!



Self-less sewing

Thank goodness for Thread Theory. Finally, an indie company that makes classy, well drafted patterns for men. It’s especially good for those men who are in to a more traditional/RTW wear look – as much as I love the shirts Mrs C makes for her husband and Malepatternbaldness makes himself, my husband would not go for them. I made him the Newcastle Cardigan in August, and had planned on making August a month to sew for my husband, but it didn’t work very well. I had planned to make him several pairs of undies from Jalie 3242 (isn’t the styling amazing) but didn’t have the fabric until last weekend, and so August ended up being (like most months) dedicated to completely selfish sewing.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/p1040475.jpg

Since I started sewing I have pretty much only ever made clothes for me (plus one outfit for my niece which I think was worn once D: and my sister-in-laws bridesmaid dress ). I just don’t find it particularly rewarding – all that hard work for someone ELSE to wear it? Plus I always get a lot more concerned about the construction, which can be stressful. I have some lovely merino-lycra waiting to become a pair of leggings for my mum and I’m too scared that I’ll f*** it up, that I haven’t cut in to it.

But, sewing for my husband is surely like sewing for ones children – what they wear reflects on you (sort of. That sounds very old-fashioned). So far I’ve made him three t-shirts, all disappointingly not-quite-right in some way or another.


The pattern is Thread Theory’s Newcastle Cardigan in a black textured merino-lycra-spandex blend from The Fabric Store. It was $8/m and I got 2m – which ended up being way too much, perhaps again because their bolts are so wide (ONE of the reasons why I love The Fabric Store and Fabric Warehouse). This means that I get to make myself a matching cardigan, woohoo!

The pattern (once assembled from about 33 different pages) was lovely to use – well drafted, and the instructions were a breeze. I cut and sewed up the bulk of it in 2-3 hours, then the finishing took me another couple of hours. Up until the point where I realised I had no buttons, so had to wait until the next day to buy some. It’s sewn mostly with my overlocker, with a double needle on my regular machine for the hems. After this experience I HIGHLY recommend Thread Theory’s patterns!! I am also wanting to make the Jedediah trousers, once I get some suitable fabric – he needs some more black pants and I’d like a lighter tan colour too.


I love this jumper, and I think I’ve made it really well. One issue with the fit is that Guy has rather broad back/shoulders, so when it’s unbuttoned it swings back a bit (the balance is off, Thanks British sewing bee), so I’ll have to figure that out if I make it again – Mrs. C is going to make one with leather accents on the shoulders, and I’m going to copy her. Also note to self – do not use white interfacing with black fabric. Even if it’s the only thing you’ve got and you really want to get on with it, you will regret it. It doesn’t show through, but when the jumper is open the facing sometimes swings around and you can see the white.
Silly man didn’t come and check the button placement like I asked him, before I made the button holes – and consequently he doesn’t like them. I think 5 buttons is definitely the right number, as the pattern suggested – but there weren’t any suitable buttons big enough at Made on Marion and Mrs. C’s husband convinced me against plain black (Guy’s lucky he didn’t end up with floral, or some absolutely gorgeous pegasus pewter buttons – but that’s probably more because they were $7.50 each and I only had $9).



Pattern: Thread Theory’s Newcastle Cardigan, $8.50 CAD = $10 NZD

Fabric: Merino blend of some sort, Global Fabrics, $8/m = $16

Notions: Interfacing ~$5, buttons $12.60 (Made Marion), Thread (stash) = $17.60

Total = $43.60

including the pattern, which I will make again, and enough fabric spare to make myself a cardigan.


Almost forgot my FAVOURITE bit, the tag:     http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/p1040478.jpg