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Pattern Review: Hampton Jean Jacket in natural denim

Pattern Review: Hampton Jean Jacket in natural denim

It might be Summer, but denim jackets are a year-round option, right? We sink our teeth into the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern, made from our natural cotton heavy twill.
December 07, 2021 by Fiona Dalton
Pattern Review: Merchant & Mills Harlene Dungarees in Double Indigo Denim

Pattern Review: Merchant & Mills Harlene Dungarees in Double Indigo Denim

Jane offers up her thoughts and tips on sewing a classic pair of overalls: the fab Merchant & Mills Harlene Dungarees in Japanese Double Indigo Selvedge Denim.
October 21, 2021 by Jane Goldney
Pattern review: Juno Jacket by Papercut in Double Indigo Selvedge Denim

Pattern review: Juno Jacket by Papercut in Double Indigo Selvedge Denim

Papercut Patterns of New Zealand recently released a new collection of patterns, and we loved the look of the Juno Jacket immediately. 

Image credit: Papercut Patterns

Fiona and I both independently had the thought of making it up in our new Double Indigo Japanese Selvedge Denim. Great minds, right? The one I have made is definitely a shop sample though. (Truly. It's in the shop right now... unlike my Merchant & Mills Mary White top from the previous post, which has 'somehow' ended up in high rotation in my wardrobe, ahem.)

When using a selvedge denim I like to make a feature of the selvedge, and the front bands and belt on the Juno were perfect opportunities. The pattern layouts supplied look very efficient, but I had to go my own way to incorporate the selvedge, and played a lot of pattern tetris, cutting in a single layer and tracing in chalk (which is quite satisfying on dark, smooth denim).

I subtracted the 1cm seam allowance from the neckband and belt pieces on the selvedge sides. The neckband pieces, though they end up curved, are cut perfectly straight. Attaching them to the slightly curved neck edge gives a nice bit of body-hugging dimension to the front of the jacket.

Given the relative heft and stability of my fabric, I did not interface anything. If your fabric is more supple you'll probably want to interface where specified, for structure.

The jacket is unlined, so I did my favourite finishing touch for unlined jackets, which is to bind all raw seams with bias tape made from Liberty Tana Lawn. I measured how much I was able to make from half a metre of Liberty: 11 metres of bias cut at 1.5" wide, and that was not using the triangles left over from each end. I like to save them to make bandannas for my dog, heheh. This was plenty to bind all the seams on the Juno, with a metre or two left over.

If you would like to bind the seams, here's a guide to what to do when (or skip this bit - jump to ***):

Before construction, bind: Outer curved edge of Back Neck Facing, Sleeve hems, Back Bodice hem, upper edge of Pockets.

Choose whether to bind Front and Back Bodice shoulders separately now, or together after sewing shoulder seams (read on for more info).

After attaching sleeves, bind Sleeve/armscye seam allowances together.

Now bind Sleeve and side Bodice seams in four continuous lines (left front and back, right front and back), before sewing the side/sleeve seams to complete jacket construction.

If you choose to bind the Bodice shoulder seams together after joining, and press towards the back, you'll achieve the smoothest finish in relation to the back neck facing application. Depending on your fabric, you may find this too bulky at the shoulder/sleeve join. I bound the shoulder seams separately before construction, so inside they are pressed together under the neck facing, then opened out towards the sleeve. This is not completely ideal along the shoulder seam, but with a lot of steamy pressing, it's behaving itself just fine. A similar opening-out is necessary at the bottom of the side seams, to facilitate the construction of both the back hem which encloses the front bodice pieces, and the openings in the side seams for the belt. I think these are the kind of quirk that is a bit bothersome during construction but then you never think of them again while wearing.


I cut and sewed the Juno from raw, unwashed denim. Here it is in unwashed state:

This was partly because I cut it out on impulse during a quiet day in the shop, and partly because I wanted to start the beautiful ageing process of this denim on the finished garment, so it would begin to fade on the jacket's shape. I won't be in a hurry to sew unwashed denim again because it's a bit like wrangling cardboard, TBH. All the pieces matched pretty much to the millimetre though, in their cardboardy state. (Oh yeah, except for the back neck facing, which seems to have about the equivalent of an extra seam allowance added at the top:

- no big deal, I just snipped it off, and I am open to the possibility that I made a mistake in application). 

I am pleased with the once-washed jacket:

I made a Size 5 as per my measurements in the new Papercut 1-8 sizing (hurrah for neutral sounding size names!). I find the fit just right. It's a loose-fitting jacket but I'm not swimming in it.

I'm wearing the jacket with my Papercut Palisade Pants, which were the inspiration for the awesome pockets on the Juno Jacket. Wear them together and you have eight pocket compartments to lose things in!


PATTERN: Juno Jacket by Papercut

FABRIC: Double Indigo Japanese Selvedge Denim, 100% cotton, 10oz 2.6m

SIZE: 5, no alterations

COMMENTS: A fairly straightforward pattern, enjoyable to sew and wear. Nicely shaped, with awesome pockets. In the long term it's possible the long, loose belt might be a bit annoying, but it could easily be shortened, or sewn into the side seams, at a later date. As designed, threading through slots in the side seams and going across the back on the inside is a "nice, different, unusual" feature, and worth living with for a while at least! A versatile style that could be made in many fabrics from a flowy linen to a thick wool to suit different seasons and occasions. You'll probably want to make more than one.

- Jane xx

March 22, 2021 by Jane Goldney
Pattern Fantastiqué Sleeveless Celestial Dress in Summerweight Denim

Pattern Fantastiqué Sleeveless Celestial Dress in Summerweight Denim

Over Summer, my much loved light-weight denim Aeolian dress met its sad, untimely end after a run in with a dropped bottle of black nail polish. It was replaced with a denim version of another Pattern Fantastique ‘classic’, the Celestial Dress. Made in the midi length, I enjoyed months of swishing around in it until the weather turned... so I promised myself that as soon as a suitable denim arrived in store, I’d make a sleeveless pinafore version of the same as its Winter alter-ego. 
Fast forward a few months and a fresh delivery of our beautiful Japanese denims, produced in the well-regarded denim manufacturing prefecture, Okayama. Among them Summerweight indigo denim. Winter swishing was on! This fabric feels a little stiff straight off the bolt, but starts to soften impressively after the first wash. It has turned out to be the perfect weight and drape for this generously skirted dress. 
The Celestial pattern has been kicking around for years, so I'll keep it brief. This is a multi-sized pattern from sizes 6 to 16, equivalent to bust measurement (the most important one for fitting this trapeze-style) 81 to 106cm. My measurements put me close to the top of the existing size spectrum, but the sizing/fit is spot on, especially for this version where I wanted some extra ease for layering. The only shame about this lovely pattern is that the largest size is a 16 - it would be great to see an expansion of the size range on offer.
To make the sleeveless version, you need to download the free pinafore ‘hack’ file from Pattern Fantastique here. This complements the printed pattern by replacing the sleeves with an underarm facing. You then cut double one of the yoke pieces and forego some of the others. There’s a bit of two-and-fro required between the printed pattern and ‘hack’ instructions, particularly while figuring out what is needed for each version. This is a good pattern for someone with some garment sewing experience behind them, or someone who would like to learn some new techniques like the burrito method, which is used to sew the enclosed seams on the yoke.
This midi length pinafore was cut from 2m of the 150 wide denim. You could also *just* squeeze the width of the skirt pieces on a 110cm wide fabric (but allow for more meterage to cover the yoke pieces, too!) For anyone interested, I squeezed the sleeved midi version out of 2.1m of 140cm wide non directional fabric rather than the recommended 2.8m.
Pocket love
My favourite feature of this dress is the roomy pockets. These are top-stitched to the front skirt to prevent any annoying pocket flapping, and conveniently provide some nice subtle stitching detail. I also love the length. This is sewn straight from the packet and is a proper mid-calf length on me, at 167cm/5’5” tall.
One more thing
It’s a personal preference, but I won't be wearing this without a shirt underneath unless with a strapless bra, as the neat 90 degree angle where the yoke attaches to the pinafore cuts right in at the front. But for layering, this is *exactly* what I had hoped for. I have worn it an almost embarrassing amount of times already in the month since I finished it. Already planing another for when this one is in the wash! Perhaps using one of our textured twills, or it would also work nicely in one of our new Japanese Fine Wale Corduroys.
xx Fiona
August 05, 2020 by Jane Goldney
Project: Vintage Vogue 9057 Jacket in Japanese Over-printed Twill

Project: Vintage Vogue 9057 Jacket in Japanese Over-printed Twill

So, things are pretty weird right now, but I need to structure my day and writing a blog post seems achievable right now. Onwards!

Some months ago I decided there was a hole in my wardrobe for second 'denim jacket' type garment. I made the Republique Du Chiffon 'Jacqueline' a while back and I've worn it a lot. (Great pattern - never blogged it sorry.)

Its only drawback is that it's fairly cropped and has quite fitted sleeves, so it doesn't fit well over loose tops. I began hunting for a pattern - preferably raglan sleeved - that would accommodate more sleevage.

Online I fell in love with a vintage pattern - Vogue 9057 from 1957. I soon had a copy winging its way to me from the USA. It was at least a couple of sizes too small for me but I was happy to take my time over this and grade it up.

My first step was to trace all the delicate pattern pieces so that the original stayed intact. Then I made a rough muslin without any alterations to check the sizing. To my surprise it was more generous than I expected, and a friend explained that vintage jacket and coat patterns were often drafted quite large to accommodate layers of clothing underneath.

I did need a bit more room though, and widened both back and front bodice. I also lengthened through the bodice and upper sleeve to deepen the armscye, for extra layering room. I consequently had to alter the front facing and collar pieces to match. I widened at the side seams around the hip, and also shaped in a bit through the centre back seam to remove some fabric pooling.

front bodice
back bodice

sleeve back & front
I took quite a lot out at the shoulder curve - a combination of my narrow shoulders and not wanting to add shoulder padding which may have been the vintage style.

A second muslin confirmed a pretty good fit - I just needed to move the bust darts a little towards the centre.

The fabric I chose is a denim-like Japanese twill, which is yarn-dyed in a kind of tea colour and then printed on the face side in a lovely faded-jeans type blue. It's 100% cotton, and a bit lighter and softer than traditional denim. It was very nice to work with and I think it complements the vintage jacket style.

I chose to make the jacket unlined, with seams bound in Liberty bias tape I made.

There were a couple of tricky points in the construction. Firstly, curved welt pockets. Yikes. Obviously it would have been a really good idea to do a test version on some spare fabric first but after two muslins, I just wanted to get on with it. Haha. For a start, the method was the kind where the welt's short ends are attached with hand-stitches on the outside of the jacket. I find this quite flimsy, given how much I tend to use pockets. (It might make more sense in a much thicker or fluffier fabric, perhaps.) The second issue was a mistake in the instructions. For some reason I feel like vintage pattern instructions should be infallible! The upper and lower pocket lining pieces are put in the reverse positions, which I didn't work out until I'd sewn them in, cut the welt and so forth. Anyhow, I carefully unpicked, soldiered on and figured out how to make the welts with sewn-in corners and the innards in the right positions. By making the welts a little longer, I was able to cover over my first attempt.

At the time I was all excited about working it out and thought I might put up a little tutorial but my brain isn't quite up for it right now. Anyhow, they're not perfect but I have two functional and quite pretty curved welt pockets!

The other part of construction that had me quite frustrated was the collar insertion. I remembered after a while that I'd had similar issues with a Pauline Alice jacket I made a few years ago. Instead of the collar being sewn separately then inserted like a shirt collar, one half is sewn to the body, one half to the facings then all sewn together in a continuous line, pivoting at the collar, and then turned right way out. This means a large amount of clipping where the rounded ends of the collar come down to meet the bodice, in order to try to get this junction to turn through cleanly. I can't imagine how it would work in a bulkier fabric! In the end I had to reduce the curve of the collar a little to decrease the severity of the angle of the join, and then clipped and clipped and clipped and bathed the inside of the corner in Fray Stopper in the hope that all that clipping didn't just result in the area falling apart! If I make this pattern again, I'll draft a small facing for where the collar meets the bodice back, so the collar can be constructed in full and then nicely sandwiched between facings all the way.

There was quite a lot of hand finishing on this jacket, with part of the collar and all facings stitched down by hand. I was in the zone for this and found it quite a pleasure.

I realised when I got to the button stage that the pattern showed bound buttonholes. There are some minor instructions at the end referring to incorporating these with the facings, but no actual instructions about making bound buttonholes. Too late... so I was lucky that my vintage Singer buttonholer did a beautiful job on some keyhole thread ones.

And I had some perfect chunky vintage buttons in my stash.

Look at the pretty insides!

I love my new jacket and it's already had plenty of wear. It's easy to throw in my bike basket, over my arm, in the car and over the back of a chair. It's that simple extra layer that goes on over (and goes with) just about anything. I'm really happy that I spent plenty of time on the fit, and I think there's a good chance I'll use this pattern again.

Thanks for reading, I hope it was a pleasant diversion!

- Jane xx
March 26, 2020 by Jane Goldney
Tags: denim Jacket
Pattern Review: Darlow Pants by In The Folds

Pattern Review: Darlow Pants by In The Folds

One thing that continues to frustrate me is that no matter how I refine the fit, elastic waisted pants will still pull down at the back when I bend or sit, and I inevitably spend a lot of time hitching them up again. So I wanted to try a zip or button-up pattern again.
December 11, 2019 by Jane Goldney
Pattern Review: The Claryville Jeans by Workroom Social

Pattern Review: The Claryville Jeans by Workroom Social

Claryville Jeans pattern review

I’m very late to the sewing your own jeans party –  they’ve been absolutely everywhere in the sewing community over the last few years. Still, I tend to sew based on gaps in my wardrobe, and with the recent demise of my ready to wear pair, the time had finally come. I’ve seen a few patterns doing the rounds, most famously the hugely popular Ginger Jeans but I decided to have a look around anyway and see what else was out there.

When I stumbled across the Claryville Jeans by Workroom Social, I knew I’d struck gold. The modelled pictures looked very similar to my shape and the description stated they were designed for women with a larger hip-to-waist ratio (me) and included extra ease in the calves (Yay! My full calves say thank you).

Workroom Social is a sewing studio which specialises in teaching people to sew clothes and this expertise really showed in the pattern instructions. As an intermediate sewer, and first time jeans maker, I found the diagrams included for every step to be helpful, without being too hand-holdy. It just told me exactly what I needed to do every step of the way. The only thing that wasn’t covered in detail was how to install the hardware so I turned to a couple of online tutorials for help there.

When I first got the pattern, my measurements matched a straight size 4 so that was what I cut….by the time I got to actually making the jeans, however, I was no longer that size….but I decided to go for it anyway. Having been in a sewing rut for a while, I felt like just embracing the process and I figured at the very least I would have learnt how to sew jeans by the end of it.

Imagine my delight when I got to the end and found that these actually fit. Better than most jeans ever have. And with no pattern adjustments? This has NEVER happened to me before!

Claryville Jeans pattern review 2

The fabric is an organic cotton and spandex denim which we have in stock and at 314 gsm (about 9 oz) is about as light as I would go for in a denim. It was a dream to sew with and my machine (Bernina 1008) had no problems dealing with thick seams.

For the topstitching, I used standard thread and a triple stitch, instead of topstitching thread. I had seen this recommended and it worked really well for me. Yes, it is slower, but it not only removes the risk of a domestic machine not enjoying the heavier topstitch thread, but also gives those seams some stretch which, given I had unintentionally sized-down, felt like a good idea.

Claryville Jeans pattern review detail

Pattern: Claryville Jeans by Workroom Social. Available as a PDF (with A0 print at copy shop option) or Workroom Social have a limited number of paper patterns in stock if that’s your thing.

Fabric: 98% organic cotton and 2% spandex stretch denim, 314 gsm (approx. 9.2 oz).

Hardware: I had a jeans zip in my stash and picked up the button and rivets from Adelaide Leather and Saddlery Supplies. We also have Closet Case Patterns Jeans Hardware Kits in store which contain all the hardware you need to make a pair of jeans.

Size: 4 (a bit smaller than my measurements)

Adjustments: None!

Next time I’ll use a size 4.5 jeans zip, rather than the size 5 which I had in my stash (it’s a bit too big and the zipper pull doesn’t like to lay flat) and will also increase the rise at the back by about 1cm as I’d prefer it a tad higher. But this pair will happily be worn for years to come!

Comments: If you’re looking for a stretch denim jeans pattern this could be the pattern for you, particularly if you usually need to size up through the hip. With very clear, step-by-step instructions, this is also a good place to start if you’ve never sewn jeans before.

If you’re between sizes, you might be able to get away with sizing down, particularly if your denim is on the lighter size and has the maximum (2%) recommended stretch – it worked for me!

- Lauren

November 26, 2019 by Jane Goldney