Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pattern review: Republique du Chiffon Paule Jumpsuit in Organic Cotton Denim

Has the amount of washing in your household dropped off significantly? Mine has, and I'm attributing it to Iso Uniforms.

During this stay-at-home time my family members have more-or-less adopted personal uniforms. A few key garments are in high rotation and that often means day upon day of wear without washing. We're not going anywhere much so we're not getting very grimy or needing to look pristine, are we? And the certainty of a 'uniform' is comforting in these uncertain times.

The staple of my Iso Uniform has been a denim jumpsuit. Two years ago I made a denim version of the Peppermint Magazine/In The Folds Jumpsuit and it has been one of my most worn me-made garments ever. Maybe the most.

I have thrashed that thing, year-round. It's still travelling well, and the denim has aged so beautifully, but is just a wee bit tight across the chest now. Ah, hormones. It's still very wearable but I got to thinking, perhaps I could justify a second denim jumpsuit.

Then we had some beautiful new Italian denims come in, and we like to test as many of our fabrics as possible... so?

The Paule Jumpsuit pattern by Republique Du Chiffon had caught my eye.

Once my panic-addled brain had regained enough focus, I bought the pattern, printed it and pieced it together on A4 paper at home. I made a full muslin to test it out. A good start!

I wanted to eliminate the shoulder ties. I think they look great but wouldn't work well in denim, or under jackets. Other adjustments I made:
  • Added length in the bodice (a first for me! I think this was a full bust thing).
  • Raised back neckline.
  • Added bust darts at armholes.
  • Raised armholes for more coverage.
  • Changed strap shape & placement a little at front.
  • Made a bodice facing, incorporating neckline and armholes, informed by the In The Folds/Peppermint Jumpsuit facing.
  • Added a smidge more room in the seat (by, er, flattening the curve a bit).
  • Whacked in an exposed zip down the centre front because I needed a way to get in and out after all my adjustments, and from experience this makes a jumpsuit extremely easy to wear.
  • Lengthened the legs a bit (original are kind of cropped).
I had some excellent help cutting it out.

All the adjustments took another couple of muslins/partial muslins and quite a lot of tracing and cutting and staring at pencil lines, but I'm super happy with where this ended up. Same sort of thing as my first one, but different enough to feel new.

Things I love about the pattern
  • Those pockets! I love the look of them, they're really large and useful and quite simple to construct.
  • The slightly closer-fitting silhouette and waist seams that help make this 'different enough' to my Peppermint Jumpsuit.
  • The fit 'out of the packet' was good and sizing accurate.
  • The method for bringing the crotch seams all together was new to me, and worked extremely well.

Things I love less
  • The instructions - mostly really good - were a little scant when it came to the original finish of the neckline and armholes, including the shoulder ties. This is an 'add your own seam allowance' pattern and it suggests 1cm everywhere except the leg hems. The armholes/straps/neckline are finished with bias tape, width not specified, to be stitched on at .5cm from the edge. The shoulder tie ends are squared off, but the instructions say to finish continuously with the bias tape, and there's no diagram. I wasn't planning on using the shoulder ties or a bias finish so I didn't persist, but if I had wanted to, I might have contacted the company to ask for a bit more explanation.
  • Also, it's a bit sad that my size is the top of the available range (46). I think this style would be great on many bodies.

The denim

This denim is 12&3/4oz Organic Cotton with 2% Elastane, made in Italy. This is the 'Everblue' colourway. It's a fabulous 165cm wide and that meant I could cut this whole jumpsuit from at least half a metre less than anticipated. It really feels like a rigid denim to me, although perhaps there is just a little extra 'give' in there. I love the deep, dark colour and I felt that between the fabric and the lines of the Paule pattern, it didn't need further embellishment. I topstitched in places to reinforce seams but just used construction thread rather than contrast topstitch. After wearing a couple of times I added rivets on the pocket edges to add strength to these stress points.

The fabric was great to work with and my vintage Bernina handled it easily using a Jeans needle. I overlocked all the inside seams. In a couple of places where there were several layers coming together, I trimmed the seams with scissors first so my overlocker only had to sew, not cut.
To reduce bulk at the pockets, I made the pocket facings out of some scrap mid-weight cotton/linen (navy with cranetrucks, an old Kokka favourite!).
At time of writing we have a little bit left of some of these Italian denims, and we eagerly anticipate ordering more when lockdown restrictions are able to be lifted in Italy.

Here's the jumpsuit after one 'garment wash', so you can see how it's settling in, and a picture showing the bodice facing.

Have you adopted an 'Iso Uniform'? I think the rise of the boilersuit - the next logical step from the jumpsuit - has probably come at a very useful time!

- Jane xx

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Zero Waste Sewing by Elizabeth Haywood - the Blog Tour

If you're new to The Drapery, hello and welcome! We're Jane and Fiona, and we established The Drapery fabric shop in Adelaide, South Australia, in 2013. We're delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for Elizabeth Haywood's exciting new book release, Zero Waste Sewing. Read on to see the project we tried!
Sewing, and making in general, often encourages the maker to have a greater sense of environmental responsibility. Hands-on, deep involvement with the base materials of common objects (fabric, yarn, timber, clay, leather, metals) will almost certainly lead to an appreciation of the limits of our earth's precious resources.

It's not surprising then that there has been a growing interest in the concept of 'zero waste sewing'. It's not a new concept. Pre-industrialisation, it was common practice for many people to farm their own fibres (flax, hemp, wool etc), process the fibres into threads and weave their own cloth. If you had laboured to produce every thread, you'd be pretty keen to see every thread put to use. Garments were often made of simple rectangular and triangular shapes, cleverly pieced, gathered and gusseted. Zero Waste Sewing takes readers through Liz's journey of research and experimentation with different shapes, cutting and seams that result in a great variety of zero waste garments. To find out more, check out the rest of the blog tour:

At The Drapery, we're definitely on board with cutting down waste in sewing practice. We know how satisfying it is to eke a project out of a bare minimum of fabric and have only a small handful of scraps at the end. We very much appreciate pattern designers who give accurate, non-wasteful yardage recommendations for their patterns.

We're very fortunate that Liz Haywood is practically a local, living just a couple of hours away in the gorgeous Clare Valley. She was kindly able to drop in and allow us to see and try on the samples for her Zero Waste Sewing book.

I was drawn to make the Hooded Blouson. The sample I tried on was both cute and fascinating, with its hood (always a win in my books), puffball shape and clever pockets.

I chose our Japanese cotton corduroy in Peony. The pattern calls for 130cm of 115cm wide fabric. My fabric was 140cm wide so I cut just 115cm, letting my width be the extra 'length'.

The cutting and assembly process feels more like origami than traditional sewing. It's not difficult, and a tape measure, ruler and chalk easily take the place of pattern pieces.

After I had inserted the pockets and tried on the partial garment, I realised my fabric choice was not ideal for the pattern 'as writ'. (If I'd read to the end of the instructions first I would have realised this and seen Liz's handy tips! There are a lot of layers that come together at the pockets.)

I needed to re-think. I spent some time with my friend the unpicker, mulling it over. Liz had made a cape version of this pattern, and I thought that might be more suitable for the corduroy. In keeping with the zero/low waste ethic, and also with my love of pockets, I decided to re-use about half of the pocket bag fabric for a pair of patch pockets.

Playing around with possibilities
I rounded off the bottom corners using a French curve, and finished the bottom edge with cotton bias tape to preserve as much length as possible.

I kept the armholes, so I'm not totally sure if this qualifies as a genuine cape but it sure has that swing.

It was quite a warm day when these photos were taken so please pardon the unlikely combo of cape with shorts and t-shirt!

If you'd like to see this cape in person it's now hanging up in the shop. And the book is available in store and online here!

Thanks so much for having us on your blog tour Liz, and here's to less waste of beautiful fabric.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Pattern Review: Darlow Pants by In The Folds

Pants, pants, pants. (Or trousers, trousers, trousers!) The ideal fit, comfort and style is a never-ending quest. But that's part of the fun when you can sew, isn't it?

I've had a lot of wear from my Papercut Palisade Pants - two pairs each of long trousers and shorts - and have enjoyed having 'pants that are not jeans' in my wardrobe. One thing that continues to frustrate me though 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.

Enter the Darlow Pants by In The Folds. Released back in February this year (read more on her blog here), the curvy-panelled style had intrigued me. I trust that Emily Hundt, the Australian designer behind the brand, puts a lot of thought and work into her patterns so they come together beautifully.

The Darlow Pants have two views. On the cover is the more exaggerated, baggy style. I chose the slimmer leg style, but since making that I wouldn't rule out the other version in future. **Please note on the back cover, the View A and View B illustrations are mistakenly switched. I emailed Emily from In The Folds about this and she replied straight away, and has made an errata note on her website and provided a download of the cover, corrected. I mention this because it could affect the amount of fabric you need to buy when you check the fabric allowances given for View A/B on the cover.**

My measurements put me fairly well into one size, with potentially a bit more room needed in the waist. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5ft7 and I'm 5ft3, but the pants are designed as cropped. I decided not to cut out any length before making a muslin, but there are excellent instructions on how to do this if you wish.

I was excited to find that my muslin fit really rather well. As expected, I wanted a little more room around the waist at the front, and also a smidgen more space in the seat. I'm still on a big learning curve with pants fitting so I won't detail my adjustments for fear of leading anyone astray. In The Folds has provided a 'Darlow Fit Kit' resource which walks you through a number of common adjustments on the pattern, which is helpful because adjustments often need to be made across more than one of the panels.

Two further muslins later (I just ripped out and replaced the panels/part panels I had tweaked) and I was happy enough with the fit to proceed to the real thing.
Worn with Frankie & Ray Breezeway Top in our white Lithuanian Linen that I dyed with avocado.

The fabric I used was a coated denim I picked up on holiday two years ago. I'd never seen anything quite like it so grabbed some, but in retrospect it's a bit weird and plasticky-feeling, like it has a coat of acrylic paint. My hope is that the coating will wear down and age well. Time will tell! There was just enough to make the Darlows, and it was time to get the fabric out of my stash and into use.

I deviated from the pattern by using the patch pockets from the baggier view instead of the welt pockets, and I also omitted the side seam pockets. I felt they would probably gape on me and mess with the lines of the pants. Instead, I planned and cut out some patch pockets to go on the front panels, but forgot to add them at the crucial stage of construction. I can still put a hanky in a back pocket so that'll do for these ones.

Topstitching is not part of the pattern either, but I felt it would suit the jeans-like vibe of the denim and highlight the great panel shapes.

I didn't interface the waistband at all because I have a slight fear of inflexible waistbands, but in retrospect it would have been helpful as this denim is surprisingly stretchy and foldy.

In another review of this pattern I read that the Darlow instructions often have you finish (overlock or zigzag) seam allowances separately before construction, which means you are likely to lose the notches which are so crucial to matching all the parts up. This is a good point! So I finished almost all seam allowances after sewing the seams, using my overlocker, pressed them to one side and then caught the seam allowances in my topstitching. This worked fine, although if adding the side seam pockets there may be cases where raw edges would actually need finishing earlier.

The zip fly insertion went well, but the method was not my favourite. It seemed very similar to the method used by Grainline patterns, with multiple steps of hand-basting. Again, I'm not an expert so I don't wish to pass great judgements here. If you have your own favourite zip fly method, then go for it. If not, just follow this through and it should (eventually) work out! I trust there is method to the madness, but I did skip a couple of hand-basting steps with careful use of pins.

In the end I am thrilled with my Darlow pants. I'm really happy with the fit, although of course I probably won't leave well enough alone and will try a couple of tweaks for another version. The curved panels really do make for curve-hugging shapeliness, while the extra room around the knees is not only a style statement, it makes movement very comfortable.

The height and shaping of the waist mean I can bend over, cycle, move around and even sit on a picnic rug in my Darlows and there's nary a hint of plumber's crack to be seen. I can reach high shelves without unintentional midriff exposure. And there's very little hitching up to do. Yet I don't feel like these are sitting right up under my ribcage. Whatever this sorcery is, I like it. I've been making the most of every day under 30 degrees and thrashing the heck out of these already.

Here are some fabric suggestions for the Darlow Pants pattern - pretty much anything non-stretch with a bit of body, from a mid-weight denim down to a lighter twill:

Japanese Cotton Corduroys

Colour Printed Twill/denims

Crumple Texture Cotton/Linen Canvas

Organic Cotton Denim

Japanese Linen/Cotton Canvas - Heather

Japanese Textured Cotton/Linen Twill


Pattern: The Darlow Pants by In The Folds

Fabric: Coated denim, from my stash

Size: F (big hugs and kisses to In The Folds for the non-judgemental-sounding size naming)

Alterations: a smidge more room in the bum and belly

Comments: Love them. Note points above about zip insertion and seam finishings. Also note View A/B illustration mixup on back cover, with reference to fabric allowances. (Naturally, the more baggy version takes a bit more fabric.) The Darlows feel like jeans that are just a bit more 'me' than classic jeans. Will definitely make again... I think our chocolate brown corduroy may be calling my name, and maybe even those welt pockets.

- Jane

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pattern Review - The Cielo Top by Close Case Patterns

Making garment samples for the shop can be a great chance for us to try out styles that might be a bit outside our usual comfort zones. The Cielo pattern by Closet Case has a version that offers considerable dramatic sleevage, and we thought it would pair well with the drapiness of our Lithuanian washed linens.

It's worth mentioning that, as seen above, the pattern includes a plain short sleeve as well as a shift dress with optional front seam pockets. There's potential to get plenty of long-term value out of this pattern, beyond the very 'now' statement sleeve. The other option given is a stitched-down neck facing (which I chose) or a bias tape neckline finish.

To make the most useful shop sample I sewed a straight size 14, as corresponded most closely with my measurements. If I had been making for my own wardrobe I would have dropped a size or two to better fit my shoulders, and then used the downloadable C or D-cup front bodice that is offered for this pattern on the Closet Case website (instructions on how to access are in the pattern). Hurrah, the full bust adjustment has already been done for us! I really appreciate this option on a pattern.

I used our washed Lithuanian Linen 'Diane Keaton' which is a great mid-blue, with a check that's subtle enough to not require a huge amount of thought about pattern matching. I just made sure the grain was nice and straight and centred well on the fold.

The pattern is designed with quite a lot of ease (a good 6.5" in the bust), and the finished garment measurements are very helpful in selecting a size.

The back shoulder pieces are a feature on every view of the pattern and whilst they seem to serve no practical purpose (there is no extra shaping built in), I like them! Perhaps the topstitched seam there provides a little extra support for the sleeve volume? (You can see a smaller size across the shoulders would definitely help for me here.)

The sleeves truly are vast, yet the volume is tamed a little with the tapered 'cuffs' which are fully self-lined, giving them a clean finish and swingy weight.

Overall I like the look more than I expected, although it's not for me. The sleeve puff gives me flashbacks to awkward early teen years in the frilly-pre-Wham! 80s (think Princess Diana in her 'shy Di' phase). It's a great look on other people though!

The dart coming down from the armhole is unusual in modern patterns, and it was one of the first things I noticed about the Cielo when it was released. It works perfectly well and it's nice to see a variation on the standard dart. I'm a fan of vintage patterns from the 1960s and their variation in panel and dart placement to create bust shape is fascinating. I welcome it back - more please!

The thing I'm not so sure about with this pattern is the size of the armhole. It's exaggerated a little in my version because this size is a bit big on me, and possibly because the washed linen can sometimes 'grow' a little. Partly I guess it is to accommodate the volume of the gathered sleeve. However the armhole is the same size for the plain sleeve, too. I think it's a style choice (it's described as 'boxy' and 'roomy fit') but I am wary about that shape of sleeve and armhole on me. Just my two cents' worth in case anyone reading has similar sleeve issues!

All that said, it occurs to me now that the dress, made sleeveless with this armhole, would probably make a good pinafore for wearing with shirts or t-shirts underneath. Imagine it in denim, with those front in-seam pockets, and some great topstitching. Yes!

Note also that the top is, as described, 'semi-cropped' and the hem is not deep so check the length for your own preference.

For more information I found the blog posts by Lara (Thornberry) to be very helpful regarding sizing.

This sample is in the shop and customers are welcome to try it on.


Pattern: Cielo Top and Dress by Closet Case

Fabric: 'Diane Keaton' washed 100% linen, made in Lithuania

Size: 14 (to better fit me I would choose a size 10 or 12 with C or D cup bodice)

Comments: A lovely example of the dramatic sleeve trend, if you can pull it off, and there are plenty of examples of people looking great in the Cielo. Roomy fit, sizing down may be an option. Large armholes, see notes above.

- Jane & Fiona