Frocktober may be done and dusted but we are still sewing the frocks (all in the name of pattern research, heheh). Aaand, if it happens to be simple frocks with uncluttered lines you're after then this newly released book, "Handmade Style" by Lotta Jansdotter may be exactly what you've been looking for. I'm a long time fan of Lotta's, so it's no surprise that I've found this book super inspiring. It's aimed at beginner garment sewers, but we think that more experienced sewists will quite possibly find a good go-to pattern or two in here as well. All patterns are full sized in the back of the book and the size range is (a standard, but somewhat limited we think): 32" - 43" bust / 24.5"-34" waist / 35.5" - 45" hips.
Lotta admits that she had never sewn her own clothes prior to writing this book. She's designed the garments here and the patterns have been expertly drafted by the talented Alexia Abegg (Green Bee Patterns/Cotton & Steel). There are 5 main garment patterns: a pair of pants/shorts, two dresses/tops, a skirt and a jacket - each with numerous variations. There are a number of bag patterns and some general crafty ideas in here too, plus Lotta features little stories about her friends and family, who she's photographed wearing the clothes. All of which makes quite a lovely read!
My first make from the book was the Esme Tunic: a slightly a-line tunic dress with bust darts and three quarter sleeves. It's a quick sew, and the result is, frankly, something I could probably wear every day in a bunch of different fabrics and call it a uniform (apologies if I gusheth too much here...) The only minor difficulty I had was that there seems to be a fair bit of ease in the sleeve cap - it took a bit of faffing about to get it to go in without any gathers. You can see the extra fabric when I lift my arms (like in the photo of the back of the dress, below).
The facing is (pleasingly!) stitched down, so no annoying flipping up or bunching! This Esme was made from this Nani Iro "Freestyle" double gauze.
From the side...
... and the back. As a guide to length, I'm 167cm tall. I added 30cm to the tunic length for my muslin, then cut it off, then freaked out when I made this because it felt too short so added a facing to the hem instead of the usual double-turn. I'll live with it.
This was the wearable muslin version - a shirt Esme made from some Merchant & Mills cotton.
We are currently out of stock of Everyday Style, but are expecting a new delivery any day, so it's available to pre-order here. If you're looking to make something like this - and fast, the Esme is remarkably similar to the Green Bee Pearl Dress, which can be also found right here.
- Fiona & Jane xx