Thursday, May 16, 2019

Pattern Review: Papercut Sierra Jumpsuit

Hi, Jane here! The Papercut Sierra Jumpsuit has been on my to-make wishlist ever since its release last year.

Jumpsuits in general are tricky to test for fit until they're almost entirely sewn. So instead of a muslin, I made a properly finished garment that could be a shop sample if it didn't fit me well enough. Having a bit of Papercut experience under my belt, I was pretty confident in cutting the size M with a little bit of extra room added in the backside. (Ah, the things you end up casually writing in the name of sewing.) Here's how I added a little extra room in the 'seat':

That was good for size, with some expected bodice adjustments required for my final take-home version. Here's that first version, ain't she pretty?

You can see this sample in the shop and even try it on if you like!
I used our Hemp/Organic Cotton Chambray. It's such a well-behaved and pleasing fabric to work with, a mid-to-light weight that softens but doesn't bag out. With the given fabric allowance (2.6m) I was able to cut the bodice lining pieces in this fabric as well. Of course this made things extra-confusing when it came to working out which piece was which, especially since there is no right or wrong side. HOT TIP: label your cut pieces clearly! I used tailor's chalk but masking tape with details written on sounds like a great idea. I ended up with boobs cheerily labelled A and B before I washed my final garment.

This was one of those slightly baffling, origami-like makes where I just obediently followed each step to bring it all together. I love the finished garment, but 'straight out of the packet' on me there's significant armhole gape, especially at the front.  (Pardon the rough photos that follow, in the name of sharing the sewing information!)

I think the cause is twofold: I have a short torso, and full bust. To improve the fit, I pinned out a dart in the front armhole, and a bit of length at the back armhole/strap.

After transferring this to my paper pattern, I rotated the dart out of the armhole, into the bust dart. Then I moved the whole bust dart down to better match my apex. (Thanks be to Google and all the excellent sewing people who make tutorials.) I also added an inch of length to each of the ties, because I'm a little thicc around the middle.

I whipped up a quick & dirty bodice muslin to check the alterations and it was thumbs up and ready to go.

My final version is in a beautiful 100% cotton, yarn-dyed mid-weight by Haori of Taiwan, who make textiles in traditional Japanese styles. It's a bit heavier than the chambray, so I used a very lightweight cotton for the bodice lining. I didn't have a matching invisible zip, or the proper machine foot. Luck was on my side when I realised I could get in and out of the jumpsuit without using a zip, so I've just sewn up that side and it's good to go. (One step fewer when taking a loo break is always a win with a jumpsuit!)

I don't know what I'm doing here but it shows you the back.
On the inside, there's a part where a lot of seams come together and it feels not quite strong or finished enough. I used a bit of hand-stitching to neaten and strengthen the area, which is, in any case, completely hidden from the outside.

Look, no armhole gape!

Jump! suit

Like all good jumpsuits it's really comfortable to wear and there's no worry about unintended midriff exposure when sitting, bending or riding a bike. It's quite easy to get in and out of, and surprisingly easy to iron - a fact that always dramatically increases likelihood of wear in my wardrobe. If I want to wear it without a t-shirt in summer, I'll probably want to add a small snap at centre front just to help keep things tidy.

The side seam pockets have an unusual insertion method that helps keep them sitting towards the front, and allows for the zip insertion (which I didn't need). They're a decent size for hands, hankies and small objects, and shouldn't stretch out because the front opening is interfaced.

PATTERN: Sierra Jumpsuit by Papercut Patterns

FABRIC: Hemp/Organic Cotton Chambray, Haori 100% Cotton

SIZE: M with added bum-space, extra length in ties and bodice adjustments as detailed above.

The Sierra feels a bit dressier and more put-together than other jumpsuits I have made.
Tall people should note they may need to add length. I'm 5ft 3 / 163cm and consider myself short in the torso. While I did take a smidgen of bodice length out at the strap, this is *just* right on me and others may find they need to add length in both bodice and leg.
A step not noted on the pattern but worth the effort is to staystitch around the neck and armhole edges that aren't reinforced with interfacing, because they're handled quite a lot during construction and could stretch out.
Altogether a fun pattern to make and wear.

Check out some other thoughtful reviews of this pattern, including some similar notes to mine, at I Sew Therefore I Am and Diary of a Chainstitcher.

- Jane xx

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Pattern Review: Thread Theory Strathcona Henley

I have a real aversion to buying new clothes. I try and make most of my own, but I haven’t so far made a huge amount for my partner, Neil. I’m always making promises, so I delay him buying new clothes, but often my intentions don’t match reality so his wardrobe can start looking a little threadbare….I could no longer ignore the little holes in his t-shirts (I don’t know how but they appear in all of them), necklines a bit stretched out, and the odd stain here and there. All looking a bit shabby.

Now was the time to come through on my promises, especially as we had the gorgeous 55% Hemp, 45% Organic Cotton Jersey fabrics in store. I am always excited to find fabrics with hemp content as hemp requires no pesticides and significantly less water to grow than cotton and is known for its durability. I decided to give the Thread Theory Strathcona Henley a try, in the t-shirt option (Variation 2). This pattern is described as a slim fitting t-shirt that can be sewn either with a straight crew neck (as I did) or a Henley style placket with long or short sleeves. It’s not often that you can find matching rib for your fabric, but for all of these fabrics we do have the ribbing in an exact colour match, so I used some of that too!

Neil is usually a small or medium in t-shirts, but comparing the measurements of one of his well- loved tees with the pattern I was surprised to find I would need to make a L – the second biggest size. This is to give him what I would consider an average fit but certainly not oversized. 

I also found it to be very long in the body. I removed 10cm from the length before I cut which I think would have been spot on for Neil. Unfortunately I made him try it on before hemming and for some reason decided it needed to lose another inch so it’s a tad on the short side now.

The pattern instructions were very clear and the t-shirt came together fairly easily, albeit with a bit of tinkering to try and get the ribbed neckband right (I’d never used ribbing for a neckband before). The length required to get a neckband to sit flat and not pucker I have always found to be a bit of a mystery. Too short and it needs to be stretched too much when sewn, causing puckers around the seam. Too long and it sticks up away from the body. And each fabric will behave differently, based on the amount of stretch, so there’s no easy answer. I turned to the internet for help and found a couple of useful resources here and here.

I did veer away from the pattern somewhat at this point, as it calls for 5/8 in (1.6cm) seam allowances throughout. I prefer a narrower seam allowance on neckbands to give me half a chance of a good result so used ¼ in (0.6 cm).

I finished the hem and sleeves with an overlocked edge and a twin needle.

Final thoughts
The t-shirt fits really nicely on Neil and he reports that the fabric is really soft and comfortable to wear. The pattern is well written and easy to follow and contains plenty of extra tips for sewing with knits if you’re new to using this kind of fabric.
I did find the size range to be disappointing as it doesn’t cater to larger bodies. 
One t-shirt is not going to solve the current t-shirt crisis in Neil’s wardrobe so there will be more coming…(one in every colour of the hemp and organic cotton jersey we have in store!)

Find the Strathcona Henley pattern here.

- Lauren