The ‘Jackie O’ Jacket


I finally made a jacket and can you tell how pleased I am with it? After much deliberation, (and thank you for all your suggestions), I finally plumped for the Simple Sew Jackie O’ pattern. This wasn’t originally in my list, but I knew I had it somewhere (probably a sure sign that I need yet another clear up in my sewing space), and eventually unearthed it.

I came down to two options thanks to your suggestions, so decided to use my cheaper fabric (above left, a kind of self-check with a hint of sparkle, though hard to see in picture) for the easier pattern as a ‘warm up’ and intend to use my nice, pure wool for the slightly more advanced pattern on the right as a second attempt. And yes, I know they’re both navy blue, but just look at my lovely lining to jazz them up… 😉

The jacket construction was actually a lot easier than I’d imagined which was a relief: really not a lot different to making sweatshirt or t-shirt tops (although maybe helped by the fact I’ve made so many of late). And sooo much easier than making trousers, which is where I’d placed it in terms of difficulty in my mind. But it turns out, wrongly! The pattern (free with Love Sewing magazine some time ago) was aimed at ‘adventurous beginners’ which seems a fair grading. The instructions were fairly minimal, but clear and with helpful line illustrations for further guidance.

I chose to overlock all raw edges before switching to my regular machine because the fabric looked prone to fraying. There were no instructions for the lining, so I just went with instinct, which surprisingly worked well. The facings given for the unlined version made the insertion of the lining a lot neater and because of the simple shape it was pretty straight forward. It did involve a lot of hand sewing, which I’ve got better at, but I’m not fully sure how strong or durable it will be. I’m not usually all that careful with pulling on or off jackets and other layers at school, because of the frequency with which I need to do it due to vastly fluctuating temperatures around the buildings, but I think I’m going to have to be a little more careful with this. Luckily it’s come up a bit big so this should help, maybe a touch too big? Although I do only have one light-weight layer on here…


If I’m being fussy, there are a couple of creases where the lining isn’t quite lying perfectly, resulting in just a little pull at the bottom of the sleeves. But this is minimal and I doubt anyone would notice. And as a first attempt where I had to just make the lining bit up it’s fine. Overall, I’m so pleased with this and I’m looking forward to making the next one already. I would really recommend this pattern for building confidence in sewing jackets for the first time. The minimal design (there were pockets which I chose to omit here) is neat and practical: I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this.

Pattern: Simple Sew Jackie O Jacket

Size: 12 (possibly a little too big, 10 next time?)

Adjustments: added lining and omitted pockets

Soundtrack: mostly in silence, sometimes it really is golden 🙂


Finally, Trousers That Fit!


They fit! Hurrah! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me after all that palaver with my last attempt 🙂 The pattern is Simplicity K1699, a second copy of which (after I’d mistakenly cut out a size too small last time), luckily came free with a sewing magazine. This time I cut a size 12.

I struggled to find nice, work-appropriate fabric. There’s generally not an awful lot of choice in the shops near me, most of it coming in heavy, navy or black pinstripes. I spotted this beauty tucked away in a corner of Abakhans in Manchester. It’s a lovely, lightweight kind of taupe (almost grey) wool with a fine, cream stripe. It didn’t come cheap at £12 a metre . However after having hastily purchased a pair of ‘make-do’ grey, work trousers from a Marks and Spencers outlet store recently for £25, which I’ve only worn once and hate already (I’m always in between ‘standard’ sizes and having gone for the larger option this time, they hang awkwardly off my hips and the fabric is just plain nasty!), this taupe fabric as a result is looking a lot better value for money.

Determined to get a better, internal finish this time I took your advice and overlocked my fabric pieces before sewing. Thanks for the nudge Chris 🙂 Not before however, reluctantly acknowledging that I needed to change colour on my overlocker from my Winter black to a more Spring-like cream. I tried the ‘tie it on’ method, but pulling it through (as my owners’ guide suggested), was so tricky that I ended up just cutting them and starting again. Luckily, it worked first time 🙂 Despite the extra effort, this has made such a difference to the finish. They look so much more professional. Result!


This pattern was really easy to follow. The only thing I altered was substituting the standard zip for an invisible one, which I much prefer. I used grosgrain ribbon (another tip, thank you) for my waistband. The only bit I found tricky was folding in the ends. There must be a neater way of folding it in on itself around the top of the zip, but I figure no one is ever likely to spot this, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it…

I never find trousers as flattering on my shape as I do skirts or dresses, but despite this I’m really pleased with these. Making the next size up seems to have resulted in a slightly wider, leg shape than I was expecting however. I don’t hate it, but when I next use this pattern, which I will 🙂 I might well take them in ever so slightly to avoid looking like they’re drowning me.

So finally, I can tick off one of my sewing resolutions for 2015. While I’d hardly say that I’ve ‘mastered’ the art of trousers, I can certainly say that I can now make a fairly decent stab at an appropriate pair for work. Phew! Anyone else slowly ticking off their sewing resolutions?


Smokey Grey, part two


I had enough lovely, grey crepe left to run up a matching top too. I love this aspect of sewing, where you can extend the versatility of an item by adding in a ‘dress’ option. I’ve worn my black BHL Charlotte and matching TGBSB tunic top loads together (despite the top’s shortcomings), so this is an obvious way to go for me. I was tempted to attempt the same top, as I often get really hot at work (an age thing? Or maybe we just live in an old house, so anything modern seems hot…) . But that darn, two-in-one facing business just didn’t take my fancy after a long half term.

Something simple was needed and that ‘something simple’ happened to be staring me in the face. In the same free, pattern pack that I made my side-split skirt from, there was a t-shirt style top too (NewLook K6217). It was a loose style, but I figured in a crepe this wouldn’t be too bulky or baggy, and I could always just tuck it in.

Again, I forced myself to slow right down and enjoy the process. And I did! 🙂 The pattern consisted of just three, simple pieces and it came together in no time. I was particularly pleased with my button and loop fastening, where I improvised and just used a small piece of black ribbon that had come with a RTW label (my natural, hoarding habits do come in handy sometimes 😉 ). It’s ended up pretty neat, despite my machine’s desire to chew it up! In the end, I simply hand sewed it in place.

I’m really pleased with this fake ‘dress’. The kimono-style sleeves are lovely and airy too. While I’m not sure what else I could pair the top with, I’ve no doubt that this duo will get plenty of wear for work together. The skirt will be easy to wear separately too.

It’s been really enjoyable sewing a couple of simple, but useful items, but I’m probably ready for something a little trickier now I’ve had a good rest from school. Maybe it’s about time I was brave enough to tackle the lovely fabric I was gifted as part of the Secret Sewing Santa swap…


Anyone else find themselves continually adopting this rather matronly, hands on hips pose for their blog images?! I clearly need something to do with my arms and I guess it does work well at pulling everything in… 

Looking at this photo, this top is also crying out for a statement necklace of some shape or form. Will have to have a rummage…