Two Pieces | Vogue 9181 + Jalie Emilie

An Outfit for First Snow of the Season

We had a marvellous autumn in western Canada with warm dry days and just a couple of hints of frost. When I was perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s site in October, I was tempted to focus on pretty florals for blouses or dresses but part of me knew that … (da dah dum … ) winter was coming. Fortunately, Fabric Mart was stocked with a huge selection of cooler weather fabrics that are perfect for winter or holiday sewing.

Over the past several months I’ve been planning my sewing projects so I have pieces that work together so I decided to pick a print fabric for a top, and a solid for pants, using navy as the base.

Pants

For the pants I selected a Poly/Nylon/Spandex Stretch Corduroy in Navy. Corduroy is great for cooler weather, but if you live in a cold climate with blast furnaces you know that heavyweight cord can feel good outdoors but too warm when you come inside. This fine 14-wale corduroy is warm enough to wear outdoors but will be especially comfortable indoors. It also has a bit of drape which makes it nice for trousers. And who doesn’t want some stretch?

I selected Vogue 9181 (Custom-Fit Bootcut Pants) because it is designed for stretch woven fabrics, it has bootcut legs, and it has a front mock zip. For the past several months I’ve been working on the Top Down Center Out fitting method for pants and this pattern, with its shaped waistband, works especially well when learning Top Down Center Out. I first made a half-toile using muslin, then marked up the pattern and cut out the corduroy. The fabric was really easy to cut and sew. It does shed a bit but not nearly as much as cotton corduroy. I used a stretch needle and sewed the seams on my sewing machine, then serged the seam allowances.

I made two mistakes when sewing the pants and both were simply a result of a lack of experience working with corduroy. The first was neglecting to sew a test buttonhole on scrap fabric. That resulted in a good hour of unpicking after I made the same mistake twice! The second error is more embarrassing but I know I’m not the first nor will I be the last to do this. When I cut out the cord I didn’t even think about the nap of the fabric. So my finished pants has the nap going up on the front and down on the back. It makes a difference! I’m hoping that no one will notice and if they do, they’re looking too closely.

These pants are super comfortable. I like the drape with the boot cut shape.

Top

The second part of my outfit is a loose-fitting turtleneck that is perfect for winter weather.

When I was shopping Fabric Mart in the middle of October there were a number of fun holiday print fabrics and I just couldn’t resist this brushed sweater knit with Christmas trees and cabins in non-traditional colours. I think this print will be wearable throughout the winter, not just over the holiday period. This sweater knit is a poly/lycra blend and the stitches are very fine so it feels like a jersey. It has lovely drape and feel cosy but not too warm.

I went back to a favourite pattern, the Jalie Emilie. This free, downloadable pattern is sized for girls aged 2 through bust measurement of about 51″. It’s oversized with dropped shoulders and a turtleneck collar. I’ve used this pattern several times and love it because it’s such a fast make and is a great shape for wearing over tights or pants. And it’s fast! You can sew the whole sweater on the overlocker or serger, or on a sewing machine. The only change I make when sewing this top is to slightly change the shape of the columnar tube collar so it’s more loose fitting around the neck.

As you can see, we’re already in winter mode here in western Canada! I know I’ll get lots of wear out of both of these pieces. Only about seven months of winter to go!

Vogue 1568 Ponte Tunic

Vogue 1568 Ponte Tunic

This project is part of my focus on Wardrobe Basics for Autumn 2022. I have a real dearth of basic garments in solid colours and so set about sewing things that will be reliable pieces for wearing to work or going out. These aren’t going to be trendy pieces but rather garments that can be worn over and over again and made interesting with the addition of scarves, jewellery, or interesting toppers.

You can learn more about these projects on my YouTube channel – Janine Sews – and the link to the video featuring this tunic is here.

The first garment is a tunic using Vogue 1568, a “Today’s Fit” pattern by Sandra Betzina from 2017.

The photos on the pattern envelope don’t do it justice. Think more JJill (like the tunic to the right) and less organza or netting. By the way, I used to wear a lot of JJill when I lived/worked in the U.S.A. I always liked the very clean lines that were more about comfortable elegance and less athleisure or coastal granny,

I looked at this pattern a dozen times before deciding to give it a try. Why the hesitation? It’s lined. Lined knit. I specifically wanted a tunic with either a V-neck or slash opening and after looking at other options, I decided to sew this since the line drawings represented what I wanted. I selected View B which is a pullover tunic with a V-neck and slits in the side.

Fabric

For this pattern I used a lovely mid-weight rayon Ponte de Roma that I purchased from Olga’s Fabric Lane here in Calgary. I bought enough to make a set of coordinates – top, pants and skirt. Those reviews will come at some point in the not-too-distant future.

The lining was purchased from Fabricland West. And it was almost a perfect match to the fashion fabric. The lining is sitting on top of the cut fabric in the top of the photo on the left.

Adjustments

There are no finished garment measurements on the tissue (although the instruction sheets refer to their existence) so I took a look at the few pattern reviews posted on websites and blogs and decided to go with what I normally sew. In the instructions it is stated that the shoulders are narrow which helped me to make the decision on sizing. I did, however do an FBA. Had there been finished garment measurements I would have definitely chosen a smaller size. In retrospect, had I taken the words ‘loose fitting’ seriously in the instructions, I would have had a clue 😅

The Process

Sewing a lined knit garment was quite a challenge! And the sewing steps did not make it any easier. For this garment, you sew the shoulder seams of the fashion fabric, then the shoulder seams of the lining, then the neckline. Then flip it wrong sides together and treat the fashion fabric and knit fabrics as one after basting them together with the machine. Ever tried basting knit to knit? It’s an exercise in patience!

Next steps are to sew the darts, side seams and sleeves. Because you treat the fashion fabric and lining as one, the seams for the bust darts and side seams are visible inside the garment, not hidden in between the lining and fashion fabric. Fortunately, my fabric and lining weren’t overly bulky but I was not enamoured with this treatment. If I’m going to take the time to line a garment, I hope to have a beautifully finished interior.

Once the garment was pretty much completed I realised that it fit well through the shoulders and chest but was too big and boxy from the bust down. As noted on the instructions, the shoulders are narrow so the sleeve cap sits nicely on my relatively narrow shoulders. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with the fit around the waist and hips. There was a two-hour long episode of unpicking followed by taking off about 3″ of diameter below the bust.

What Do I Love

  • The neckline finish. Going forward, a lined v-neck will be my first choice for both knits and wovens. (I’ve found a woven pattern that uses a lining instead of a facing and will be posting that review soon!)
  • The lining adds a rich quality to the garment so that it hangs beautifully and makes the top look more handmade and less homemade.
  • The general shape. This mimics what you would find in quality RTW.

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

Thumbs Up – definitely. I’ll use this again with two changes: cut the right size, and have the lining end just below the bust so there won’t be as much fiddling about with basting knit to knit and also to hide the bust darts within the lining.

I wouldn’t recommend this for a beginner because of the whole knit fabric and knit lining thing unless the beginner is willing to just take their time and enjoy the process.

Edit on September 30, 2022: I wore this top plus the pants made of the same fabric on an overnight flight to the U.K. and the fabric looked as good when I landed as it did in the morning. This Ponte would be wonderful for a travel wardrobe. I like it so much that I just bought another piece in plum 💜

Three Pieces for my new wardrobe

This post is shared in conjunction with Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog.

Until March 10, 2020, I worked in an office five days a week. And although my employer had a casual dress code, there was still a work ‘uniform’ which for me was a dress, trousers or skirt, a ‘business-appropriate’ top, and a jacket or sweater. And shoes with heels! The working world has changed and maybe I won’t be in an office again all week – it could be that I’ll be in an office a couple of days a week and working from the home computer on other days. That doesn’t mean that I want to live in yoga pants and a t-shirt, I enjoy being ‘presentable.’

My wardrobe has to adapt to this change plus be prepared for a new climate! This summer, we moved from the United States to my hometown of Calgary, Canada. Other than our brief stay in Pennsylvania, we’ve been in the southern U.S. states (where 10C/50F is considered ‘cold’) since 2002 which means that I need a lot of stuff for ccccccold weather.

I spent some time perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s website and found some great fabrics that spurred my creativity!

Piece 1: Dress/Jumper

The base item is a Lodo Dress from True Bias patterns. For this dress, I chose a pretty royal blue Ponte knit from Fabric Mart’s website. Ponte is one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear in cooler weather! I like that it has enough stretch for movement (like doing a quick vacuum between Zoom calls) and is comfortable for sitting at a desk all day. And it can be sewn on a regular sewing machine, serger or cover stitch. So versatile!

The Lodo dress is a classic that I’ve made before in the above-knee length. This time I went for the longer mid-calf length because I think it’s likely to be more wearable in a place where boots are the footwear of choice for five months of the year. The longer length is also more comfortable for me when sitting at a desk (no worrying about a skirt riding up 😉. While a lot of people wear the Lodo as a standalone dress, I like to wear it as a jumper/pinafore over a top and opaque tights.

Piece 2: Top

I’m so excited about this garment! When I saw this “English Canine Print” jersey on the Fabric Mart website, I had to have it. (Shhh – don’t tell the cats that I’m wearing something that features dogs!) It’s quirky enough to be interesting but not so out there that it looks like a novelty. It’s a stretch cotton jersey and is neither too lightweight or too heavy – perfect for a top that skims the body. The pattern I used is the Maven Patterns Somerset T. This boat-neck t-shirt can be made with different sleeve styles and I selected Bishops Sleeves with a deep cuff. Big statement sleeves continue to be in stores and on the runway but let’s face it – runway designers aren’t planning for those of us who need to wear coats. I love this long cuff because it keeps the sleeves where they are supposed to be, instead of half way up my forearms!

The knit was easy to sew. I sewed most of the seams on the serger, and then topstitched the boatneck and hem with the cover stitch.

This fabric is perfect for this pattern, although it would also work well with a bamboo or lighter fabric. I’m planning to make more – maybe next time I’ll use a contrast fabric for the cuff, or a sheer fabric for the sleeves for holiday evenings out.

Piece 3: Jacket

Edge of collar is left raw.

The final piece is a cosy, fleece jacket that can be worn as a cardigan or jacket, depending on the weather. The fleece I chose has “Prussian Blue/Vivid Auburn” horizontal stripes, and it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside, which was important for the pattern I chose. Vogue 8676 (out of print) is a Marcie Tilton pattern designed for fleece and boiled wool. All of the edges are left raw – so on the collar and cuffs you can see both the wrong and right sides. This fleece worked really well as there is a slight difference in the print on the right side and wrong side. Because of the design of the fabric, the collar edges look really interesting – almost like trim was added. The collar doesn’t have a button. I keep it closed with a stick pin that I borrowed from my mom’s jewellery box. You don’t really need to close the collar but when the north wind blows …Fleece is easy to work with. This particular fabric is medium weight and my machine didn’t struggle with the many layers on edges. I used a ballpoint needle and as mentioned, the edges are left unfinished so a serger or cover stitch isn’t needed to make a nice looking jacket.

And … The Outfit

I selected all of these fabrics online without using swatches and the colours work together just as I expected! On the top there are blue highlights on the Union Jack and River Thames and those match the Royal Blue dress, and the blue/auburn stripes on the jacket coordinate well with everything.

For labels, these Kylie and the Machine ones really add a professional touch. Does anyone remember when we didn’t add labels? Or we just wrote on a piece of twill tape with a special pen? (Dating myself, clearly.)

These three pieces will get a great deal of wear in the colder months. I especially like that all are so versatile and can transition from meetings in an office to hanging out at home – with a stop at a restaurant in between.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the garments and information on how I sewed them, please visit my YouTube channel.

Thanks for visiting!