Sewing Journal 4: Outfit No. 1 + Evolve Cowl

Hello, hello! How have you been? It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to pop in here (a slight understatement), but nevermind that! I’m coming to you today full of the joy that comes from finishing a project and being so happy with it! Can I show you?

That’s right, it’s a whole outfit! That I started. And finished. This month! A happy accident, and one that I plan to wear pretty much without taking off as soon as it gets just a tad bit warmer.

Shall I tell you a bit more about each piece? Let’s start with the sewing. The top is Sonya Philip’s Shirt No. 1, from her 100 Acts of Sewing series. It’s my third one. I made a straight XS with no modifications, using this fabric I picked up from Cool Crafting last year. I really like the geometric pattern and weight of this 100% cotton fabric. I’d had some grand plans to turn it into a modified Scout Tee and got as far as making all the modified pattern pieces before I realized I didn’t have nearly enough yardage. And in the end I think that was for the best. I think the big geometric pattern really suits the simple shape of Shirt No. 1!

The pattern is so easy and straightforward, especially for a beginner like me. It was the confidence boost I needed after the last tee I made didn’t quite turn out as planned. There’s definitely room for improvement in my application of bias binding — the neck doesn’t sit as nicely as it could. I think I need to just keep practicing! Overall, I know I’ll wear this top loads and am really happy to have made it up!

The trousers are from the same series, Pants No. 1 (so, obviously this is my Outfit No. 1), and I’m going to be honest, I’m having a hard time containing JUST how excited I am about these. I made a toile for this pattern last summer, which I loved a lot. Then I made a black pair near the end of the summer, which I … loved not at all. (I made silly mistakes, and the black linen I used ended up being a dust magnet and quite see through, and they just didn’t bring me joy.) But now, now I have my perfect pair of Pants No. 1!

I made a size small with a few modifications. I added in-line pockets, because pockets are the best, and added a bit of length to the leg to make them ankle-ish length. I also added an inch to the waistband because I had Elastic Waistband Plans that, by and large, worked out!

You see that? I’m not exaggerating when I say this is possibly my favourite bit of sewing I’ve ever done in my (admittedly short) sewing life. Not that I felt that when I was actually doing the sewing … I think trying to run the elastics through each of those three channels took me longer than all the rest of the pants making combined! But something about the gentle gathers of those three channels of elastics makes me SO happy. I not only find it aesthetically very pleasing, but I find the resulting wider band way more comfy than my previous attempts at elastic waistbands. Overall, I’m a big fan of elastic waistbands, so I’m excited I learned how to make a multi channel one for this project (I used this tutorial, but decided to sew each channel before trying to insert any elastic).

The gorgeous forest green linen is from With This Cloth and I am in love with the color. I’ve had a shop bought pair of olive green trousers for years, but they’ve never fit quite right (too tight out of the wash, too loose after one wear), and they definitely feel too small these days, so I’m really happy to have a me-made version to swap in for them! And because I initially ordered too little fabric to make these and had to order more, I now have lots of this beautiful linen. I’ve already cut out a Willow Tank from some of the remnants that I’ll hopefully make a start on sewing this weekend!

When I cut my shirt and trousers out at the beginning of the month, it didn’t take much imagination to know they’d work together really well. But during one of my snatched thirty minute sewing sessions, it occurred to me that the Evolve Cowl I was working on might actually also pair really well with the outfit. I really love mixing earthy and more neutral colors with really bright pops, and I am loving the vibrant pink with the earthy green and navy. The pattern is the April project from the Confident Knitting programmme (a year’s worth of patterns, each month focuses on a new technique — this month was all about blocking 3D lace) and I’ve knit it up in Dusty Dimples yarn from the Confident Knitting Spring Kit. I loved knitting the pattern … the simple lace kept things just interesting enough, so it really flew off th needles! I made the size small and stopped at round 80, aiming for a small cowl that I’d mostly wear around my neck, rather than pulled over the shoulders as in the pattern photo. But I actually really like the look and feel of it over the shoulders now that I’ve put it on that way. (And full disclosure, I work at A-C Knitwear so I was lucky enough to get the pattern + yarn through my work, but obviously this is my personal blog and own thoughts about the cowl!)

Anyway, I’m really enjoying the warm fuzzy feeling of having (somewhat accidentally) focused on a few projects this month and seen them through from beginning to end. And definitely basking in the empowering glow of making clothes for myself that I want to wear. So I’m feeling really revved up for Me Made May, which I’ve never really taken part in. I’m definitely not at a place to wear all me-made for a month, but I’m going to trying to wear something me-made each day and identifying gaps in my wardrobe that I might be able to fill — I’ve got Sonya Philip’s new Act of Sewing book (I’ve been reading it at bedtime, it’s great!), which will come in handy on that front! And I’m hoping to channel these good finishing feelings into staying focused on the knitting projects I already have on the needles … maybe I’ll even manage to share a bit about those projects here!

Will you be taking part in Me Made May this year? If so, I’d love to hear what your plans + goals are!