An Elephant Print Sorbetto

The Elephant Sorbetto

I love this print. Isn't it fun?! I've seen it around, and vividly recall Amy's blog post about her lovely blouse in the yellow colour way, debating whether these are actually elephants or woolly mammoths. Most days I'm pretty sure they're elephants, so I'm calling them elephants.

I bought this fabric on Goldhawk Road a few months ago. I was purely shopping for jersey that day and wasn't supposed to be making an unscheduled purchases, but I couldn't resist this, especially as it was only £3 per metre! I bought one metre, and the top used up roughly half of it. The pattern of course was free, so this is pretty much a £1.50 top. There's something really satisfying about such a bargain. Especially as the week after I bought this fabric I saw the exact same fabric in John Lewis.... it's 100% cotton and in there was £10 per metre. Bargainous win!

I've been meaning to make more Sorbettos for eons. My first one is here, and is great if only a bit too boxy and short. So I made my own lengthen/shorten line and added a good couple of inches to the top, cut a size smaller and raised the shoulder seams 5/8". Then I also needed to take a sweep out of the lower part of the armscye, and to be honest could still do with taking more out. Next time, next time.

I made self bias binding for the neckline and armholes using the genius "continuous bias tape" method (I will never be unamazed by this).  I French seamed all the insides, which makes me happy.

I considered a floaty little sleeve, but it has been such a hot September in London I have been longing for more sleeveless in my life. I'm really pleased with it. It was quick to sew, it's pretty neatly finished and I've already worn it lots.

The little elephants bring me joy. Especially down the front pleat where you have a normal one then a sideways one all the way down (not an accident, friends!).

My elephants and I are very happy!

My First Trousers!

I finally did it - I made trousers! I'm so thrilled. I mean, they're FAR from perfect, and really they're just a wearable toile, but they are, nonetheless, a perfectly passable and functioning pair of trousers. Yippeeeeeeeee! I can't quite believe how quick and straightforward they were to sew, either. I really enjoyed my first foray into trouser making! Who knew it would be fun?!

Colette Clover trousers, worn with New Look 6217 top
My "gateway" trouser pattern of choice was the Colette Clover. I have a pair of rather old but wonderful Uniqlo x Orla Keily cut-off stretch cotton trousers which I've been longing to recreate for a long old time, and the Clover pattern is a similar shape to start from.

I did quite a bit of blog snooping of Clovers, assessing how they seemed to fit on lots of different people, and fit adjustments people had made, and decided I would give them a whirl. I got the pattern in the Colette sale, so that's a bonus!

Since these were a wearable toile, I went for the longer length option with no pockets. I figured I could then shorten them to 3/4 length later, but it would be useful to have the full length pattern too.

I used this lovely tulip print stretch cotton from my stash (leftover from this Flora dress), and actually, when they started turning out pretty well, decided to keep the longer length. Somehow the longer length looked more "right" in this print.

I did do a fair bit of fit adjusting, but naughty me didn't make notes at the time like I usually do!!! The main adjustments though were:

  • slimming the legs down at both inseams and side seams considerably (and I think they're still a bit too baggy, particularly if they were 3/4 length)
  • flattening out the shape of the hip curve as my hips aren't very curvy
  • changing the shape of the crotch curve to fit more closely 

I also think I need to make a few more changes for the next version. Namely:

  • slim down the legs even further
  • perhaps decline to interface the whole waistband.... and instead just interface the seam allowances where the zip is inserted. I feel like one place it's really helpful to have a bit of stretch is a waistband? Maybe I'm wrong here and it would stretch out horribly with no interfacing?
  • make the waistband slightly larger. The current size is fine when standing, but not so comfy when sitting. It only needs a couple of mm adding at each side seam I think

I know there are still more fit issues to fix, but I reckon it's sensible to do the above adjustments first on my next version, then go from there. Most adjustments have a knock-on effect on other areas of a garment, after all.

These pictures were taken on our holiday in Provence. The photos are a bit dim, as the only day I could wear them was our only cloudy day, in the evening. It was too hot the rest of the time!

So now I am constantly on the look out for good quality stretch cotton, preferably polka dot of any colour. I think that the Clover could become a staple pattern of mine! I'm too late for this year but I can also see me using this pattern to make some lovely jazzy shorts for next summer.

Mostly I'm just proud as punch that I managed to sew a passable pair of trousers that fit and are comfy on my first go. When I was quizzing my friend as to whether the fit was actually good enough, her reply was: "If you were trying these on in a shop and asking me whether you should buy them, I would say 'Absolutely.'" She's right! I'd buy them! So I guess this wearable toile is a complete win.

V8888 Liberty silk camisole and shorts set

Hello sewing friends! It's been a long time since I last posted, or indeed made anything! I had a pretty busy July, where I also got very ill with what I now know was Glandular Fever. In my usual way I tried to plow on, and of course only made myself sicker.  Rest assured I recovered absolutely fine, though not very swiftly!

In July my best friend in the world, S, got married. It was such an incredible, happy day. I cried multiple times, of course. I'm such an emotional person and weddings generally have me weeping from the word go. It's just a beautiful thing to witness two people promising themselves to one another.

I was a bridesmaid, and so along with the other bridesmaid wanted to make some surprises for the Bride-to-Be. She loves handmade, thoughtful gifts so for her Hen Do both of us bridesmaids got her a few silly gifts, a nice "forever" gift and also each made something for her. This is what I made!

This camisole and shorts set were made from Vogue 8888 pattern. I made S, and my sister, the shorter length robe from this pattern as a thank you gift for being my bridesmaids, over a year ago. I have STILL not got around to finishing my matching robe, and therefore I never blogged them, as I was waiting to finish mine. I swear I will finish it and show you what they turned out like! Anyway, I made their robes in this beautiful Liberty print silk, and as usual I bought way too much (that'll teach me to believe the yield on the back of the pattern envelope!), so I thought it would be really nice to make S some summery PJs to match her robe. I know that she loves the robe and wears it lots, so I was pretty sure matching PJs would go down well.

And they did! Happily, she loves them. I guessed her measurements (eek!!!) as I wanted it to be a surprise. She is very petite and I roughly knew her waist measurement, so I wasn't completely stabbing in the dark. Anyway, they fit like a dream, and S loves them, which is the main thing! As a side note, her Hen Do was awesome. S arranged it herself, with a few surprises thrown in by us bridesmaids. It was a lovely, relaxed Sunday with tea, scones, cake, games, and crafting! S got each of her friends at the Hen to make a block for her wedding memory quilt. Such a great idea. Everyone got really into it, even the self-professed non-crafters! S ended up with such beautiful blocks. The quilt is going to look great.

Bust detail
Pretty scalloped-edge lace as underbust trim
I don't really have much to say about construction. I did change up the order of construction slightly, as I was using a lace for the underbust section that had a nice scalloped edge, so I didn't want to enclose it in a seam. I also decided not to overlay the cups in lace. I think in this fabric it looks better without the lace overlay.

Hem on the camisole

I also went for much thinner lace for the trim on the shorts hem. I think it looks a bit odd with the wider lace that the pattern calls for. I wish I had finished top of the shorts before attaching the elastic. Naively perhaps, I assumed the instructions would lead to the raw edge being enclosed when attaching the elastic, but this was not so.

Lace at shorts hem
All in all though, I think this pattern's a corker, and very useful for gifts. I can see me knocking up a few more robes for presents at some point, and maybe a camisole set for myself!

So, I mostly spent the rest of July recovering from the Glandular Fever, and then in August I did a grand total of one week's work before heading off to Provence on the most wonderful holiday. Ah it was the best! I did sew one garment to take with me - so I will show you that soon - but as soon as I got back from Provence it was time to head up to Edinburgh to appear in a play at the Festival. It was my first Fringe and I blinking loved it. It was so great. The cherry on top was that our digs were BEAUTIFUL. We were staying in a lovely house in North Berwick - right on the beach - so every morning before heading into Edinburgh to do the show I'd go for a stroll / run / paddle / stretch on the beach. Oh it was wonderful, and it felt so good to be out of the hustle and bustle, to have some head-space. Isn't it beautiful?

I will be back soon with some more garments to share! At the moment I'm finishing off an elephant-print tank top, so I better get that done soon before the weather turns all Autumnal.

Hope you're all well, sewing friends!