Rocks, mountains and Flint shorts

I think these might well be my new summer favourite piece of clothing.  I’m so glad that I made time to sew them (finishing at 3am) the day before we went on holiday!

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These are the Megan Nielson Flint Shorts, and as you may have spotted- I love them!  They are also very straightforward to make, and there is extensive tutorial help on the website too for almost every phase of the sewing.  They do have a very clever closure that means you step in through the pocket, which means no fiddly zips, just buttons or ties.

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Before I made these, I had seen lots of versions of the cropped trouser variation, but not really any shorts.  This is definitely an oversight, because the shorts are very flattering and comfortable too.  I wore them almost continually in 30 degree heat in Italy and they were just perfect.  They are worn here with my Briar tee, so I think Megan Nielson might be one of my favorite pattern designers.WP_20170728_15_18_51_Pro

I think I also love these shorts for the fabric too.  This was a charity shop bargain which I bought last summer with the vague plan for shorts anyway.  I think it may once have been a curtain because it had some very well established creases from a deep hem and a variety of stains to cut around.  It always feels good though to have snaffled a bargain, and it made these shorts very economical!

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I think I may have to make another pair immediately (though there are quite a few things in my sewing queue so something will have to give).  They work well with a heavier weight cotton, so I’m thinking possibly the cotton twill left over from covering my dining chairs might do the trick!

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If you are wondering, the amazing lake in the background of these photos is the Lago di Sorapiss, a glacial lake in the Dolomites.  It is freezing cold, which explains why there is no-one swimming even on a hot day, and the colour is a result of all the glacial sediment.

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Head to Head- dipped hem t-shirts

Introducing the Patterns:

Molly Top & Dress by Sew Over Ita staple  kimono sleeved top with an option to add full length sleeves.  It has just 4 pattern pieces (3 if you choose not to add the longer sleeves) and is billed as “The perfect pattern to try sewing jersey for the first time, a hit with anyone who likes a quick, satisfying sew.” It also has an option for a jersey dress.

Briar Sweater and T-shirt by Megan Nielsona simple and stylish t-shirt or sweater.  Comes with a scooped front hem and dipped back to create a hi-lo profile.  Both cropped and full lengths, and a range of pocket, sleeve and neckline options.

Sizing and Fit:

Both are loose fitting drapey tops and I cut the smallest size in each.

 

 

Ease of Construction and Instructions:

Both patterns have clear instructions and illustrations.  I think the Molly top is probably slightly simpler to construct and understand, but that is partially due to having fewer pattern pieces and options.  I did learn how to do a neckline binding in the Briar instructions, but I did also have to check the Megan Nielson tutorial for some extra photographs just to be sure what was going on.

 

Value for Money:

This is a little tricky to compare because the Molly Top only comes as part of the Sew Over It eBook- My Capsule Wardrobe.  The Briar top is £13.49 on the Megan Nielson website, but has two lengths and a variety of styling options.  I think if you would be interested in some of the other items in the eBook such as the Alex shirtdress or Mia jeans then at £20 it is pretty good value for 5 patterns, most of which also have pattern variations included.

 

Features:

Hem:

Both have dipped hems at the back.  Molly has a dipped hem at the front, while Briar has a slightly cropped front for full hi-lo effect.  My personal preference is that I prefer the Molly front hem for tucking into skirts and I think the length at the back is also more flattering.  The Briar does look great though with jeans or a pair of shorts.

Neckline:

Briar does give options for a regular neckline band and for a clean finished neckline binding.  Molly just includes a simple jersey neckband.  Both necklines are scooped, with Briar being a little deeper.  Both seem to lie flat and even.

Sleeves:

I chose to keep both sleeves short, so the cut on sleeves of the Molly top to save a step.  That said, the Briar tee sleeve did ease in neatly without an gathering or puckering, so as sleeves go, this was easy to insert.

Overall Impressions:

I think my overall preference is for the Molly top.  The length of the dipped hem seems particularly flattering, and not having to insert sleeves for the short sleeved t-shirt does make this a very quick summer make.  If I make the Briar again, I will be shortening the dipped back hem a little.

However, I will add that it is very simple to alter the hemline of a jersey t-shirt, so if you already have one of these (or something similar) this is a very easy way to change up a pattern.  Katie from the Creative Counselor has just been doing a series on modifying a basic t-shirt pattern, so check it out if you want some ideas or techniques.

More t-shirts! Briar and Molly

I have included two different patterns in this post today because I think they are quite similar and the pattern comparison might be interesting. (A full rundown on the two is coming shortly).  The Megan Nielson Briar is June’s project sew my style pattern and I just felt like I needed another Molly after making it! (See my previous versions here)

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Lets look at the Briar first.  This pattern has a cropped and full length version, and various sleeve lengths.  It also provides pattern pieces for both a neckline binding and a neck band.  I chose the longer length, short sleeves and decided to try out a neck binding for the first time.  The pattern is designed to be loose and swingy so I went with the smallest size.

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It all came together pretty well.  The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are very clear.  There are notches in the right place that all match up as they should.  My fabric did not make this the easiest of makes- it is a Girl Charlee cotton-rayon blend so it is drapey and light.  The stripes are actually wavy, not straight, so I decided not to worry too much about pattern matching.  Interestingly, despite the stripes having a wave, on one side seam they match almost perfectly.  They do also match at a couple of points on the other side, but not so well.  My only pattern placement decision was to put the cream stripe low down, rather than over my bra so that it wouldn’t be so see through!

Now that it is all sewn up, I like the length at the front, but I wonder if it is a bit too long at the back.  This pattern has quite an exaggerated high-low hemline.  I’m sure this will get worn quite a bit if the weather ever warms up again though!

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I had planned on making a white Briar to go with my Califaye Pocket Skirt, but I was not quite so sure about the long dipped hem tucked into a skirt.  I do like the optional pockets that come with the Briar top though and decided to use them on a tried and tested favourite t-shirt pattern- the Sew Over It Molly Top.  I thought the more subtle dipped front and back hem might be more versatile.  It is also really quick to sew, with only three pieces if you go for short sleeves.

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This fabric is also a Girl Charlee blend, this time cotton, rayon and modal, and it is heavenly to touch!  It cut and sewed beautifully and I am so glad I bought a couple of metres because I want all my t-shirts to feel this soft!

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I was feeling a little lazy when it came to hemming this t-shirt, and so I experimented with using my overlocker’s narrow rolled hem on jersey.  It isn’t perfect, but seems to have turned out fine, and if at some point in the future I get fed up of it, I can always turn it up later.

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I’m happy with how this has come out, and there is not really much more to say about a top that I have made many times before!  I’m sure there will be more…

 

 

Kelly Skirt

This skirt has been a staple in my wardrobe, year round, whatever the weather!  It is amazing to find patterns that are really versatile and practical and this is one of them.  It is the Kelly Skirt pattern my Megan Nielson, but I received it free with Love Sewing magazine in 2015 when dressmaking was new to me and it is still going strong.

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I wanted a skirt that could be worn with anything and so chose a classic denim to keep it fairly neutral.  It didn’t want it to be totally plain though, so I decided on contrast topstitching.  It did take a while to choose a colour that I was happy with.  I chose this red because it does add a bit of character, but without making it difficult to wear with lots of other colours.  To make it stand out a little more, I did double rows of topstitching, using the edge of my presser foot as a guide to keep the spacing even.

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This skirt is super simple to construct as was for me a great introduction to pleats.  There are 4 box pleats, 2 front and two at the back to give the nipped in waist and then flaring to make space for the hips.

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Like the topstitching, choosing buttons was another dilemma.  I wanted something neutral but not boring!  These hexagonal shell buttons are just lovely.  They have a subtle shine and pick up the colours around them.

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And obviously, I couldn’t make a pattern without showing you the pockets!  These pockets are in a star print cotton and are the scraps from another project.  I think exciting pockets are my favourite use of scraps of fabric.

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I have since made another in aubergine needlecord and it is also a popular wardrobe pick of mine, though is getting less wear in the spring as it is a little dark.  It does have good pockets though too!

Fehr Trade XYT Top

Having made the funkiest leggings around, I naturally needed something to wear to coordinate with them!  I thought that it might be a bit much to go orange and pink all over, so I needed a pattern that had the option for a contrast panel.  This is the XYT Workout Top from Fehr Trade.  Melissa who designs the patterns designs exclusively active wear and so the patterns are actually designed to be used while exercising.

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This pattern has loads of options for both styles and finishes.  The instructions are clear and helpful, and the Fehr Trade website has a few suggestions about where to purchase suitable fabric.

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This top I made with the scraps from my Virginia Leggings, and some navy lycra which I am using to make a cycling jersey for my husband.

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I chose the make the ‘Y’ option, and initially planned to add the built in bra, but it ended up being far too small! It may be that I size up the bra part if I make this again. Once I had decided to abandon the built in bra though, it went together pretty easily.

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The finish is definitely not perfect, but for my first ‘activewear’ pattern I am fairly happy and there is nothing about it that would stop me from wearing it.  Just slightly wavy hems and fold over elastic!

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This top is comfortable and moves well. The lycra is very stretchy so I have great freedom of movement. I think I will be giving it another go in the future.

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On a side note- I did say that I wasn’t sure how well the leggings would hold up to use and wear.  Sadly, the fabric is starting to tear at the waistband- I think this may be the point that I caught some extra fabric and had to unpick my overlocking so there may have been a weakness there already.  I will wear them for now though, and once they fall apart I can make another equally crazy pair!

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A not so-my-style Top: The Megan Nielson Rie

It can be very tempting as a sewing blogger to only share the successful garments that fit seamlessly into your wardrobe.  Today I am sharing a less successful make, not because anything went wrong in the construction, but because it doesn’t really fit my personal style.

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This is a Megan Nielson pattern called Rie.  Perhaps I should have caught on, when reading in the pattern description that “Pattern features fitted yoke with gathers from above the bust and can be worn as maternity wear” but I ploughed on regardless.

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In the pattern drawings there are both maternity and non-maternity drawings but this pattern makes me look like I am pregnant, even though I’m not, and my bust looks totally out of proportion with the rest of me.  It is very comfortable, just not me!

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The fabric is lovely though- a great t-shirt weight jersey from Girl Charlee which I bought at the Handmade Fair last year. They don’t have it in this heather-grey colourway any more, but there are some other lovely options, such as these here.

Fawn Silhouette on Mint Cotton Jersey Blend Knit FabricGirl Charlee

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I have tried styling this top with a belt, and I think it is a little better, but I’m still not sure about it.  It may be that I just need to concede defeat and either remake it into something else (I’m thinking another So Zo Vest) or take it to the charity shop for someone else to enjoy.

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Virginia Leggings

Here is the March installment of Project Sew My Style; some Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielson.  I wasn’t quite sure which size to cut as I have sometimes found in the past that their patterns come up a little small, but I cut a size S  in the petite length, and hoped that my fabric would be stretchy enough to overcome any slight fitting issues!

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The fabric that I used was a remnant from Fabric Godmother, which is now out of stock, but they do appear to have something similar here.  It is a crazy orange snakeskin textured spandex!  It is printed on a white background, and is a tiny bit thinner than I had hoped, but my leggings are going to be the most exciting running-ware in town!

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Having just two pattern pieces, these sewed up extremely quickly, and the instructions were simple to follow.  I should have adjusted my overlocker tension a little or used a more similar thread colour, because you can see the white thread on the seams that are slightly under tension.  I did succeed in getting my hems to match though, using the most exciting two coloured twin-needling I think I have ever done!

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The pattern suggests using 1″ elastic, but I only had 1.5″ and it just fit the channel.  This has resulted in a lovely firm waistband which feels very secure.  If I made these for running again I would widen the waistband some more to match the styling on some of my ready to wear pairs, but for everyday leggings the fit is probably perfect as it is.

As they are not designed as running leggings, I have found them to be a little restrictive around my lower legs when running, but nothing too troubling.  It does try to pull them down a little though! I think perhaps sizing up a little might have solved this problem too.

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Overall, I am really pleased with these! They are so different to the colours and patterns that I usually wear, but I do enjoy a more vibrant print in my workout clothes- if they are exciting to look at I am more likely to put them on!

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Sadly, my fears about the fabric were well founded, while it was stretchy enough, at the seams it is so thin that it has started to tear.  I don’t think that these will last very long, but they have at least shown me that it is possible to make my own, and I am going to be looking for some more suitable fabric sometime soon.  If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.