Thursday, 16 October 2014

Back to basics

One thing I noticed when I did my recent wardrobe changeover (from summer to autumn) was a lack of basic, functional items. By this, I mean everyday pieces in solid, neutral colours that match up with the rest of my wardrobe. To most people, a neutral colour is white, cream or black, but to me it's navy blue....or red. I addressed this a few weeks ago when I made my first Mabel skirt in red and Ultimate Trousers in navy, both of which have been on almost constant rotation from the moment they were born. Yesterday, after a particularly successful flurry of sewing, I ticked off two more items. They're both neutral (well, navy) basics so should really be classified under BORING. However, I'm pretty delighted at how well they've turned out, so I'm subjecting you to them today I'm afraid.


First up is another Bronte top (my first one's here). This one is made with a lovely cotton and lycra jersey from Ditto Fabrics. I bought the fabric intending to make the long sleeved version, but failed to take into consideration how much fabric is needed for long sleeves. I only bought a metre (duh), which isn't nearly enough for long sleeves, however adventurous a cutter you are. I do like the short sleeved version though and the fabric's light enough to wear under a cardigan. As per last time, I cut a size 12 at the bust, grading to a 10 at the waist and hips, which gives a nice tight fit.


Next up is a navy Mabel Skirt, this time cut to the same length as the pencil skirt version which is a much better length for me (just on the knee). I used a scrap of the Bronte fabric for the inside waistband and even managed to sew it on the right way round this time. The double knit fabric for both of my Mabel skirts came from Calico Laine and it's a perfect weight for the pattern. This version seems a bit roomier than the first one (in a good way), but I'm not quite sure why. I did sew the whole skirt on the overlocker and wasn't particularly vigilant about my seam allowances, so maybe that's it? 

Anyway, the total time to make both garments - from cutting out to sewing the last hem - was about four hours. It would have been even quicker, but I was distracted by a shoe delivery and had to take time off to play with them. The Mabel skirt only took about 30 minutes sewing time, I kid you not! The Bronte top takes a little while longer as there's all the shoulder binding to negotiate, but it's still easily sewn up in a morning or afternoon.

I've lightened this photo quite a bit to show the shoulder detail
They work well as separates as evidenced above, and even look cute worn together.

Look - a navy knit dress!  (sort of)
These quick and easy basics patterns have rather taken my fancy at the moment. Don't worry, I'll get back to the dresses and shiny stuff soon enough. But whilst my attention is wandering, I might as well ask, what are your favourite basics patterns to sew? Happy Thursday. x





50 comments:

  1. Margot pyjamas ! No seriously! I'm a bit strange and insist on wearing clean pjs every night, but sometimes my washer can't quite keep up, I made a pair an hour before bedtime once as I had no others!
    Frankie
    Xxx

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    1. I do like making PJ bottoms but I haven't made the Margot ones yet - one for the list! A clean pair every night though???!!! Not going to happen in my house! x

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  2. Oooh I'm after some nice jersey and that mix from Ditto looks lovely. I think my favourite basic is the Grainline Scout tee, nice and quick and really easy to adjust the pattern for short/long sleeves too.
    I love your apple print skirt too! x

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    1. It's really lovely quality - I'd recommend it. I may have to buy some in different colours too! I've always like the look of the Grainline Scout and I'm a big fan of patterns that are easy to adjust! x

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  3. The Bronte is definitely my favourite go to - i even managed a 3/4 length sleeved version out of 1m of jersey - it did require some creative folding though!! x

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    1. Ah you're obviously better at it than me then! Now why didn't I think of ¾ length sleeves?! x

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  4. Your basics look Great on you! I have to cast my vote for the Grainline Scout tee - I've made several and wear them every day. It's my TNT. Jen now has a new sweatshirt pattern out - I'll be trying that soon...

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    1. I think the Grainline Scout is VERY popular as a go-to basics pattern. That's great that you wear them every day too! x

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  5. Hi Jane, I do agree with you. I find I'm so tempted by all the delicious garments that I see on all these wonderful blogs and I often forget about sewing things that I will actually wear on a day to day basis. I've got a few things planned so far for Autumn - a couple of Coco dresses and a built by Wendy dress - Simplicity 3835 that I found you could still download even though it's out of print. I want to make cosy things that I will love wearing all winter! Catherine x

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    1. I think Coco dresses will be fab for autumn/winter, they're so easy to wear! X

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    2. Yes I got two lots of fabric from the Knitting and Stitching show for my Cocos. Can't wait to get cracking! x

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  6. I love the basics you made! I have my eye on both patterns. I agree also that my wardrobe is missing those essentials that go with the more colourful stuff.

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    1. Thank you! I'd highly recommend both patterns. x

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  7. And what were the shoes?! ;) Oh wait, we're here about sewing. Love your neutrals! Yellow is one of mine (hence starting with a yellow Coco). But I'm in desperate need of more basics, too. The skirt and top look great, love the longer Mabel! Seems so perfectly casual to wear, but classy as a pencil skirt. I really should start to focus on some more basics!

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    1. Red brogues!! I'm sure you'll see them making an appearance soon! I wish I suited yellow more, it would definitely be one of my neutrals! X

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  8. With you on sewing basic separates since I recently found myself in the same pickle. Really annoying not to be able to put an outfit together cause all your prints clash. :) Both of these pieces look like they'll get a lot of wear.

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    1. Thanks Heather! Sometimes I'm tempted to wear my clashing prints together.....but only in my imaginary world! x

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  9. These are the best basics!!! I just used my TNT knit top pieces to make a cozy tunic. Those pattern pieces just keep on giving!

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    1. It's so satisfying isn't it? Especially when they can be whipped together in no time! x

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  10. It's interesting the transition time between seasons. For the first time this year I've worn memade clothes nearly every day in Summer, and they've been bright and full of pattern. Now I've delved into my wardrobe for Autumn clothes, which are all bought, to find they are all plain. So I want to sew colourful patterned tops and bottoms, not plain and basic!

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    1. I definitely veer towards plains in autumn/winter and save all the flowery stuff for summer! I don't know what that's all about, maybe because all the plain separates can be layered when it's cold?! x

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  11. The Scout tee is great and versatile, indeed. My new favourite basic but nice tee is the Plantain. But love your Bronte too, might give it a go. :-)

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    1. There's nothing better than a good, versatile t shirt pattern is there?! x

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  12. Nice to see the Calico Laine double knit made up as I'm thinking about that at the moment. I've never used double knit / ponte roma before. I'm just trying to decide on a colour.

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    1. I've sewn with their red, navy and petrol double knits and have been pleased with them all. Minerva Ponte Roma is good quality too. Good luck! x

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  13. You are an inspiration. I might attempt one of those Mabel skirts, now I've seen your longer version. It looks a most useful skirt. I find choosing fabric so difficult, so thank you for posting details of that too.

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    1. Thank you! I prefer the longer length Mabel too, I'm sure there'll be a third version soon at this rate! x

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  14. I love the apple skirt....is it cord?

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    1. Yes it is cord, it's pretty old now - here's the blog post about it: http://www.handmadejane.co.uk/2011/11/apple-print-ginger.html

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  15. Your basics are looking great! My favourite basic pattern is the Sewaholic Renfew - it was the first thing I made having decided I wanted to learn to sew & joined a class last Autumn. The top turned out great & so did the second one. Third one is in the works & a Renfrew dress is currently at the thought stage....

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    1. Ah yes, I've made the Renfrew too, it's a great pattern isn't it? I like the sound of a Renfrew dress. x

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  16. I have no me made Autumn/Winter clothes, I seem to sew mainly for Spring/Summer. My Autumn/ Winter wardrobe currently consists of clothes I don't enjoy wearing and they are really old now. So, I am now in the process of sewing up cold weather basics. I have a pile of ponte knit to make up a load of Bronte and Renfrew tops, I intend to use the coco top pattern to make some cuddly jumpers (my house is not particularly warm!). New Look 6899 is my favourite skirt pattern, so I am making some winter friendly versions. I think all these patterns are great basics and will be made time and time again!

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    1. Sounds like you're going to be busy! Good luck with your basics sewing, your plans sound great. x

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  17. Both of these are fabulous. I must sew up some more basics now.

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  18. I do love basics - I've made a million versions of the style arc elle pants (my OWOP pattern) plus I love the Tessuti Mandy tee and the maria denmark kimono tee - again a million versions and generally a version of one or two is worn every day to work.... Yours look great. Good quality knits are hard to find...

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    1. I love basics too! I think your Style Arc Elle pants look great, that post must have slipped through my OWOP net, sorry about that! The Kimono tee looks very appealing too - no sleeves to set in! x

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  19. You are the poster child for that Bronte top! I think I have to buy it.

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  20. And I just bought 6.5 yards of different shades of navy. Seriously.

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    1. Thanks Kristin! And I see nothing wrong with buying 6.5 yards of navy, totally normal behaviour in my book! x

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  21. I love them both - they look as though they'll be really useful additions to your wardrobe. I've not tried sewing any basics really.

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  22. I am with you in the basics. I made a pledge no tot make a garment unless it went with something I already had - it has been a revelation, now I have a wearable wardrobe. Those are great basics. How did you manage without them?? Jo x

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    1. I know, I can't believe it took me so long to get round to it! x

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  23. There's nothing boring about navy blue basics! I want that skirt now!! :D I'm all into sewing basics too at the moment, and although I too feel that I'm a bit boring, I'm finding it very rewarding at the same time. I can only hope that I'll actually reach for my me-made basics as much as I'm intending to when they're done :)

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  24. Hi Jane. I am currently sewing a navy sweater version of Bronte so it was good to see your finished product! I love sewing dresses but I am currently sewing a few simply styled tops for autumn and really enjoying it. :-)

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    1. I love the sound of a navy Bronte sweater, best of luck with it. X

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