Guest blogger – vicki
I’m very excited to be Felicity Fabrics guest blogger this month, so thank you to Caroline and Fliss for having me!
When I flick through the Felicity website it really does give me that feel of style and luxury, they offer a carefully curated collection of high quality fabrics that don’t disappoint. I had a few ideas of things I would love to make from their selection, but in the end I went with their dusty blue cord. Cord is one of my favourite fabrics, I love the texture I think it gives such a comforting autumnal feel with a hint of flash back to the 70’s. I went with the dusty blue colour, which isn’t my typical ‘go-to’ palette, but I wanted to go for something a little bit different, and I really like the almost grey tones. The fabric is lovely and soft, it is a needle cord and I would regard it as a lighter weight cord. It has a very lovely soft texture, it pre-washed well and with no colour run, I always use colour catchers just to be on the safe side.
For my pattern selection I knew I wanted to make a jumpsuit, but I wasn’t sure at first which pattern I wanted to use. In the end I opted for the Tilly and The Buttons Alexa, which is a pattern that seems to have slipped under my radar until recently. I made a few patterns by Tilly when I first dipped my toes into garment sewing as her patterns are simple yet stylish and are very approachable for beginner sewists. Unfortunately, I had a bit of frustration over a Bettine dress simply just not fitting my body in the slightest, so I turned to other pattern designers for a while. I have recently decided to give her patterns a go again as there is lots that I like the look of, and I now realise that sometimes an odd garment just doesn’t work out!
The Alexa is a button front jumpsuit, it has a channel for a waist tie, tabbed short sleeves and front pockets. For this pattern I fell across 3 size ranges, so I graded from a size 7 at the shoulder and bust, to a size 8 for the waist, back down to a size 6 at the hips and legs. Tilly’s pattern pieces are very well labelled which is ideal for making any alterations or gradings, so I was able to use the marker for the Bust, Waist and Hips to figure out where I wanted to grade to and from. For the hips grading as it was two sizes smaller I did a more gradual grading from just below the waist to a little past the hip marker.
I like the detail of the tabbed short sleeves that come with the pattern, but I also really love sleeves and I wanted this garment to have more of a transitional feel so I decided to add some simple dropped shoulder boxy style sleeves. If you have previously made the Ilford jacket than I went for a similar style sleeve that comes with that pattern. For the top of the sleeve I used the width of the hem of the original sleeve, I worked this out by taping the front and back bodices together at the shoulder seams minus the seam allowances at that seam. I then measured roughly how long I wanted the sleeve to come down my arm to calculate the length. The last measurement I needed was for the hem of the new sleeve, I measured around my arm where the sleeve would finish roughly and how wide I wanted the end of the sleeve to be, in hindsight I wish I had made this a little less fitted than I did. I then joined the top of the sleeves to the bottom of the sleeves with straight diagonal lines. For the hem I drew a 1 1/2” inch line across the bottom of the original hem, I then folded the paper back on the hem line to cut the under arm seams of the hem, this is so that when you turn the hem up it sits flat as the seam of the sleeve is not straight – I hope this makes sense, and please see the photos for a visual of what this would look like in practice. For sewing the sleeve on I simply attached it to the bottom of the original sleeve after sewing the shoulder seams. Then when sewing the side seam I continued the stitching for the under arm of the new sleeve.
I used Gutterman thread for sewing and found that colour 64 matched really well.
I found the instructions for this garment thorough and detailed, the images included are also helpful, I would say that even a beginner could give this pattern a go. The cord was lovely to sew, it is a really nice soft texture and it handles well, I did find it had a slight stretch at times when I was sewing so you just need to bare that in mind. It not only makes for a lovely fabric to work with but it is also really nice on the skin and comfortable to wear.
I really like the belt closure detail, I think it’s something just a little bit different. I did make the fabric waist tie that came with the pattern but I wasn’t so keen on it in this fabric, I thought it was a little too stiff so I went with a normal belt which I think adds a nice detail. I did also think it would be nice to make a fabric belt in maybe a little floral poly cotton or viscose for a nice feature. I went with some detailed little silver buttons, slightly smaller ones for the pockets than the front of the bodice, I like that the silver picks up the silver tones of the blue cord. I used a floral bias binding for the edge of the facing and also the insides of the pockets which I think gives a really nice finishing detail.
The only thing I wish I had thought of doing was adding some front slanted pockets to the trousers as I miss having somewhere to pop my phone!
I do really like the fit of this jumpsuit and the grading between sizes worked, the only downside I’ve found is that putting it on is fine, but it is a little tricky to take off if you struggled with your mobility, I think you could get around this by adding an invisible zipper to the side seam, or using a centred zip at the front that extends into the trousers instead of a button placket.
I will definitely be working with this cord again in the future as it is such a lovely quality and there are so many colour options to tempt me! I find cord is such a good all rounder fabric and it would work with SO many patterns and garments, I’ve personally made pinafores, dungarees and shirts with cord previously, you could also use it for a more structured dress pattern, trousers, skirts or a jacket.
Thank you for reading and I hope you found this post helpful,