Ms. Autumn Lady Walking Down Street With Cup of Coffee

I cannot believe I managed to complete this challenge before the deadline. My family is moving in TWO days. The box for my sewing machine was waiting to be packed as I finished my last hem. The entire house is a maelstrom of half-empty cabinets, upside down furniture, & stacks of boxes, & I’m like, “Hold on, I just have to press this last seam!”

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I made three garments for the Indie Royalty challenge, & they are really unseasonable for the miserable, muggy summer we’re having in Kansas. We’re talking heat indexes of over 115 degrees, & here I am, sewing a hoodie. I don’t know if it’s just because I wish it was fall all year long or if I’ve been subconsciously influenced by all the cozy garments being produced by Monthly Stitchers from the Southern hemisphere. Maybe it’s just easier to sew an “outfit” when you factor in layers.

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I made the Women’s Henley from Patterns for Pirates, the Burnside Bibs from Sew House Seven, & the Jasper sweater from Paprika Patterns. So let’s hit the highlights.

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The henley was my second experience sewing a pattern from Patterns for Pirates, & it was much more successful in that I actually cut the right size this time. I also did a whole mess of flat patterns adjustments before I even touched my fabric. The shirt is described as “fitted in the bust, relaxed at the waist & hips,” but I was using such stretchy fabric, I knew an overly “relaxed” fit was just going to look sloppy. So I shortened the shirt by 2″, did a 2″ swayback adjustment, & brought the waist & hips in about 2″ to eliminate a lot of the excess ease. I prefer long-sleeved layering pieces like this to be pretty fitted so I can wear sweaters over them without extra bulk.

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My striped fabric is a really stretchy waffle weave which was VERY challenging to work with. It was nearly impossible to keep it on grain. I had to be really careful removing stitches because it was all too easy to over-stretch the fibers. This was my first time sewing a henley placket &…Let’s just say, it was a learning experience. I’m happy enough with my finished garment–it serves my purposes, which was to make a soft, snuggly shirt that I can layer in cool weather, both over & under other garments. I absolutely love the thumbholes in the cuffs. I look forward to making this pattern again…in a much more stable knit!

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I hacked the Jasper sweater into a hoodie, & this is a real milestone piece for me because it’s the last garment I needed to make in order to truly replace all of my RTW with self-sewn. I’ve been wearing almost 100% self-sewn for a couple of years, with the enormous exception of my trusty black Hanes men’s hoodie, which I wear almost every day. My partner has one, my 4-year-old daughter has one, we are a black-hoodies-everyday family.

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I made a black Jasper sweater in sweatshirt fleece shortly after the pattern was released, but I didn’t wear it as much as I’d expected because I guess I really prefer a zipper. I decided to get kind of fancy with this hack, converting the underside of the hood & waistband into a facing that encloses the zipper on the inside, & making a little fold-over with snaps at the collar. I love the finished result & I have no doubt that it will be worn constantly once the weather cools off, but damn. Sewing this beast was really not as simple as I expected it to be! As it transpires, there may be a reason why self-faced sweatshirts aren’t a huge thing in RTW.

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Lastly, I whipped up a second pair of Burnside Bibs, this time in hard-wearing railroad stripe denim. This fabric is much heavier than the linen I used for my first pair, which makes the resulting garment far more utilitarian for cool weather, but also…Getting that invisible zipper in the side? With the waistband & the pocket & the bib facing? Not easy. Thankfully, a nice sharp denim needle was all my machine needed to power through areas with as many as nine layers of denim (like the belt loop attachments).

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The really special thing about these overalls is that I think they are as close as I have ever come to a truly perfect sew. They’re not quite flawless. The stitching on the back facing has a little wobble. But the zipper & the whole facing situation in that area is possibly the best sewing I have ever done. I intentionally took my time with this project, even though I have a thousand other things going on, because I wanted this challenge to be fun, & not just another deadline to check off the to-do list. It really paid off. & I couldn’t be more stoked, because I know I will wear these pretty much non-stop once they become weather-appropriate. I wear my linen ones practically any time they aren’t in the wash.

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So, a henley, overalls, & a hoodie. Perhaps not an outfit straight from the cover of “Vogue” (though overalls are having a moment right now, who knows). But it’s definitely my style, & I think all three of these garments will be major workhorses in my fall/winter wardrobe. I am so glad I carved out the time to complete this final Indie Pattern Month challenge. It was a nice distraction from the anxieties of moving, & it also gave me an excuse to daydream about cool weather, pumpkin patches, crunching through leaves on the walk to preschool, drinking beer & roasting marshmallows with the neighbors…I was cheated out of fall, my favorite season, this past year by my cancer diagnosis. Now treatment is all behind me & I am ready to have the best fall ever!

(Post title shamelessly nicked from “The Onion”. & of course, feel free to visit my blog!)

14 thoughts on “Ms. Autumn Lady Walking Down Street With Cup of Coffee

  1. Very cool, wearable pieces. I never thought of us as being advantaged in the southern hemisphere but I guess you’re right, winter does make layering garments easier for the competition. I always focused on how hard it is undressing to try on muslins in the freezing cold 🙂 I almost thought you were in New Zealand from the style of building and lawn in your photos and was wondering where in the country you were to chance such sunny weather for blog photos!

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    • Nope, just in Kansas, smack dab in the middle of the US.

      I don’t know that being in a cold, layer-appropriate climate is necessarily an advantage, but I know I am generally more interested in sewing practical, layer-able garments than, say, one stunning dress or something. It’s a balance with these types of challenges to come up with something that fits the brief, is spectacular enough to capture attention, but is also something that will become a regular part of my wardrobe rotation. I love the pieces I made for this challenge, but I knew they probably weren’t eye-catching enough to win. Oh well!

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    • These are actually my second pair of Burnside Bibs! I think I was the first person to blog about them, besides testers. I am pretty much obsessed with them. Such a well-drafted pattern. Now that I have one pair in linen & one in denim, I can wear them all year ’round!

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  2. Wonderful outfit! And your comments on the knit fabric were appreciated, as I have some exactly like it in a wide stripe. I like what you’ve done with the sweatshirt collar/hood area – that is really unique!

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    • Thanks! It looks really cute with the hood up too, because the collar is a little higher than your average hoodie, but I was in a big rush to get photos & forgot to take any with the hood on!

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    • Trust me, I had doubt! Note all the moving boxes in the background of the dress form photos!

      That knit was very nearly the death of me! I am no stranger to working with knits, but that was hands down the fussiest, fiddliest fabric I’ve ever tried to cut. Actually sewing it was easy, but everything else was a nightmare. I still have a few yards left because I bought extra, thinking I’d make some lounge pants or something. You know, for just hanging around the house. But I do not relish the thought of trying to work with that fabric again!

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  3. 100% handmade wardrobe – BOOM! Congratulations on that amazing achievement. I love how much thought and effort goes into every one of your makes. I am an Autumn , Winter girl as well (even though I love making and wearing summer dresses) so I feel the pain of unseasonable warmth. Well done, LOVE the overalls especially.

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    • Thanks! Taking these photos was zero fun because it was so damn hot outside. That’s why they aren’t that great. My daughter was very particular about wanting to stand on a specific rock to photograph, so the sun was in my eyes & I was melting from the heat.

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