The Sewing Week, And Continuing Style at Home, Does it Matter.

Hello everyone,

Yes, I know you have seen this top and pants before, but my post this week doesn't have much in the way of pretty pictures.  And, as we are talking about Style at Home, Does it Matter, I thought I would post a picture of one of the tops I wore this week, except with another pair of pants.  The original post with the details of the pattern can be found here... (along with other sewing bits and pieces). And photos of my sewing this week are a little drab, so I had to post something a little more eye catching!

This week , in part one of the post, I am going to show you what I have been sewing.  In part two, I have posted an extended reply to your comments from last week's post (Style at Home, Does it Matter, and the Peplum top).

Anyway, as the reply to your comments is extensive, I'll just quickly show you what I have been busy sewing since Christmas.   A wear at home cool version of what my DH calls "Blacks".  Normally a t shirt and thick drill pants in summer and some sort of fleecy and track pants in winter, although I notice that last winter he was wearing the jumper I knitted some years ago.  Note to self, must make another one day.

So, as our weather is humid here, I thought I would risk making DH "Blacks" in a linen/cotton woven, which as we all know, is nice and cool.  I also thought it would teach me something about how to fit his shape, because measurements don't tell the whole story.  This is the result:

(I've chopped his head off on purpose - he wishes for anonymity...)

This simple little almost pyjama outfit took a lot of effort.  Just sewing the main garment took what seemed forever - men are much larger creatures, and this makes for much longer adds up.

Plus all seams were flat felled, always fiddly. Except the inner leg.

And, prior to that I made 4 calico's - 2 shirts, 2 trousers.

(and if you are wondering, I use any old sheets for this process, or even hideous bilious green seersucker I found somewhere buried - I think it was  70's era tablecloth).

The patterns I used were, for the trousers, a very basic elastic waist trouser from New Look patterns, long ago discontinued:

 Now, I am not sure why I had a scrubs pattern in my stash, given I don't wear scrubs, but the pants were in man sizes.  I was sort of curious though, if they were for either sex, what happens about the extra needed at the front with the male anatomy?

I needn't have worried, because there was plenty of room.  I checked on a RTW pair, to get the depth, and it was the same.  I cut and made the first calico. But as per usual for New Look trousers,  the amount of ease in the leg area was huge, and as you can see from looking at DH, he is not a small build.  And the bottom area was too small, so I did an adjustment to the pattern, and took the legs in.  He also wanted more in the back rise.  So I did calico number 2.

And that was in addition to the shirt, which was a McCall's basic:

This is a very basic pattern, and doesn't have a collar stand and separate front button band.  It uses a cut on facing, not my favourite thing.  But I thought the open sort of collar would be cooler.  And I am not yet ready to tackle proper shirt making.  Next Christmas, maybe...

I thought size L would be big enough, and so my first calico was size L.  Now that was a good fit through the neck  and shoulders, but there was not enough for chest and torso. Sigh, onto calico number 2, because I did want to make sure the garment would fit before cutting into nice fabric.  I cut size XL sides grading into the armscye.

By now, I was a little over this whole idea of sewing "Blacks".  The  "Greens" had already got to me.

Anyway, onwards...

The shirt has a back pleat for movement:

I decided on a contrast yoke instead of black inside the shirt:

Pocket in the shirt for hankies and things:

Anyway, thank goodness I have finished this.  All that black was mighty tedious to sew.  Black, Black, and more Black:

Anyway, it is all finished and being worn.  I joked it was like a little Chinese suit. DH corrected me and said they have little high collars. He said it was more like the sort of thing the Viet Cong wore, and they won.  He was quite cheerful about the winning aspect.  Must be the competitive male gene these Alpha males seem to have.

So, it seems, on multiple fronts, a winner.  I have learnt about DH's shape, and what to do for future, more likely to be secret, makes.  Like, a shirt. A Proper Shirt.  I want to make a proper shirt next Christmas, and now I know what size to make.  And, as for proper trousers, at the moment, I am not that ambitious, not yet.  Or maybe I know my limitations.

Suffice it to say, for now I am seriously over Black cotton and linen. There is a small bit left over that I am going to use in a dress, but just at the moment, I can't face sewing any more plain black.

So I am going to restore myself by making something very simple first:

That should get me back into the spirit of things.

Now, it's time to

Reply to your comments - Peplum Top: 

( The post about this top can be found here).

Your comments about the Burda patterns peplum top - thank you everyone.  Yes, you are all correct, this needs to be made in a softer fabric.  Still, for a pattern test, I am happy.     I'm still not sure about the style, but I will wash it a few times - cotton will often soften if you do that, and wear it and see what I think.  I do have some ideas about how I might make this work for me.  I hope that I find time to go back to this pattern and rework it :). And yes, what I wear it with will improve the look - thanks for all your suggestions.  I never thought of shorts!  Planning a warmer version to wear over slim pants (transitional). Whether this happens or not is a matter of time and competing sewing interests :), Summer Flies - I think this top would work for you, it is an A line shape.  And you are right, it would look great extended into a dress.  And Catherine, I think I have seen your top on Pattern Review - it looked very nice. As for colour, in real life it does not wash me out, but cameras and lights prefer stronger colours.  But I think my personality is not pastel, if that makes sense.

(Hmm, now I think the top is growing on me.  Might just be a matter of adjusting to it).

(Style at Home, Does it Matter, and the Burda Peplum Top) Your comments about Style at Home, does it matter?

(The post about Style at Home - Does it Matter, can be found here).

Thank you for your comments.  You have all made some really interesting points and observations, and I think over the next few months it will be fun to expand on some of these.  I'll try and do it in a way that involves everyone.  But for now, yes, Patricia, style at home has really changed - from your mother's era, where ladies made house dresses, two or three, plus the wearing of aprons.  My mother was probably of the same era, different country though, and she said that every season you invested in a best outfit, wore it for the season when you went out.  Year 2 it became second best, shopping and so on.  Year 3 it was wear at home!  But in our casual era, anything seems to go.  And I think we grew up with uniforms and then any old thing was worn at home, including hand me downs.  I think some of us never lost the habit!  And also, we think of home as a place to relax now, whereas I don't think my mother had those sort of illusions.  And when we are young, we go to work, then come home and relax in casual attire - and many of us still do, after work.  And then some of us are more home based, and struggling with what to wear so we look and feel good, but are functional as well.

Some of you, like me (Judy, Dawn, Regina, Catherine) wear or have a background of wearing uniforms to work, and want to wear stylish or comfortable home wear that can incorporate chores of perhaps quiet evening out. I quite agree, we shall have to explore together.  Dawn has the good idea of wearing knit dresses or pinafores, an idea I might investigate  later (I bought a pattern yesterday for a knit dress to wear at home - we shall see if it happens!)Keisha has a well developed sense of style (in my opinion) and is able to make clothes for her work setting and weekend wear that is consistent with her style. I admire this! Annie, you know what you like to wear to work, but also want comfort at home.    Louise, I think you do have a sense of style, but of course, life changes and style does too.  And moods - yes, they do affect what we choose to wear. The converse too - if we feel down and make the effort to put on something nice, we feel better about ourselves. Ruthie, you had similar feelings - and if you are at home all day, you can become demoralised and isolated.  Once again, wearing something nicer, even if it is a sort of uniform for home would be a great idea. Diane (Remembering Oz) makes this point well, in saying that our self esteem can be linked to what we wear.  I'd like to add that many people think high self esteem will then enable you to choose nicer clothes to wear, but it is the opposite.  Higher self esteem comes with the doing of something, so if you feel low, wear something nice, and you may have a better self esteeem.  Janine, you are right, tossing stained garments is a good thing to do - I regularly do this. And yes, there are occasions, where even stained clothing is appropriate and style isn't - farming, home renovations, and so on. And I chuckle at the comments about answering the doorbell in night attire or dressing gowns.  I find it bad enough in track suit pants and top!

And I think Carolyn (who blogs here, at Handmade by Carolyn) . came up with a great idea as well.  So much so, that I am going to put the comment here:

This is an interesting post Sarah; but honestly I feel like you should let go and wear whatever you want; being at home gives you the freedom to do that. Just one of the reasons I sew for myself because I love fashion, peruse it at any opportunity, have these visions of what I want to create, and I feel very fortunate that like you, I CAN wear them anything I want, any day I like. If that means donning a snazzy frock to take out the bins or do the grocery shopping or mow the lawn or take the animals to the vet so be it. The only times I will wear mucky old clothes is if I'm really doing something grotty, like heavy gardening. I say; free yourself from expectations and limitations, just wear the amazing stuff, and enjoy it :)

Well, I think there is much to be said for this approach.  I think we can get a little bogged down in what we think we should wear, instead of just enjoying what we wear.  So many of us that have worn uniforms and followed rules that I do think a little bit of letting go is in order. And perhaps even more proactively, a little bit of identity redefinition that suits my life stage now. Now that could be fun. And I have to admit, that when I was young, I loved fashion and fashion magazines.   I even wore blue toe  nail polish, during the 70's.  I had to wear uniforms though, so there was little time to pursue fashion.  Life though took me in other directions, so maybe I also need to reacquaint my current self with my past self.   And for those of you at home for whatever reasons who feel demotivated may like to think about Carolyn's approach as well.  We only have now, after all, whatever the now is for us.

And last, but not least, I knew you would catch up with this post Marianne.  Most of us are busy and catch up with blogs when we can.  You are right, function, pretty and stylish can be achievable for home, but it seems many of us are a little lost on how to achieve this - or maybe we just are not letting ourselves.  Your lovely Donna Karan jacket may well, with some of us, be consigned to best, and never worn. But as you say, it is just a ponte, and can be worn around the house.  I think we should all try and emulate your attitude when doing the household chores.  And I agree, it would be wonderful to live closer to each other - I am sure many of us wish that. Then no household chores would be done while we all chat about sewing to each other.

Hmm, I do like that idea.  In the meantime, I'll catch up with you next week.

Wishing you all a great week,

Sarah Liz


  1. Wow! The top in the first picture is so pretty! Fabric, colour, playful high-low hem, it's all working together so well. I really like the look of the shorter and slimmer sleeves on you! The link to the original post seems broken, but does this pattern have more views? Might be worth experimenting with! I loved reading Carolyn's comment, glad to know I'm not the only only one who's wearing the good stuff to the vet's :)
    Your husband looks sharp in his blacks, so worth the effort you put into making it work. Have a nice week!

    1. PS Blue toe nail polish is back and it's fun :))

    2. Thank you Marianne - the link is now corrected.

  2. Hubs duds look great! Sewing for men can be so intimidating but you nailed it. Love the top you featured. One of your best makes.

  3. Wow you have been busy and have some very nice results too.

  4. Congrats on the fine job you did on fitting DH's Blacks.. Looks very nice. Sewing for men, is really difficult..
    I love/love that first top ..Looks really pretty on you.. But, I also like the B6175.. looks like a comfortable top, That could be dressed up [if going out] or plain for comfort , while doing our home chores.
    Love you post.. Enjoying it. I pulled out my blouse/shirt patterns, and am working on figuring out what I would like to make for home wear [but nicer than just an old tshirt for working in.ha] Thank you for the time , your putting in to this topic.. Enjoying it.

  5. I sympathise working with black. And its so draining on the eyes. But what a result! Husband must be so pleased with those.The Style at home - Does it matter? discussion still draws me in with food for thought. I have clothes for those 'just cant be bothered' days. They dont happen often, but I am going to throw these clothes out! Great constructive post yet again Sarah Liz.

  6. I really like 'the blacks' but it does look like a long sew. The contrast check facing adds just the right touch, contemporary and a little quirky. I only sew black on really bright sunny days - otherwise I can't see a thing!
    Your top is so pretty, and I went back to re-read the post, and the issues with it, none of which show at all. Glad I read again about your back-up machine, as my good machine still in hospital, and yesterday my old Janome back-up blew up its motor - this is actually worse than the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, or any other appliance failing. A girl must sew, as you say. Was planning to go to Spotlight tomorrow and just buy any cheap machine I see, but perhaps I had better think it through first :)

  7. Sarah, a great job on the garments for your husband. Really enjoyed your replies to Style At Home, Does It Matter. I currently wear blue nail polish as a way to add a little "flash" in my fashion world! Happy Sewing.

  8. Great garments for your husband. I've just caught up with your last post (and commented) and this one. The comments are so interesting. I didn't comment on your items - I loved the striped top in the last post and love this top. I guess colour speaks to me. Like Dawn, I'm busy clearing out things I don't wear or don't like as they are taking up space physically and emotionally. I've a long way to go though.

  9. You did such an amazing job on your husband's outfit. I just recently made a top for my husband as well. Sewing for men can be really challenging.

  10. Fantastic job fitting your husband and persevering with the Blacks! Black is so hard on my eyes to sew anymore, I really admire your stick-to-it-ness. And enjoyed reading your continuing thoughts on Style at Home and what others have to say too. So thankful that even if we are unable to get together in person to chat and enjoy a cup of coffee, we can get together through our blogs. In fact, I am enjoying a cup of coffee as I type this! :)

  11. I think I'm all out of sync at the moment. Your tops are great, I love the first one which really suits you. OH's outfit is equally great though it's difficult to see detail. I'm sure he loves it. Most men seem to feel cool wearing black, a slightly gangster vibe? The fit looks good. I seem to have missed your other posts, about style at home, but I'm currently trying to find 'my style' so I'll look it out. I think I'm going to go for some dresses or skirts. I'm rather tired of the ubiquitous trouser/denim look and am pondering layering up, if I can find a style of dress to suit me. Nice to be able to do this 😄 Regards, Trish S

  12. Great job on your husband's outfit. Love your first top and burda top as well. Happy Sewing!

  13. I love the quote "I am over black linen and cotton" -- I feel that way about projects. Nice outfit.

  14. Your DH Sounds very happy with his Black Duds and you did an amazing job in fitting him.

    I also appreciated Caroline's comment and it gave me food for thought.


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